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Examples of Narcotics-Related Investigations - Fiscal Year 2012

The following examples of narcotics-related investigations are written from public record documents on file in the court records in the judicial district in which the cases were prosecuted.

California Man Sentenced to Prison for Cocaine Trafficking
On September 19, 2012, in Sacramento, Calif., Daryl M. Summerfield was sentenced to 240 months in prison for cocaine trafficking and money laundering. According to court documents, between December 2003 and March 2006, Summerfield had multiple kilograms of cocaine shipped in vans from California to Alaska. The vans were driven to Seattle and then shipped from Seattle to Alaska. When the cocaine arrived in Alaska, Summerfield flew to Alaska and oversaw its distribution through a network of drug distributors in Alaska. On March 22, 2006, Summerfield attempted to send 13 kilograms of cocaine from Elk Grove to Alaska using commercial shipping businesses. Based upon court-authorized federal wiretaps and surveillance, Summerfield’s packages containing 13 kilograms of cocaine destined for Alaska were intercepted and seized.  According to the plea agreement, between January 2002 and January 2003, Summerfield paid more than $100,000 in drug money to purchase and remodel a duplex in Sacramento without putting his name on title to the property. Summerfield enlisted a person to act as the front for the laundering of drug trafficking proceeds. The transactions were designed to conceal and disguise that Summerfield was the source of the money.

Five Individuals Sentenced in Narcotics “Operation Dirty Dozen”
On September 4, 2012, in McAllen, Roel Salinas, of McAllen, Texas, and Mario Alberto Treviño, of Roma, Texas, were sentenced to 151 and 135 months in prison, respectively. Francisco Javier Treviño, a legal permanent resident alien residing in Mission, Texas, was sentenced to 34 months in prison. On August 31, 2012, Ivan Baldomero Vega, of Edinburg, Texas, and Miguel Angel Ramos-Lozano, a legal permanent resident alien residing in Roma, were sentenced to 120 months and 135 months in prison, respectively. According to court documents, these five men were part of a conspiracy of more than 20 men involved in drug trafficking and money laundering.  In June 2009, federal agents began investigating the drug trafficking organization, which revealed that large loads of marijuana were being importing from Mexico. Once the marijuana was in the United States, the organization stored it in various stash houses before transporting it to Houston. During the course of the investigation, agents seized 11 loads of marijuana weighing approximately 4,700 kilograms and approximately $120,000 in drug proceeds.

Mexican Nationals Sentenced for Participation in Drug Trafficking Organization
On August 22, 2012, in Oklahoma City, Okla., Alvaro Castillo, aka “Burra”, from Mexico, was sentenced to 108 months in prison for distributing a controlled substance and participating in a money laundering conspiracy. According to court documents, 21 defendants were convicted and sentenced as a result of a joint law enforcement investigation into narcotics trafficking activities of a Mexican national drug trafficking organization operating in Oklahoma City. Two of the other defendants previously sentenced in connection with the conspiracy include: Fidencio Castillo-Delgado, of Mexico, to serve 121 months in prison and Angel Morales-Renteral, aka “Angel” of Mexico, to serve 84 months in prison.

Tennessee Man Sentenced on Drug and Money Laundering Conspiracy Charges
On August 14, 2012, in Greenville, Tenn., Billy Taylor of Green County, Tenn., and Salisbury, N.C., was sentenced to 144 months in prison for participating in a vast drug organization responsible for distributing large quantities of cocaine, marijuana and oxycodone in the Eastern District of Tennessee. According to court documents, the overall criminal conspiracy operated between 2005 and 2012 and involved 13 indicted individuals. Taylor and others would travel to Florida and other locations to purchase the drugs and then distribute them in the Eastern District of Tennessee. Taylor helped co-defendants launder the proceeds, and he and a co-defendant were caught on tape surveillance purchasing a BMW and titling it in someone else’s name. A search warrant at Taylor’s residence revealed cocaine, marijuana, pills, scales, drug ledgers, a handgun, ammunition and over $45,000 in cash.

Oregon Man Sentenced for Drug Trafficking and Tax Crimes
On August 9, 2012, in Spokane, Wash., Alvin Oliver Shields, of Lebanon, Oregon, was sentenced to 30 months in prison, five years of supervised release and ordered to pay federal income taxes for tax years 2005, 2006, and 2007 and forfeit his interest in a Danville, Washington property. Shields pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute 1000 kilograms or more of marijuana; money laundering; structuring financial transactions to avoid reporting requirements; and failure to file income tax returns. According to court documents, Shields was allowing his property, just south of the U.S.-Canadian border, to be used by drug traffickers in Canada to transport marijuana to Spokane where it was stored for distribution to other trafficking organizations in the United States. In May 2009, agents seized 321 kilograms of marijuana linked to Shields’ property. The investigation also revealed that Shields engaged in structured cash transactions and money laundering to conceal the income from the IRS that he was earning from the illegal enterprise. In addition, Shields failed to file a federal income tax return for the 2005, 2006, and 2007 tax years.

North Carolina Drug Dealer Sentenced
On August 9, 2012, in New Bern, N.C., Calvin Colweth Garner, Jr., of Roanoke Rapids, N.C., was sentenced to 330 months in prison and five years of supervised release. Garner pleaded guilty on April 26, 2011, to conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of cocaine base and five kilograms or more of cocaine, and conspiring to launder monetary instruments. According to evidence presented in court, Garner was the leader of a drug trafficking organization operating in the Halifax and Nash-County areas of North Carolina. The investigation revealed that Garner was accountable for approximately 183 kilograms of cocaine, 12 kilograms of cocaine base, and 27 kilograms of marijuana. The investigation also revealed that between 2004 and 2008, Garner formed four companies and used these companies to facilitate the laundering of drug proceeds. Garner laundered approximately $177,000 of his drug proceeds through purchases of automobiles, motorcycles, and a floor stripping machine he purchased for one of his companies for more than $28,000. As part of his sentence, Garner forfeited an H2 Hummer, a Fleetwood Coronado Recreational Vehicle, a Taylor 260P Bronco Propane Floor Stripper Machine, and a Ford F150 Pickup Truck.  

Ohio Man Sentenced for Drug Crimes
On August 3, 2012, in Dayton, Ohio, Bryan Craig Milan was sentenced to 72 months in prison for conspiring to possess with the intent to distribute 100 kilograms or more of marijuana, possessing with the intent to distribute heroin, and using interstate travel in furtherance of a drug conspiracy. In addition, Milan was sentenced to five years of supervised release and ordered to forfeit more than $11,000 in cash and gift cards. According to court documents, Tramaine L. Norman and another individual trafficked more than 100 kilograms of marijuana from suppliers in California to the Dayton area between 2009 and 2011. The conspirators used several different methods of laundering approximately $1.1 million in drug proceeds, including depositing the cash using other people’s names to avoid currency reporting requirements. Milan’s role in the conspiracy was to test the quality of the marijuana before Warren and Norman distributed it. When Milan gained enough confidence in the quality of the marijuana, he began investing money into Warren and Norman’s drug enterprise. Norman was sentenced in March 2012 to 84 months in prison and five years of supervised release.

Chicago Man Sentenced on Drug and Money Laundering Charges
On July 26, 2012, in Chicago, Ill., Richard Harrington, of Chicago, Ill., was sentenced to 264 months in prison on various illegal drug violations and money laundering. Harrington pleaded guilty in January 2011 to one count of trafficking multiple kilograms of heroin and cocaine and two counts of money laundering. According to his plea agreement, from 2007 until October 8, 2009, Harrington and others possessed and distributed heroin and cocaine. In addition, Harrington laundered the proceeds of his drug trafficking through the purchase of vehicles.

International Drug Trafficker Sentenced
On June 29, 2012, in Detroit, Mich., Hassan Abboud, of Sterling Heights, Michigan, was sentenced to 84 months in prison and four years of supervised release. According to court records, from 2005 to 2009, Abboud was the leader of an international drug trafficking organization that imported thousands of pounds of marijuana from the Toronto, Canada area into the United States. More than $1.8 million in cash was seized as a result of this prosecution. During the time frame of the conspiracy, Abboud was living near Toronto where he obtained the marijuana and would direct shipments of money into Canada.

Florida Pill Mill Owner Sentenced in Operation Snake Oil
On June 29, 2012, in Miami, Fla., Vincent Colangelo, of Davie, was sentenced to 240 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Colangelo was also ordered to forfeit five properties valued at more than $2.5 million, approximately $911,951 seized from seven bank accounts and a safety deposit box, 52 vehicles and vessels worth more than $6 million and jewelry valued at approximately $20,000. Colangelo pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute and dispense large amounts of oxycodone without a legitimate medical purpose and outside the usual course of professional practice, money laundering and filing a false 2009 federal income tax return. According to court documents, Colangelo owned and operated six pain management clinics and a pharmacy in Broward and Miami-Dade counties. Colangelo and his co-conspirators were responsible for dispensing more than 660,000 dosage units of oxycodone in amounts greater than 1.4 million milligrams and prescribing significantly more oxycodone filled by outside pharmacies to patients throughout Florida and other states.

Long Time Fugitive Sentenced for Drug Trafficking and Money Laundering
On June 27, 2012 in Houston, Texas, John Callen, Jr. was sentenced to 188 months in prison, five years of supervised release and ordered to forfeit more than $400,000 for  In February 2012, Callen pleaded guilty to conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute cocaine and laundering hundreds of thousands of dollars in drug money. At his plea hearing, Callen admitted that in 2003 his principal source of income was from drug trafficking. In August 2003, he received 14 kilograms of cocaine from a co-defendant. Callen gave that co-defendant $249,005 in cash to be delivered to the cocaine supplier. However, the money never made it to the supplier because officers of the Currency and Narcotics Enforcement Task Force (CNET) seized the money from the co-defendant's vehicle as it left Callen’s residence. A search of Callen’s home resulted in the recovery of the 14 kilograms of cocaine, a kilogram of heroin, as well as 14 marijuana plants growing in the back yard. Callen fled Texas following the seizures and began living under a different name, but was found and arrested in Michigan in December 2010 and returned to Houston in January 2011.

Caribbean Drug Trafficking Organization Leader Sentenced
On June 27, 2012, in Raleigh, N.C., Sean Pintard was sentenced to 240 months in prison and five years of supervised release. In addition, Pintard agreed to the forfeiture of $3,000,000. Pintard pleaded guilty in June 2011 to one count of conspiracy to import more than five kilograms of cocaine and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. According to court documents, Pintard was the leader of an extensive drug trafficking organization based in Freeport, Bahamas, responsible for smuggling in excess of a thousand kilograms of cocaine into the United States and laundered drug proceeds involving millions of dollars.

Three Phoenix Men Sentenced in Drug Distribution Conspiracy
On June 18, 2012, in Phoenix, Ariz., Eduardo Lopez-Camacho was sentenced to 24 months in prison and two years of supervised release. Lopez-Camacho pleaded guilty on March 21, 2012, to conspiracy to commit money laundering. According to court documents, on February 11, 2011, Lopez-Camacho was stopped by Utah law enforcement officers near Salt Lake City when he committed a traffic violation. During the course of the stop, officers located $31,360 in U.S. currency in a hidden compartment of Lopez-Camacho’s vehicle. Officers learned that the money was drug proceeds that Lopez-Camacho was being paid to transport. Two other individuals have been sentenced in this investigation. Herman Eloy Llanes-Montoya and Luis Edel Ayala-Cruz were sentenced to prison terms of 57 months and 70 months, respectively, and two years of supervised release. Llanes-Montoya and Ayala-Cruz pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine. Two other co-defendants, Ramon Ayala-Lopez and Jesus Eliobardo Ruiz-Vega, both of Phoenix, remain at-large.

Final Defendant in Alaska Drug Conspiracy Sentenced
On June 14, 2012, in Fairbanks, Alaska, Dante Whitley, a resident of Vacaville, California was sentenced to 90 months in prison for his role in a conspiracy to distribute oxycodone and a conspiracy to launder financial proceeds from the drug conspiracy. According to information presented to the court, Whitley was involved in a conspiracy to distribute oxycodone pills in Fairbanks, Alaska that began in 2008 and continued through 2010. Whitley was a member of the United States Army and was stationed in Fairbanks where he met Justin Shepard and Lennon Duncan. After he was discharged from the military in 2007, Whitley returned to his hometown of Vacaville, California. In 2008, Whitley and Wilbert Barber began to ship oxycodone pills to Shepard, Duncan, and others in Fairbanks. Whitley and Barber lived in California and would use Kelly Kilker and other female couriers to transport the oxycodone pills to Fairbanks, Alaska. Shepard, Duncan, Alex Kurth, and Shane Tufford sell the pills and send the proceeds of the sale of the oxycodone to Whitley and Barber in California. The money would be sent by making cash deposits into the bank accounts of Whitley and Barber in Fairbanks banks, where the deposits would then be withdrawn in other bank branches in California. Money would also be sent to Whitley and Barber using money wire transfer services, private mail carriers, or personal couriers. The other defendants sentenced in this conspiracy include:
- Barber - 120 months in prison and three years supervised release
- Shepard - 67 months in prison and three years supervised release
- Tufford - 102 months in prison and three years supervised release
- Kurth - 30 months in prison and three years supervised release
- Duncan - 35 months in prison and three years supervised release
- Kilker - 48 months in prison and three years supervised release

Man Sentenced for Drug Conspiracy and Money Laundering
On June 13, 2012, in Oklahoma City, Okla., Angel Morales-Renteral, aka Angel, was sentenced to 84 months in prison and two years of supervised release. Morales-Renteral pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine and money laundering. According to court documents, Morales-Renteral was a member of a conspiracy that distributed methamphetamine in Oklahoma City. From October 2010 to May 2011, Morales-Renteral conducted financial transactions with the illegal proceeds of the distribution conspiracy to conceal the source and true ownership of the money. Members of the conspiracy would deposit the proceeds in branches of the Bank of America in Kansas and Oklahoma and in turn, withdraw or transfer funds from those accounts in Oklahoma or to the Republic of Mexico.

South Carolina Man Sentenced for Marijuana and Cocaine Conspiracy and Money Laundering

On June 5, 2012, in Columbia, S.C., Juan Martinez, Jr., aka “El Indio” and “Indio,” was sentenced to 168 months in prison, five years of supervised release and ordered to pay a $200 special assessment.  According to the superseding indictment, beginning in at least mid-2005, Martinez participated in a conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana and cocaine. In December 2010, Martinez used $13,334 in cash from the proceeds of drug sales to purchase a 2003 Cadillac Escalade.

Drug Dealer Sentenced on Drug and Tax Charges

On May 2, 2012, in Burlington, Vt., Todd Jarvis, of the Bronx, N.Y, was sentenced to 225 months in prison and five years of supervised release for conspiring to distribute 280 grams or more of crack cocaine and for failing to file a tax return.  According to court records, Jarvis and his girlfriend, Waketa Coleman, ran a large scale crack and heroin distribution ring in central Vermont  from the spring of 2006 until the fall of 2009. The pair recruited Bronx residents to come to Vermont to sell the crack cocaine and heroin they provided. Once in Vermont, Jarvis and Coleman found local residents who would allow the Bronx distributors to sell the drugs out of their homes. In the course of the near four-year conspiracy, multiple kilograms of crack cocaine were distributed and numerous firearms were traded for drugs.

Former New York Man Sentenced for Cocaine by Mail Conspiracy and Money Laundering

On April 28, 2012, in Syracuse, N.Y., Jimmie Henry, aka "Cuz," of Los Angeles, Calif.,  formerly of Syracuse, N.Y., was sentenced to 210 months in prison, five years of supervised release and ordered to pay a $200 special assessment.  Henry pleaded guilty to conspiring to possess with intent to distribute, and distribute, more than five kilograms of a mixture or substance containing cocaine and money laundering.  According to court documents, Henry was the leader of a large scale cocaine by mail conspiracy that operated between approximately 2005 and August 8, 2008, in which Henry, or those acting at his direction, mailed at least up to 50 kilograms of cocaine to co-conspirators in Syracuse. In his plea agreement, Henry admitted that he laundered $288,993 in profits from his illegal cocaine venture through a bank account in Los Angeles established and maintained by his wife, Lanise Joiner. He admitted that he used this money to buy a house in the Los Angeles area for $1.125 million using financial transactions to conceal the true nature and source of the money. 

Leader of Marijuana Distribution Ring Sentenced

On April 26, 2012, in Charlotte, N.C., Eric Mark Giles was sentenced to 196 months in prison and four years of supervised release for drug, money laundering and firearm charges. According to evidence presented at trial, court documents and court proceedings, Giles, a student at the University of North Carolina (UNC) led a large marijuana distribution organization which generated drug proceeds in excess of $1 million in a two and a half year time period. Trial evidence established that Giles was primarily responsible for the shipment of high-grade marijuana from Santa Cruz, California, to distributors based in the UNC Charlotte area. Trial evidence showed that the group used bank accounts to launder their drug proceeds by making large cash deposits in branches in North Carolina and corresponding cash withdrawals in California. The co-conspirators kept their individual transactions under $10,000 in an effort to avoid Federal Currency Transaction Reporting requirements. Other members of the drug and money laundering conspiracy already sentenced including Keith Kraszewski, of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., sentenced in April 2011 to 41 months in prison and four years of supervised release and William Skach, of Asheville, N.C., sentenced in May 2011 to 27 months in prison and four years of supervised release.

Florida Man Sentenced for Money Laundering and Drug Conspiracy

On April 17, 2012, in Miami, Fla., Roberto Caro, of Miami-Dade, was sentenced to 48 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Caro was charged with one count of money laundering in connection with a mortgage fraud scheme and one count of conspiracy to manufacture and possess with intent to distribute marijuana.  Caro also was sentenced on a related charge of bond jumping, arising from his failure to appear in court in January 2011 on the original charges.  According to court documents and statements made in court, law enforcement discovered marijuana grow house operations in numerous homes in Port St. Lucie.  During the investigation, many of those homes were linked to co-defendant Manuel Caro, father of Roberto Caro.  Manuel Caro was charged in 2006 for his participation in the marijuana grow house operation, but fled after being released on bond and remains a fugitive. Additional marijuana grow houses were discovery in St. Lucie, Palm Beach, and Miami-Dade Counties. According to a second superseding indictment, most of the homes were bought with funds obtained through mortgage fraud committed by Roberto Caro and a co-defendant Hugo Oliva who was a mortgage broker dba MBA Mortgage Services, Inc.  The defendants in the mortgage fraud scheme were charged with various counts of conspiracy, mail fraud, drug charges, and laundering drug-related money through the purchase of the homes.  In March 2011, Hugo Oliva was sentenced to 87 months in prison and ordered to pay $886,418 in restitution. 

Man Sentenced for Oxycodone Distribution and Money Laundering Charges

On April 16, 2012, in Knoxville Tenn., Peter Mayo, of Tampa, Fla., was sentenced to 162 months in prison and three years of supervised release.  Mayo pleaded guilty in October 2011 to conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute oxycodone and conspiracy to commit money laundering.  According to his plea agreement, between January 2009 and September 2011, Mayo directed numerous “pill shoppers” to obtain multiple prescriptions for oxycodone.  Mayo would then ship the pills to co-conspirators in Knoxville, Tenn.  During the course of the conspiracy, Mayo shipped multiple packages per week to Tennessee. Once the pills were distributed by his co-conspirators, Mayo directed the deposit of the drug proceeds into his personal bank accounts.  Mayo then used funds to promote continued drug trafficking and purchase many high-value assets, including luxury vehicles, motorcycles, jet-skis, a martial arts training facility, jewelry, and travel.   

Wisconsin Man Sentenced for Distributing Cocaine and Money Laundering

On April 12, 2012, in Madison, Wis., Joseph P. Loomis, of Holmen, was sentenced to 240 months in prison.  Loomis pleaded guilty to conspiring to possess and distribute cocaine and money laundering on February 2, 2012. According to court documents, Loomis was the leader of a drug organization that distributed between 15 and 50 kilograms of cocaine in the La Crosse, Wis., area from approximately April 2006 to September 2008. He also distributed large quantities of marijuana from 2006 through the spring of 2011. Loomis maintained stash houses and used other individuals to pick up, package, store and distribute drugs. He also used another individual to collect drug debts. Loomis laundered drug proceeds by using a Netspend stored value card.  He deposited large sums of cash onto the card and then used the card to purchase items.

Marijuana Dealer Sentenced on Drug and Money Laundering Charges

On April 6, 2012, in Baltimore, Md., James Bestman was sentenced to 262 months in prison and five years of supervised release for distribution of marijuana and conspiracy to commit money laundering. According to testimony presented at trial, from 2004 to 2010, Bestman conspired to distribute marijuana which he obtained from sources in the Southwest and transported to the East Coast and Ohio. The evidence showed that Bestman distributed at least 10,000 pounds of marijuana over the course of the conspiracy.  According to witness testimony, during 2004 and 2005, Bestman was a supervisor in the organization, responsible for obtaining drugs from a source in Arizona. Testimony showed that Bestman engaged in drug deals with other individuals and hired couriers to truck the drugs and money back and forth across the country.  The evidence also showed that Bestman participated in a money laundering scheme involving the purchase of a 2007 Mercedes.

Former Leader of the Arellano-Felix Organization Sentenced for Racketeering and Money Laundering Offenses

On April 2, 2012, in San Diego, Calif., Benjamin Arellano-Felix, the former leader of the Tijuana Cartel/Arellano-Felix Organization (AFO), was sentenced to 300 months in prison and ordered to forfeit $100 million in criminal proceeds. According to court records and the defendant’s admissions, Arellano-Felix was the leader of the AFO from approximately 1986 to until his arrest on March 9, 2002. Arellano-Felix and other AFO members conspired to import and distribute within the United States hundreds of tons of cocaine and marijuana, for which the AFO obtained hundreds of millions in U.S. dollars in profits. Arellano-Felix conspired with other members of the AFO to launder proceeds the drug trafficking activities by directing other members to transport, transmit, and transfer hundreds of millions in U.S. dollars from the United States to Mexico.

New York Woman Sentenced on Money Laundering Charge

On March 22, 2012, in New York, N.Y., Maribel Lopez was sentenced to 18 months in prison and three years of supervised release for her role in a cocaine distribution conspiracy.  In September 2011, Lopez pleaded guilty to one count of structuring.  According to court documents, Lopez assisted a narcotics distribution organization by transporting and concealing narcotics proceeds.  From October 2006 through June 2009, she made over 80 cash deposits in amounts under $10,000, totaling $155,120.

Georgia Man Sentenced for Drug Distribution

On March 7, 2012, in Macon, Ga., Leonard Earnest Royster was sentenced to 76 months in prison, five years of supervised release, and ordered to pay a $25,000 fine. Royster pleaded guilty in October 2011 one count of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute cocaine and one count of operating an unlicensed money transmitting enterprise. According to court documents, beginning in early January 2005 and continuing on or about December 30, 2006, Royster and others were trafficking large amounts of cocaine from California to Georgia. In turn, they were transporting large amount of U.S. currency from Georgia to California. Royster stored money at his home and controlled hundreds of thousands of dollars that were derived from cocaine sales.

Defendant Sentenced on Drug and Money Laundering Charges

On February 22, 2012, in Anchorage, Alaska, Adan E. Barragan, aka "Lalo", was sentenced to 132 months in prison and five years of supervised release on charges of a drug conspiracy and conspiracy to launder proceeds of unlawful distribution of controlled substances.  According to the indictment, from 2007 to February 2011, Barragan and others participated in a drug-distribution conspiracy involving methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana sent to Alaska from California.  In addition, Barragan and others participated in a money laundering conspiracy involving the proceeds of the drug-trafficking activity in Alaska transferred back to California through financial transactions.

Pharmacist Sentenced in Scheme to Distribute Prescription Drugs

On February 23, 2012, in Newark, N.J., Vincent Hsia, a pharmacist and the former proprietor of Lincoln Pharmacy Network, was sentenced to 300 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay a $250,000 fine.  According to court documents and statements made in court, Hsia admitted that he and other participated in a conspiracy to distribute oxycodone between October 4, 2007, and April 2, 2010.  Hsia admitted he knowingly and intentionally filled fraudulent prescriptions for oxycodone completed in the names of fictitious patients, which he knew were written for no legitimate medical purpose and beyond the bounds of medical practice. Hsia further admitted that the approximately $600,000 in U.S. currency seized by law enforcement at the time of his arrest represented property constituting, or derived from, the conspiracy to distribute oxycodone. Hsia admitted that he willfully filed false individual tax returns and corporate tax returns on behalf of Lincoln Pharmacy for tax years 2008 and 2009. Hsia said those returns were materially false in that they failed to report the true amount of cash Hsia made from the oxycodone distribution conspiracy during tax years 2008 and 2009.

Two Texas Drug Traffickers Sentenced

On February 15, 2012, in Fort Worth, Texas, Jo Ann Henry were sentenced to 292 months in prison; on February 13, 2012, Rigoberto Orozco was sentenced to 151 months in prison.  Each was also sentenced to five years of supervised release. In addition, Orozco was ordered to forfeit $60,733,000 in cash proceeds as a result of his criminal activities, as well as a 2004 Honda Accord and property in Mansfield, Texas. Henry was ordered to forfeit  $1,246,990.  According to court documents, Orozco and Henry were among numerous defendants charged in a drug distribution conspiracy.  Orozco and Henry pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 100 grams of heroin and to laundering the drug proceeds

North Carolina Man Sentenced for a Major Cocaine Trafficking Conspiracy

On February 8, 2012, in Raleigh, N.C., Thomas Grandville Alston was sentenced to 324 months in prison and five years of supervised release.  Alston pleaded guilty in April 2011 to charges of conspiring to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine and money laundering.  The evidence presented in court revealed that Alston was a major cocaine trafficker in North Carolina. From at least 2006 through January 25, 2011, Alston and others distributed multiple kilograms of cocaine and generated hundreds of thousands of dollars in drug proceeds. The evidence further revealed that Alston laundered a significant portion of the proceeds through the purchases of luxury automobiles.

Member of Texas Drug Ring Sentenced on Drug and Money Laundering Charges

On January 25, 2012, in Waco, Texas, Mario Torres was sentenced to 240 months in prison and three years of supervised release for his role in a conspiracy to distribute marijuana and money laundering.  According to court documents, Torres and others acquired, transported and distributed controlled substances in Western Texas and elsewhere. Currency was collected from the sale of the controlled substances and was then used to further ongoing illegal activity and to purchase assets. Beginning in at least February 2004, members of the Escobar organization began to acquire large quantities of cocaine from sources in Mexico. The cocaine was imported into the United States and transported to Central and North Texas and elsewhere. Twelve other members have been sentenced in this case.

California Man Sentenced for Role in Alaska Drug Conspiracy

On January 23, 2012, in Anchorage, Alaska, Wilbert Barber, of Sacramento, California, was sentenced to 114 months in prison and three years of supervised release for his role in a drug conspiracy.  According to court documents, beginning in 2008 and continuing through 2010, Barber was involved in a conspiracy to distribute over $130,000 worth of oxycodone pills in Fairbanks, Alaska.  Barber supplied oxycodone pills to his co-defendants in Fairbanks for distribution. The pills would be sent to Fairbanks using couriers who carried the pills on their bodies aboard commercial airline flights or through private mail carrier services.  Barber’s co-defendants would pay for the pills by sending proceeds from the sales of those pills to Barber in California. Barber’s co-defendants would deposit money into Barber’s bank account or would use wire transfer services to send money to Barber in California.

Maryland Man Sentenced in Multi-Million Dollar Heroin and Money Laundering Conspiracy

On January 20, 2012, in Baltimore, Md., Steven Blackwell, of Elkton, Md., was sentenced to 240 months in prison and five years of supervised release for his part in a conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute heroin, conspiracy to launder money and conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government relating to the collection of income taxes.  Blackwell was also ordered to forfeit money, property, and assets traced to the illegal activity, including at least eight pieces of property.  According to his plea agreement, Blackwell was the leader of a conspiracy to distribute heroin in Maryland, New York and the Dominican Republic since December 2003.  Blackwell made millions of dollars and distributed more than 30 kilograms of heroin. In his plea agreement, Blackwell admitted that he and Joy Edison conspired to launder the millions of dollars in proceeds from Blackwell’s heroin sales through the purchase of multiple properties, cars and other expensive items.  In addition, in an effort to conceal the nature and the extent of the illegal income from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Blackwell and Edison engaged in financial transactions designed to prevent the IRS from properly assessing taxes due.  At the same time, the income reported by Blackwell and his conspirators was a small fraction of the actual income derived from the sale of heroin. On August 26, 2011, Joy Edison, of Elkton, Md., was sentenced to 70 months in prison for conspiring to launder over $400,000 in drug proceeds.  Edison was also ordered to forfeit her interest in eight properties purchased with drug proceeds, and any other property purchased with drug trafficking proceeds.

New York Man Sentenced on Drug and Money Laundering Charges

On January 12, 2012, in Rochester, N.Y., Ormond "Rallo" Larkin, of Rochester, N.Y., was sentenced to 120 months in prison and five years of supervised release after being convicted of conspiring to distribute cocaine and laundering drug proceeds. In addition, Larkin will forfeit cash, jewelry and two vehicles.  According to court records, Larkin was involved in a conspiracy to distribute significant quantities of cocaine in the Rochester area for nearly a decade. Larkin admitted that over the course of his drug trafficking, he sold and laundered between $120,000 and $200,000 in drug proceeds, mostly through the purchase of high end vehicles. Larkin was arrested in April 2010 along with three others, Jerome Wilson, Chad Lewis and Curtis Monroe. All four defendants have now been convicted and sentenced. Monroe was sentenced to 84 months in prison; Lewis and Wilson were sentenced to 120 months. 

Final Drug Defendant Sentenced in Massive Hashish Smuggling Scheme

On January 5, 2012, in Tacoma, Wash., Lee Rushing, aka Anthony Bear, was sentenced to 60 months in prison, three years of supervised release and was ordered to pay a forfeiture of $2.5 million to the government for money laundering. Rushing was arrested in November 2008 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. According to court documents, in 1992, Rushing joined with conspirators Frank Falco, Jeffery Jay Warren, and others in a scheme to smuggle 50,000 pounds of hashish from Pakistan into the United States. The men hired a fisherman, Robert Tillitz, to arrange the transfer of the hashish from a freighter to a smaller fishing boat off the coast of Washington. In July 1992, the three boats met the “mother ship” out in the Pacific and transported 50,000 pounds of hashish to shore and the drugs were distributed to Oregon, California and New York by rental trucks.  Falco rented an apartment in New York City which served as the headquarters for the drug distribution conspiracy. The 50,000 pounds was an enormous amount of hashish and they tried to control the distribution so that the market would not be flooded causing the price to drop. The money was then distributed to Tillitz and others who had assisted with the marine end of the smuggling operation. The large amounts of cash ultimately led to arrests in the case. Rushing lived in hiding and lived off the money from the drug smuggling scheme. As part of his plea agreement, he forfeited a Cayman Islands’ bank account, containing $280,000, to the government.

Maryland Man Sentenced for Role in Drug Distribution and Money Laundering Conspiracies

On January 4, 2012, in Baltimore, Md., David Lynch, of Hagerstown, Md., was sentenced to 120 months in prison and five years of supervised release for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine and marijuana, as well as conspiracy to launder money. According to Lynch’s guilty plea, upon his return to Maryland from military service in 2007, David Lynch joined a conspiracy to distribute drugs in Western Maryland. The conspirators would order marijuana and cocaine from a source in Texas and have the marijuana and cocaine shipped to Maryland. Once in Maryland, Lynch and the other members of the conspiracy would sell the marijuana and cocaine. The proceeds would be placed in a bank account, including one held in the name of David Lynch, at a branch in Maryland or New Jersey, and then be withdrawn at a branch in Texas and be used to purchase more marijuana and cocaine. Throughout the course of his participation in the conspiracy, over $500,000 in funds was deposited and then withdrawn from bank accounts associated with the conspiracy, and at least $138,780 in funds was deposited and then withdrawn from Lynch’s bank account.

Texas Man Sentenced for Money Laundering and Narcotics

On December 29, 2011, in Austin, Texas, Lazaro Ruiz was sentenced to 60 months in prison and three years of supervised release for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana and money laundering.  According to court documents, a search warrant led to the seizure of over 100 marijuana plants.  Ruiz is one of seven defendants in the case.  According to bank statements and other financial records the proceeds were laundered through the purchase and rental of properties and cars.

Montana Man Sentenced on Drug and Money Laundering Charges

On December 20, 2011, in Missoula, Mont., Ryan Gifford Blindheim, of Whitefish, was sentenced to 18 months in prison, four years of supervised release, and ordered to forfeit $86,850.  Blindheim pleaded guilty in August 2011 to conspiracy to manufacture marijuana and money laundering.  According to court documents, in approximately October 2010, and continuing through March 14, 2011, Blindheim and other individuals started and continued a marijuana grow operation in Olney.  Blindheim purchased the location and assisted in transforming the building into a proper marijuana plant growing facility.  Blindheim and a co-conspirator deposited large amounts of cash into their personal savings accounts at Whitefish Credit Union. Cash deposits ranging from approximately $3,000 to $9,000 were routinely made in November 2010, totaling $86,850 in one month. 

Texas Used Car Dealership Owner Sentenced for Drug Trafficking and Money Laundering

On December 15, 2011, in Corpus Christi, Texas, Angel Gonzalez was sentenced to 210 months in prison, five years of supervised release and fined $5,000 for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 20 kilograms of cocaine and laundering drug proceeds.  According to court documents, Gonzalez is one of a three men charged for their involvement in trafficking cocaine. The other two defendants, George Puebla III and Charles Chavana,  both of Corpus Christi, pleaded guilty in April and were sentenced in September 2011.  Puebla was sentenced to 240 months in prison and 10 years of supervised release, while Chavana was sentenced to 135 months and five years of supervised release.  Gonzalez, Puebla and Chavana were arrested in January 2011 following the delivery of 19 kilograms of cocaine to an undercover agent in the parking lot of a hotel.  Gonzalez, who had previously sold one kilogram of cocaine to the agent in December 2010, had arranged with Puebla to deliver an additional 20 kilograms of cocaine on January  20, 2011, for sale to the agent for more than $400,000.

Texas-based Kingpin Sentenced to Life

On December 12, 2011, in Laredo, Texas, Leandro Salas-Galaviz was sentenced to life in prison for his role as a leader/organizer in a drug and money laundering conspiracy engaged in trafficking cocaine and marijuana for the Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas. A money judgment of $13 million was also entered in addition to a final order of forfeiture for a property in Laredo, Texas, and $118,998 in money seizure.  Also sentenced were three co-conspirators. Norberto Alaniz was sentenced to 360 months in prison and ten years of supervised release; Galaviz's wife, Marya Lopez, and mother, Josefina Galaviz, each received 135 months in prison and three years of supervised release.  Galaviz's sister Yesica Magana, awaits sentencing.  According to court documents, Salas-Galaviz was an illegal resident who had lived in Dallas and Laredo since 2002 under the false identity of Daniel Obregon.  He was placed in the United States by the Gulf Cartel/Zetas.  As part of his operation, he shipped tons of marijuana and cocaine from Laredo to Dallas, Fort Worth, Chicago and other areas.  He and his wife, mother and sister used multiple bank accounts to conduct financial transactions designed to conceal and disguise the true nature and ownership of the thousands of dollars of cash proceeds deposited and withdrawn from those accounts.  From 2004 through 2009, almost $2 million in cash drug proceeds were deposited into those accounts.

Seven St. Croix Men Sentenced for Money Laundering and Drug Trafficking

On December 2, 2011, in St. Croix, V.I., seven defendants were sentenced for money laundering and drug trafficking. In March 2011, Lionel Fawkes, Christopher Alfred, Shango Allick, David Clouden, Marcelino Garcia, Jamaal Maragh and Jamal Young were found guilty of numerous counts of money laundering.  Additionally, all of these defendants, except Maragh, were convicted of conspiracy to commit money laundering, and Fawkes only, of conspiracy to distribute cocaine. The evidence at trial disclosed a drug trafficking organization operating in Fairbanks, Alaska, that was supplied with narcotics from the U.S. Virgin Islands. Cocaine and crack cocaine were sent, usually via Express Mail parcels, from St. Croix to Fairbanks. Members of the organization in Alaska then distributed the narcotics in Alaska for significant financial profit. Some of the illegal drug proceeds were then sent back to St. Croix, via Western Union wire transfers and money orders. Documentation uncovered showed at least 167 wire transfers and money orders were sent between St. Croix and Fairbanks, totaling approximately $307,849. The defendants were sentenced as follows:

  • Lionel Fawkes - 200 months in prison and four years of supervised release.
  • Christopher Alfred - 32 months in prison and three years of supervised release.
  • Shango Allick - 30 months in prison and three years of supervised release. 
  • David Clouden - 18 months in prison and three years of supervised release.
  • Marcelino Garcia - 24 months in prison and three years of supervised release.
  • Jamaal Maragh - 29 months in prison and three years of supervised release.
  • Jamal Young - 20 months in prison and three years of supervised release.

Nebraska Co-Conspirator Sentenced on Drug and Money Laundering Charges

On November 7, 2011, in Omaha, Neb., Shannon Williams was sentenced to 480 months in prison and fined $300,000 for marijuana trafficking and money laundering.  According to court documents, from 2006 thru 2009, Williams directed a conspiracy that arranged for over 7,000 pounds of marijuana to be transported to Omaha from the Tucson, Arizona area.  Williams and two associates found people to drive loads of marijuana from Arizona to Omaha and other drivers to take money for the marijuana from Omaha to Arizona.  Williams determined how much marijuana would be sent to Omaha; how much his distributers would charge for it when they sold it; and how much each of the drivers would be paid. Every major decision in the enterprise came from him. Deshawn Hernandez, a former girlfriend, and Sara Jarrett, a driver, were convicted of the drug and money laundering conspiracy charges in April.  Hernandez was sentenced to 170 months and Jarrett to 120 months.

Texas Residents Sentenced on Cocaine and Money Laundering Charges

On November 17, 2011, in Corpus Christi, Texas, four of five Brownsville, Texas residents were sentenced for cocaine trafficking and money laundering.  According to court documents, the group was responsible for smuggling into the U.S. and then transporting hundreds of kilograms of cocaine to Atlanta and Dallas, and transporting back to Mexico millions of dollars in drug proceeds. Arturo Gomez was sentenced to 300 months in prison and five years of supervised release; Magda Zendejas was sentenced to 235 months and five years of supervised release; Reyna Ceballos was sentenced to 70 months and five years of supervised release; and David Alcala was sentenced to 90 months and four years of supervised release.  The fifth defendant, Julio Gonzalez, awaits sentencing. Gomez, with the assistance of Alcala, operated an auto shop in Brownsville. The auto shop served as a stash house for cocaine smuggled into the United States and as a collection point for proceeds generated by the sale of the contraband in Atlanta and Dallas. Between 2009 and 2011, hundreds of kilograms of cocaine were loaded onto vehicles either sent by the distributer in Atlanta or in vehicles obtained by members of this transportation cell for delivery to points north and further distribution.  Millions of dollars in drug proceeds were delivered to the auto shop by members of the transportation cell to be smuggled into Mexico. Gomez and Alcala agreed to the forfeiture of $524,910 in U.S. currency, which was seized on March 2, 2011, during their arrests.

New York Man Sentenced For Cocaine Trafficking and Money Laundering

On November 3, 2011, in Syracuse, N.Y., Michael Bialek, of Utica, N.Y., was sentenced to 135 months in prison and five years of supervised release.  Bialek was the subject of a multi-agency, federal, state and local Drug Task Force investigation and was convicted for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine as well as money laundering.  In May 2008, Bialek began bringing multi-kilogram quantities of cocaine powder from New York City to Utica, where it was stored and later distributed.  Bialek laundered the profits from his drug sales through a local car dealer who purchased high end automobiles, such as Maseratis and other vehicles from online auto auctions so that they could be resold, thereby effectively hiding the illegal source of the funds.  As part of his plea of guilty, Bialek agreed to forfeit his interest in a 2003 Acura MDX Automobile, a 2002 Jaguar, and a 2006 Maserati Quattroporte automobile, $7,169 in U.S. currency as well as agreeing to a money judgment of $27,423.

Member of Texas Drug Ring Sentenced to Prison

On October 26, 2011, in Waco, Texas, Juan Guzman was sentenced to 51 months in prison and three years of supervised release for his role in a conspiracy to distribute marijuana and money laundering.  According to court documents, Guzman and others acquired, transported and distributed controlled substances in Western Texas and elsewhere. Currency was collected from the sale of the controlled substances and was then used to further ongoing illegal activity and to purchase assets. Beginning in at least February 2004, members of the Escobar organization began to acquire large quantities of cocaine from sources in Mexico. The cocaine was imported into the United States and transported to Central and North Texas and elsewhere.   Eleven other defendants were sentenced in July 2011.

Drug Kingpin Sentenced to Life in Prison

On October 26, 2011, in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Ángel M. Ayala-Vázquez, aka “El Negro,” “Ángelo Millones,” “El Buster,” and “Papa Upa,” was sentenced to life in prison.  Ayala-Vázquez was found guilty of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to import controlled substances at the Public Housing Projects José Celso Barbosa and Sierra Linda in Bayamón, Puerto Rico. He was also found guilty for a forfeiture allegation with a money judgment of $100 million. According to court documents, Ayala-Vázquez and his co-conspirators disguised the true nature of their narcotics proceeds by purchasing legitimate assets, including, real estate properties, race cars, motor vehicles, vessels and businesses through the use of “straw owners,” in order to conceal the true ownership of the assets, and the illegal source of the funds used to make the purchases.  On October 14, 2011, one of Ayala-Vázquez conspirators, Samuel Negron-Hernandez, aka "Sammy" and "Sammy Tostón," was sentenced to 240 months in prison followed by ten years of supervised release for his part in the conspiracy.

 

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