Examples of Narcotics-Related Investigations - Fiscal Year 2013
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.
Doctor Sentenced on Federal Charges Including Running a Pill Mill
On September 25, 2013, in Philadelphia, Pa., Norman M. Werther, of Washington, Pa., was sentenced to 300 months in prison and three years of supervised release. In June 2013, Werther was found guilty of 184 counts of illegally distributing oxycodone, 116 counts of money laundering, six counts of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, one count of maintaining a drug-involved premises and distribution of a controlled substance resulting in death. According to court documents, Werther was part of a multi-million dollar drug conspiracy involving illegal prescriptions, phony patients and multiple drug trafficking organizations. At the time, Werther was a physician, running a physical therapy and rehabilitation practice. He conspired with six separate groups of drug dealers who recruited large numbers of pseudo-patients. The drug conspiracy operated between February 2009 and August 2011 and resulted in the illegal distribution of more than 700,000 pills containing oxycodone. At least one of the drug trafficking organizations working with Werther trafficked pills valued at more than $5 million that Werther illegally prescribed.
Virginia Man Sentenced for Fraud and Money Laundering
On September 24, 2013, in Norfolk, Va., James Allen Sutton, of Newport News, Va., was sentenced to 105 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Sutton pleaded guilty in June 2013 to conspiracy to defraud the United States, money laundering, and illegally possessing a firearm as a felon. According to court documents, in April 2011, following a tip, detectives with the Newport News Police Department executed a search warrant on Sutton’s residence. Inside Sutton’s apartment, the officers found four pounds of marijuana, a handgun, digital scales and packaging materials commonly used in the sale of marijuana. The investigation determined that from 2006 through 2010, Sutton conspired with a Hampton business owner, Eleanor Murphy, to disguise the proceeds of his marijuana distribution business as legitimate earnings from Murphy’s construction business, Poor Boy’s Construction. Sutton needed someone to legitimize his lifestyle, and he needed to show legitimate income in order to file tax returns, obtain mortgage loans and qualify for credit cards. Murphy, who was convicted in 2012 for her role in the conspiracy, provided Sutton with false form 1099s representing income that she never paid to him. Sutton used these 1099s when he filed his own individual income tax returns, in effect, masking the drug money as legitimate income. An in-depth financial investigation showed that Sutton used the proceeds from his drug business to make hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of expenditures related to travel, gambling, and the purchase of expensive clothing, jewelry and automobiles.
Michigan Man Sentenced in Large Scale Drug Conspiracy
On September 13, 2013, in Detroit, Mich., Orlando Ricardo Gordon, of Franklin, Mich., was sentenced to 190 months in prison. Gordon pleaded guilty in March 2013 to conspiring to distribute controlled substances and structuring a financial transaction. According to court documents, between 2008 and May 2012, Gordon conspired with others to possess with the intent to distribute marijuana, cocaine, and cocaine base. Gordon supplied his co-defendants with pound-sized quantities of marijuana and kilogram-sized quantities of cocaine for further distribution. Gordon also had another person purchase money orders in amounts less than $3,000 to avoid reporting requirements.
Los Zetas Cartel Members Sentenced for Drug Trafficking, Money Laundering
On September 6, 2013, in Austin, Texas, Eusevio Maldonado Huitron was sentenced to 97 months in prison and three years of supervised release for his role in a complex conspiracy to launder millions of dollars in illicit Los Zetas drug trafficking proceeds. On May 9, 2013, a jury convicted Huitron of one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. On September 5, 2013,Jose Trevino Morales, Francisco Colorado Cessa and Fernando Solis Garcia were sentenced for their roles in laundering millions of dollars. Morales, of Balch Springs, Texas and Cessa, of Veracruz, Mexico, were each sentenced to 240 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Garcia, of Ruidoso, New Mexico, was sentenced to 160 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Morales and Cessa were convicted by a federal jury on May 9, 2013 of one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. Evidence presented during trial revealed that Los Zetas are a powerful drug cartel based in Mexico and generate multi-million dollar revenues from drug trafficking. Since 2008, Miguel and Oscar Trevino Morales would direct portions of the bulk cash generated from the sale of illegal narcotics to Jose Trevino and his wife, Zulema Trevino, for purchasing, training, breeding and racing American quarter horses in the United States. Testimony also revealed a shell game by the defendants involving straw purchasers and transactions worth millions of dollars in New Mexico, Oklahoma, California and Texas to disguise the source drug money and make the proceeds from the sale of quarter horses or their race winnings appear legitimate. Furthermore, the defendants implemented a scheme to structure cash deposits in amounts under $10,000 in order to circumvent mandatory bank reporting requirements. Over 400 quarter horses were seized by federal authorities and later auctioned for approximately $9 million. The Government also seeks the forfeiture of real property; farm and ranch equipment; and funds contained in multiple bank accounts allegedly used in the defendants’ scheme. The Government is also seeking a monetary judgment in the amount of $60 million representing property involved in, and derived from, the conspiracy.
Oklahoma Man Sentenced for Drug, Firearm and Money Laundering Charges
On September 5, 2013, in Tulsa, Okla., Brandon Royce Taylor was sentenced to 180 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Taylor pleaded guilty on June 3, 2013 to drug, firearm and money laundering violations. According to court documents, from 2006 through January 2009, Taylor maintained the Elgin Place property for the purpose of storing and distributing marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine. He also possessed cocaine while intending to distribute it and had an unregistered "street sweeper" shotgun. He committed money laundering when he made a $13,000 cash payment to buy the Elgin Place property. Co-conspirator Thamous Eugene Taylor was sentenced on August 21, 2013, to 60 months in prison. On August 8, 2013, a joint $650,000 criminal forfeiture money judgment was made against the Taylors representing the currency, firearms, ammunition and substitute property that they obtained as a result of their drug crimes.
Man Sentenced on Drug and Money Laundering Conspiracy Charges
On August 29, 2013, in Buffalo, N.Y., Will Johnson, of League City, Texas, was sentenced to 120 months in prison, five years of supervised release and ordered to forfeit $203,000 in cash. Johnson was convicted of conspiracy to distribute kilograms of cocaine and conspiracy to commit money laundering. According to court records, Johnson distributed kilograms of cocaine from the Houston area to other individuals who thereafter distributed that cocaine in Buffalo and elsewhere in the Western New York. In July 2010, law enforcement officers executed search warrants at locations including an apartment leased by the defendant in Missouri City, Texas, and his residence in League City, Texas. Officers seized cocaine and plastic wrappers consistent with packaging for multiple kilograms of cocaine, $55,000 in United States currency, a loaded handgun, and boxes of assorted ammunition. Johnson also deposited and transferred funds generated as a result of his drug trafficking to financial institutions. Johnson also paid approximately $13,000 to a used car lot to purchase a 2004 Escalade motor vehicle. He arranged to have cash deposits of $20,000 made into bank accounts which he used as a down payment for his residence.
Former Furniture Store Owner Sentenced for Drug Trafficking and Money Laundering
On August 20, 2013, in Corpus Christi, Texas, Jose Francisco Serna, of Mission, Texas, was sentenced to 96 months in prison, four years of supervised release, ordered to pay a $5,000 fine and forfeit his interest in a $300,000 ranch. Serna pleaded guilty on November 19, 2012 to conspiracy to launder monetary instruments and conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine. According to court documents, Serna once owned and operated a retail furniture store in McAllen, Texas. He began a drug venture on the side of his legitimate business with two of his associates in the furniture business. Serna later created Four Seasons Transport, a legitimate trucking company, to transport cocaine and currency between Mission, Texas, and Atlanta, Ga. Serna would then receive drug proceeds at his ranch in Mission. Serna used multiple bank accounts to hide the drug proceeds he had received, including his furniture business’ account.
Last of the Arellano-Felix Brothers Sentenced
On August 19, 2013, in San Diego, Calif., Eduardo Arellano-Felix, who acted as the chief financial officer of the notorious Mexican drug cartel that bears his family name, was sentenced to 180 months in prison and ordered to forfeit $50 million. Arellano-Felix is the last of four brothers to be sentenced for leading what was once among the world’s most violent and powerful multi-national drug trafficking organizations. He pleaded guilty in May 2013 to money laundering and conspiracy charges. According to court documents, the Arellano-Felix Organization (AFO) moved hundreds of tons of cocaine and marijuana from Mexico and Colombia into the United States and made hundreds of millions of dollars in the process. Arellano-Felix laundered hundreds of millions of dollars in drug trafficking proceeds and used some of the income to pay AFO members to commit crimes; to buy firearms, ammunition and vehicles; to travel on AFO-related business; to pay bribes; and to purchase drugs.
Drug Trafficker Sentenced on Drug and Money Laundering Charges
On August 16, 2013, in Denver, Colo., Elder Geovany Sabillon-Umana was sentenced to 96 months in prison and five years of supervised release. Umana pleaded guilty on October 23, 2012 to conspiracy to distribute heroin and cocaine, and money laundering. Four additional defendants have been sentenced in this investigation to terms ranging from 192 months to 48 months in prison. According to the plea agreement, investigators from the Front Range Task Force conducted an investigation into the Jose Lopez-Luna, aka Gordo, drug trafficking organization (DTO) since approximately June 2011. The Gordo DTO is responsible for the distribution of multi-pound quantities of heroin and cocaine in the Denver metropolitan area. From July 2011 through April 2012, Umana distributed narcotics and assisted the Gordo DTO by arranging or providing the means of transportation of drugs, advising Jose Lopez-Luna in the narcotics business, preparing documents for DTO automobile registration and insurance, assisting with acquisition of mobile phones, smart phones and services, assisting with Jose Lopez-Luna's housing, offering to obtain a firearm for Jose Lopez-Luna, and sometimes sourcing the Gordo DTO with cocaine drug supplies obtained from another DTO. Searches conducted in April 2012 recovered several vehicles, drugs, cell phones, drug proceeds in the form of cash, and one firearm. Over the course of the investigation 2,101 grams of heroin, 2,383 grams of cocaine and 445 grams of methamphetamine were seized by law enforcement officers.
Cocaine Trafficker Responsible for Double Homicide Sentenced on Conspiracy Charges
On August 15, 2013, in Rochester, N.Y., Kevin Lamont Anderson was sentenced to life in prison and ordered to forfeit $1,000,000 to the United States, the proceeds of his drug trafficking conspiracy. Anderson was convicted of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of cocaine base and five kilograms or more of cocaine, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and maintaining a drug-involved premises. According to court documents, Anderson led a group of drug dealers which distributed crack and powder cocaine between 1990 and December 2005. During this time period, the conspirators primarily utilized houses in northeast Rochester controlled by Anderson to distribute their drugs. Between June 2003 and January 2005, Anderson paid over $467,000 in cash to construct and furnish a house in Holley, N.Y. While the purchase and construction money came from Anderson’s drug trafficking activities, Anderson had his grandmother, Juliet Anderson, purchase the Holley residence in her name in order to conceal where the funds originated. Juliet Anderson, who was previously convicted of participating in this money laundering conspiracy, forfeited the house in Holley and was sentenced to two years’ probation. Also as part of the sentencing proceeding, the Government proved that the defendant was responsible for the double homicide in May 2002.
Massachusetts Gang Leader Sentenced for Drug and Money Laundering Conspiracy
On August 15, 2013, in Boston, Mass., John Willis, of Dorchester, also known by his Chinese nickname “Bac Guai John”, was sentenced to 240 months in prison and was imposed a criminal forfeiture money judgment of $2 million. Willis pleaded guilty in March 2013 to conspiracy to distribute oxycodone and money laundering conspiracy. According to court documents, Willis, along with 12 others, was first charged in 2011 for leading an organization which spanned Massachusetts, Florida, New York, Rhode Island, South Carolina and elsewhere. The organization trafficked hundreds of thousands of oxycodone pills and generated over $4 million in proceeds. The investigation has resulted in the seizure of over $480,000 in cash, a 38-foot speed boat, numerous luxury vehicles, 13 firearms and approximately 12,000 oxycodone pills. Investigators also uncovered extensive evidence of illegal gambling and prostitution, as well as the use of extortionate threats to collect loans to gamblers and others.
Couple Sentenced on Oxycodone Distribution and Money Laundering Charges
On August 14, 2013, in Beckley, W.Va., Christopher Brooks, of Glen Fork, Wyoming County, was sentenced to 120 months in prison for conspiracy to distribute oxycodone and money laundering charges. Brooks’ co-defendant and wife Jennifer Brooks, also of Glen Fork, was sentenced to 84 months in prison. Both defendants previously pleaded guilty in February 2013. According to court documents, from at least March 2010 until April 27, 2012, the Brooks received packages by mail containing oxycodone from a known individual located in Tampa, Fla. They received at least 130 express mail packages containing approximately 17,000 30-milligram oxycodone tablets between October 15, 2010 and April 27, 2012. The Brooks deposited at least $300,000 cash into bank accounts that were owned and controlled by a known individual in exchange for the oxycodone tablets.
Leader of Drug and Money Laundering Organization Sentenced
On August 14, 2013, in Laredo, Texas, Pedro Navarro Jr. was sentenced to 364 months in prison. According to court documents, Navarro was the leader of a large scale drug trafficking and money laundering organization operating out of the Zapata area from approximately 2006 through 2011. In addition to Navarro, sixteen members of a drug trafficking and money laundering operation were sentenced to terms between 240 months and 33 months in prison. These co-conspirators were responsible for transporting drugs and/or large amounts of cash which represented the proceeds of drug sales for Navarro. The drugs would typically be smuggled into the United States in small boats, which crossed Falcon Lake at night from Mexico into Zapata. The boats then docked at a house maintained by Navarro on the shores of Falcon Lake where the drugs were unloaded and stored before being transported. Navarro and his co-conspirators would then transport these drugs from Zapata to other parts of Texas and beyond, including South Florida. Over the course of the conspiracy, evidence showed the members were responsible for generating proceeds of at least $18 million
Nebraska Individuals Sentenced in Major Drug Conspiracy and Money Laundering Ring
On August 12, 2013, in Omaha, Neb., Jose Flores Garcia and Jorge Luis Flores Contreras were sentenced for conspiracy to distribute illegal drugs and money laundering. Flores Garcia was sentenced to 210 months in prison and five years of supervised release. Flores Contreras was sentenced to 108 months in prison and five years of supervised release. According to court documents, from as early as April 14, 2011, and continuing to about July 16, 2012, in Nebraska and elsewhere, the defendants intentionally conspired with others to possess with intent to distribute a controlled narcotic substance. During this same time, the defendants sold motor vehicles in exchange for United States currency, knowing that the transactions were designed to conceal and disguise the source, ownership, and control of the fact that the proceeds from the sale came from unlawful activities. Another defendant, Rosalina Gonzalez, of Omaha, was sentenced on June 3, 2013 to 135 months in prison and five years of supervised release for conspiracy to distribute illegal drugs and money laundering.
Drug Dealer Sentenced for Cocaine Distribution and Money Laundering Conspiracy
On July 30, 2013, in Macon, Ga., Deldrick D. Jackson was sentenced to 130 months in prison and four years of supervised release. According to court documents, Jackson admitted that he was involved in a conspiracy to distribute more than 5 kilograms, but less than 15 kilograms of cocaine, to a drug dealer in the Macon, Georgia area. Jackson used a courier to deliver the kilograms of cocaine to Macon. The courier would accept the payments for the illegal drugs on behalf of Jackson and then return the money to him. Jackson also admitted to participating in a money laundering conspiracy which was a result of him receiving the proceeds from illegal drug sales and then using the proceeds to purchase additional cocaine to continue his unlawful drug distribution enterprise.
Businesswoman Sentenced for Participation in a Drug Conspiracy and Money Laundering
On July 22, 2013, in New Bern, N.C., Cynthia Marquez, of Grifton, N.C., was sentenced to 120 months in prison and five years of supervised release. Marquez pleaded guilty on October 24, 2011 to conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute five kilograms of cocaine and money laundering. According to court documents, Marquez distributed approximately 67 kilograms of cocaine from 2010 through January 18, 2012. Marquez laundered drug proceeds through her businesses including Joyeria Perez Jewelry Incorporated in Greenville and her real estate business. Marquez previously agreed to forfeit over $146,000 in U.S. currency and 18 pieces of real property. Additionally, Marquez previously entered into agreements to settle a state-level drug tax lien of approximately $100,000 and forfeit a Hummer motor vehicle.
Georgia Drug Distributor Sentenced
On July 19, 2013, in Atlanta, Ga., Glenn A. Cook was sentenced to 121 months in prison and five years of supervised release for conspiracy to possess and distribute cocaine, money laundering, and possession of a firearm during a drug offense. According to court documents, Cook is the last of five defendants to be sentenced in this case, which arose from an investigation of regional cocaine distributors in Georgia that took place from October 2010 through January 2011. Cook and co-defendant Vincent Lamar Hall served as the two main sources of cocaine for another defendant, T’Michael Djuan Jones. Together, Cook and Hall distributed a total of 676 kilograms of cocaine to Jones and others. Jones in turn distributed cocaine to co-defendants Phillip La Shawn Massey and Anthony Gasque as well as others in the Macon and Brunswick areas. Hall was sentenced on October 11, 2012 to 151 months in prison. Jones was sentenced on August 6, 2012 to 147 months in prison. Massey and Gasque were sentenced to 123 months and 66 months in prison, respectively.
North Carolina Woman Sentenced for Role in Drug and Money Laundering Conspiracy
On July 18, 2013, in Raleigh, N.C., Claudette Petrina Griffin was sentenced to 42 months in prison and three years of supervised release for her participation in a cocaine distribution and money laundering conspiracy. According to court documents, Griffin conspired with Thomas Alston to deliver more than 500 grams of cocaine. In 2007, while Alston was on house arrest for a state drug conviction, and in 2009, while Alston was serving a state prison sentence, Alston paid Griffin to make multiple deliveries of cocaine. Griffin also conspired with Alston to use her name as the owner and purchaser of a 2006 Mercedes in order to conceal the true ownership of the vehicle and the illegal source of the currency paid to purchase the vehicle. Alston was sentenced on February 8, 2012, to 324 months in prison and five years of supervised release for his role in the conspiracy.
West Virginia Pill Dealer Sentenced for Oxycodone Distribution and Money Laundering
On July 17, 2013, in Charleston, W.Va., Keith Keiffer, of Calvin, W.Va., was sentenced to 48 months in prison. Keiffer pleaded guilty in February 2013 to conspiracy to distribute oxycodone and conspiracy to commit money laundering. According to court documents, from at least August 31, 2011 until April 27, 2012, Keiffer received at least 15 express mail packages that contained a total of approximately 1,400 oxycodone tablets from an individual located in Tampa, Fla. In exchange for the oxycodone tablets, Keiffer deposited cash into bank accounts that were owned and controlled by his pill source supplier. Keiffer deposited at least $30,000 in cash payments in exchange for the oxycodone tablets. Additionally, between June 2011 and February 2012, Keiffer received several hand-delivered packages that contained a total of approximately 4,150 oxycodone tablets from an individual who made trips to West Virginia from Florida.
New Mexico Man Sentenced on Drug and Money Laundering Charges
On July 16, 2013, in Albuquerque, N.M., Homero Varela was sentenced to 135 months in prison, five years of supervised release and ordered to pay a $150,000 money judgment and forfeit his residence. Varela pleaded guilty on January 29, 2013, to conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, conspiracy to launder money and money laundering. In entering his guilty plea, Varela admitted using cellular telephones on a regular basis to facilitate the distribution of illegal drugs in and about Albuquerque and his money laundering activities. According to court documents, Varela and his co-defendants distributed cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana in New Mexico between May 2011 and January 2012 and participation in a money laundering conspiracy.
Arizona Man Sentenced on Drug and Money Laundering Charges
On July 8, 2013, in Phoenix, Ariz., Nadunt Chibeast, of Tempe, Ariz., was sentenced to 120 months in prison and five years of supervised release. Chibeast was convicted in April 2013 of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana and less than 500 grams of cocaine, and conspiracy to commit money laundering. According to evidence presented at trial, Chibeast assisted a drug trafficking organization by driving a suspected drug load, assisting with marijuana packaging and conspiring to launder money. Chibeast allowed the organization to direct its drug buyers to deposit money into his bank accounts in their home states and then he would transfer the money to the drug trafficking organization member's bank accounts or withdraw cash to physically provide it to other members.
Ohio Man Sentenced on Drug and Money Laundering Charges
On July 1, 2013, in Columbus, Ohio, James E. Johnston Jr. was sentenced to 72 months in prison, five years of supervised release and ordered to pay a $1,000 fine and to forfeit three real estate properties. Johnston pleaded guilty in December 2012 to one count of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute and to distribute 1,000 kilograms or more of marijuana and five kilograms or more of cocaine, and to one count of money laundering. According to court documents, between the mid-2000s and October 2008, Johnston was directly involved with a marijuana trafficking organization that used recreational vehicles, trailers, tractor trailers and rental vehicles to transport marijuana and bulk currency to and from Arizona and Ohio. In addition, between 2000 and 2008 Johnston used the proceeds and profits from the narcotics conspiracies to conduct numerous financial transactions in excess of $10,000, in which he invested in real estate and real estate renovations, and obtained loans from financial institutions in an effort to launder his narcotics proceeds and profits.
Woman Sentenced for Role in Drug Trafficking and Money Laundering Conspiracy
On June 26, 2013, in Anchorage, Alaska, Jennifer McGrath, of Sacramento, Calif., was sentenced to 38 months in prison for her role in a drug trafficking and money laundering conspiracy. According to court documents, between January 2009 and continuing through July 2010, McGrath was involved in a large scale drug trafficking conspiracy transporting oxycodone from California for later sale in Juneau, Alaska. As part of the conspiracy, McGrath made multiple airline trips from California to Juneau carrying the oxycodone pills on her person. McGrath distributed the pills to local dealers and collected the drug proceeds. McGrath either laundered the drug proceeds using commercial wire transfers or bodily carried drug proceeds back to California for members of the conspiracy. During the course of the conspiracy, McGrath transported approximately 1500 pills of oxycodone and laundered over $14,000 in drug proceeds.
Three Texas Residents Sentenced for Drug Trafficking
On June 20, 2013, in Corpus Christi, Texas, Ignacio Pena, Raul Leal Martinez, and David Pete Dominguez, all of Corpus Christi, were sentenced to prison for drug trafficking and money laundering. Pena was sentenced to 168 months in prison. Dominguez was sentenced to 120 months in prison. Last week, Martinez was sentenced to serve 85 months in prison. All three were ordered to serve five years of supervised release following completion of their prison terms. The indictment charged all of the defendants with conspiring from June 1, 2008 to January 8, 2013, to possess with intent to distribute more than 50 grams of methamphetamine. The investigation revealed that Manuel Pena, a member of and former leader in the Texas Syndicate prison gang, orchestrated various drug deals in the Corpus Christi area. Evidence proved that in May 2011 Manuel Pena made deals to provide cocaine and methamphetamine to others. Ignacio Pena, Manuel Pena’s brother, helped receive and deliver various amounts of cocaine and methamphetamine to various drug dealers in Corpus Christi. Martinez and another individual also pleaded guilty to conspiring to launder the proceeds of their drug sales through various financial transactions.
Drug Dealer Sentenced for Conspiracy to Distribute Oxycodone and Money Laundering
On June 12, 2013, in Greenville, Tenn., Qwindel Jerome Page, of Detroit, Mich., was sentenced to 240 months in prison. Page was convicted in November 2012 by a jury trial of conspiracy to distribute oxycodone, conspiracy to commit money laundering and possession of oxycodone with the intent to distribute. Evidence presented at trial showed that Page acquired oxycodone in Michigan and recruited individuals in Detroit to act as couriers to transport the illegal drugs to East Tennessee where the drugs would be resold. Page directed a group of individuals in Johnson City, Kingsport and Bristol, Tenn., who assisted him in selling oxycodone and wire transferring the proceeds back to Detroit. He also used buses, rental cars and commercial airlines to transport the drugs to Tennessee and money back to Detroit.
Owners of Drug Paraphernalia Stores Sentenced on Drug and Money Laundering Charges
On June 4, 2013, in Boise, Idaho, Robert T. Guerrero, Jr., and Jason Daniel Guerrero, both of Meridian, Idaho, were sentenced to 18 months and 15 months in prison, respectively, and three years of supervised release. On February 26, 2013, both men pleaded guilty to one count of offering drug paraphernalia for sale and one count of money laundering. According to court documents, the Guerrero brothers were co-owners and operators of RG Distributing, Inc., dba Smoke Shack and Smoke Shack 2. The Guerreros admitted to knowingly and intentionally offering drug paraphernalia for sale which were primarily intended and designed for illegal drug use. Additionally, the Guerreros manufactured and distributed controlled substance analogues, commonly referred to as “spice” or “potpourri.” The Guerreros admitted that they received profits in excess of $120,000, but less than $200,000, from a specified source of unlawful activity. On May 1, 2012, Jason Guerrero purchased diamond jewelry from an area jewelry store for $18,000 in cash. On May 8, 2012, Robert Guerrero purchased diamond jewelry for $22,000 in cash. The Guerreros admitted that the cash used to purchase the diamond jewelry was derived from the unlawful sale of drug paraphernalia.
Iowa Man Sentenced in Conspiracy to Distribute Marijuana
On June 3, 2013, in Council Bluffs, Iowa, Dennis Smith was sentenced to 84 months in prison and five years of supervised release. Smith pleaded guilty on February 13, 2013, to the charges of conspiring to distribute marijuana and money laundering. According to court documents, Smith and several individuals were part of a known drug trafficking group which imported and distributed marijuana. The group operated in the Omaha, Nebraska, and Council Bluffs, Iowa areas from May 2009 through March 2012. Four additional individuals have been sentenced in this investigation to terms ranging from 48 months to 36 months in prison.
Texas Money Launderer and Former Fugitive Sentenced
On May 23, 2013, in Corpus Christi, Texas, Leonel de La Torre, of Brownsville, Texas, was sentenced to 165 months in prison and three years supervised release. De La Torre was charged in an indictment in July 2006 and had been a fugitive until his capture earlier this year. De la Torre pleaded guilty on February 27, 2013, to conspiracy to launder funds generated by narcotics trafficking. According to court documents, De La Torre admitted he helped lead a group of individuals who transported cocaine from South Texas for distribution in Houston, as well as in Ohio and Michigan. He further acknowledged he helped lead the “laundering” of those funds generated by the cocaine business. The funds were moved through the banking system using both domestic and international means. The group invested in real estate to help conceal the illegal source of the funds.
Colorado Man Sentenced for Drug Conspiracy and Money Laundering
On May 10, 2013, in Anchorage, Alaska, Mario Gutierrez, of Northglenn, Colorado, was sentenced to 186 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Gutierrez previously pleaded guilty to an indictment charging him with one count of drug conspiracy and one count of money laundering. According to court records, between August 2009 and November 2011, Gutierrez sent methamphetamine from the Denver, Colorado, area to a co-conspirator located in Fairbanks. The co-conspirator would pay for the methamphetamine by depositing cash into Gutierrez’s Wells Fargo bank account at bank branches in Fairbanks, and Gutierrez would withdraw the money in Colorado. Between July 2009 and August 2010, $347,000 in cash had been deposited into Gutierrez’s Wells Fargo bank account at bank branches in Fairbanks. In October 2012, Gutierrez’ co-conspirator Jess Baird of Fairbanks was sentenced to 91 months prison and three years of supervised release for his role in the money laundering and drug trafficking conspiracy.
New York Doctor Sentenced for Illegal Distribution of Oxycodone and Tax Evasion
On May 9, 2013 in Central Islip, N.Y., Frank Telang, a Long Island doctor, was sentenced to 30 months in prison and ordered to forfeit $10,500. Telang previously pleaded guilty to illegally distributing oxycodone, outside the scope of his professional practice and not for any medical purpose, as well as income tax evasion. According to court documents, between April 13, 2011 and October 20, 2011, Telang sold prescriptions for oxycodone and other controlled substances without performing any medical examination to undercover DEA task force officers posing as patients. In addition, Telang failed to pay taxes on the cash he received for unlawfully providing the prescriptions.
Kentucky Man Sentenced for Drug, Firearm, and Money Laundering Offenses
On May 2, 2013, in Lexington, Ky., Marquis Deron Heard, of Lexington, Ky., was sentenced to 360 months in prison for distribution of cocaine, possession of a weapon by a convicted felon and 29 counts of money laundering. According to trial evidence, between 2008 and 2011, Heard was involved in trafficking large quantities of cocaine from a Mexican source into Lexington for distribution. Heard had distributed at least 45 kilograms of cocaine. In addition, Heard reinvested the proceeds of the drug transactions into the purchase of multiple vehicles and residences in both Lexington and Louisville, Ky. Heard was also found in possession of firearms at the time of his arrest.
Ohio Man Sentenced for Conspiring to Distribute Oxycodone and Money Laundering
On April 29, 2013, in Cincinnati, Ohio, Kevin Huff, of Portsmouth, Ohio, was sentenced to 262 months in prison and ordered to forfeit six properties in Ohio, three vehicles, three ATV’s, a boat, $20,000 in currency, and the contents of two bank accounts totaling approximately $118,875. Huff, owner of Primary Health Care clinic, pleaded guilty on June 27, 2012 to one count of unlawfully conspiring to distribute oxycodone and one count of money laundering. According to court documents, Primary Health Care charged each “patient” $200 in cash in return for prescriptions for Oxycodone and other narcotics without the benefit of a legitimate medical examination by a physician. Huff received between $5,000 and $8,000 in U.S. currency three times a month for his share of the clinic's proceeds. In 2009, Huff received approximately $245,000 in U.S. currency from the operation of the clinic. Huff did not deposit this cash into a bank. Instead he used the money to pay day-to-day expenses, purchase assets, and take vacations. According to court documents, Huff also used $40,000 in drug proceeds to pay for a house in Lucasville, Ohio and concealed the purchase of the house by deeding the house in the name of another individual. The proceeds generated from the operation of Primary Health Care clinic represented the proceeds of illegal narcotics trafficking.
Defendants Sentenced in Nationwide Oxycodone Trafficking Ring
On April 29, 2013, in Portland, Ore., Kingsley Iyare Osemwengie, of Las Vegas, Nev., was sentenced to 210 months in prison. Osemwengie pleaded guilty in December 2012 to a three-count indictment charging him with conspiracy to distribute oxycodone, conspiracy to launder drug proceeds, and conspiracy to violate the travel act. Osemwengie played a pivotal role in an oxycodone distribution ring that involved drug trafficking and money laundering activity in Massachusetts, Nevada, Texas, Florida, Georgia, Utah, Colorado, New York, Washington, Alaska, Pennsylvania and Oregon, between January 2008 and until his arrest in March 2011. While on supervised release for two prior federal felonies involving fraud, Osemwengie, operating from Las Vegas, Nevada, and Temitope Badamosi, a Nigerian citizen living in Milwaukie, Oregon, arranged for tens of thousands of oxycodone pills to be distributed to customers all over the United States. Over 10,000 oxycodone pills and 1,900 counterfeit oxycodone pills were seized by investigators in this case. Osemwengie, Badamosi, and other conspirators netted millions of dollars of drug proceeds that allowed them to live luxurious lifestyles. Between January 2008 and October 2010, cash deposits totaling $1,218,000 were made into six bank accounts controlled by Osemwengie. He created several shell companies to disguise the source of his income. Investigators seized and forfeited jewelry, along with over $133,000 in cash, bank accounts totaling over $100,000, six handguns, and nine vehicles. The dollar value of the forfeited assets exceeded $600,000. Badamosi was sentenced to 87 months in prison. Fourteen other defendants associated with this case have previously been sentenced with terms ranging from 27 months to 48 months in prison.
Man Sentenced on Conspiracy to Distribute Oxycodone and Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering
On April 17, 2013, in Concord, N.H., Basil O. Proctor, of Miramar, Fla., was sentenced to 60 months in prison. Proctor pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute oxycodone and one count of conspiracy to launder monetary instruments. According to court documents, in September 2008, Proctor admitted that he transported oxycodone from Florida to Massachusetts and New Hampshire for distribution. Proctor instructed co-conspirators to deposit drug money into nominee accounts in order to hide the illegal drug profits.
Rhode Island Man Sentenced for Conspiracy to Import and Distribute Prescription Drugs and Anabolic Steroids
On April 9, 2013, in Providence, R.I., Edmond Paolucci, of Covertry, R.I., was sentenced to 33 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Paolucci pleaded guilty on November 28, 2012 to one count each of conspiracy to distribute steroids, possession with the intent to distribute steroids, distribution of a misbranded drug, and two counts of money laundering. According to court documents, from at least November 2009 until November 2011, Paolucci served as a U.S. confederate of an Israeli-based, international drug distribution ring that was also responsible for the manufacture and sale of prescription drugs, including drugs bearing the underground brand names Sciroxx and Xsorox in the United States and elsewhere. Through his co-conspirators in Rhode Island, Paolucci used an underground laboratory to repackage the drugs into retail-size pill packets and 10 ml vials, bearing Sciroxx and Xsorox labels that he then shipped to customers in the United States who had made purchases on websites operated by Paolucci and his Israeli co-conspirators. From February 2009 to September 2011, Paolucci transferred in excess of $76,000 in proceeds from steroids and prescription drug sales to individuals in Israel.
Cocaine Dealer Sentenced on Drug and Money Laundering Charges
On March 15, 2013, in Pittsburgh, Pa., Dwayne Thompson, of Fontana, Calif., was sentenced to 292 months in prison and five years of supervised release on his conviction of federal drug and money laundering charges. According to information presented to the court, from 2001 and continuing until July 2007, Thompson was responsible for distributing more than 500 kilograms of cocaine in Detroit, Michigan; Indianapolis, Indiana; Atlanta, Georgia; and in the Pittsburgh region. The organization was referred to locally as the "Cali Connect" because a number of its member came from California. Thompson used his drug proceeds to purchase high-end luxury automobiles, a failed night club venture and a speed boat with an estimated value of $225,000. Thompson's boat and cars have been forfeited to the government.
Four Co-Conspirators Sentenced in Idaho Drug Case
On March 8, 2013, in Pocatello, Idaho, four co-conspirators were sentenced for their roles in a large-scale methamphetamine trafficking organization. Antonio Javier Mendoza, of Shelley, Idaho, was sentenced to 96 months in prison, five years of supervised release and ordered to pay a $1,000 fine. Fabiola Esmerelda Marin Castro, a Mexican national formerly living in Rexburg, Idaho, was sentenced to 36 months in prison, fined $300 and ordered to forfeit $83,575 and two vehicles. Daniel Quiroz, a Mexican national formerly residing in Rexburg, was sentenced to 78 months in prison and five years of supervised release. Quiroz will be subject to deportation following his release from prison. Abel Garcia, of Idaho Falls, Idaho, was sentenced to one month in prison, two years of supervised release and fined $750. According to the plea agreements, from June 2005 through January 2012, these individuals and others entered into a conspiracy to possess and distribute in excess of 50 grams of actual methamphetamine in the Idaho Falls area. In addition to distributing methamphetamine, several defendants laundered proceeds from the sale of the methamphetamine, and made false loan application to local banks to further the laundering of money. During the course of the conspiracy, the defendants obtained in excess of $500,000 from the distribution of methamphetamine. Nine other defendants have pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing. One defendant is a fugitive.
Man Sentenced for Narcotics and Money Laundering Conspiracies
On March 6, 2013, in Waco, Texas, Eliseo Montes, Jr. was sentenced to 240 months in prison, five years of supervised release and fined $2,000. On December 20, 2012, Montes was convicted of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute at least 1,000 kilograms of marijuana and conspiracy to commit money laundering. According to court documents, beginning in October 2004, Montes and others began to acquire quantities of controlled substances for distribution. Once the controlled substances were sold and the currency collected, Montes, and other members of the organization, used the banking system or the bulk transportation of currency to transfer the currency. The proceeds were used to further the ongoing illegal activity and purchase assets, some of which were placed in nominee names to conceal their true ownership.
Marijuana Distributor Sentenced on Drug and Money Laundering Charges
On January 24, 2013, in Greenbelt, Md., Adam Constantinides was sentenced to 70 months in prison and four years of supervised release. Constantinides pleaded guilty in April 2012 to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 100 kilograms or more of marijuana and conspiracy to commit money laundering. According to court documents, from approximately 2001 and continuing until about June 2009, Constantinides served as a mid-level dealer and distributor of marijuana. Constantinides and his co-conspirators obtained and transported large quantities of marijuana grown in Canada and northern California to warehouses in Maryland. The co-conspirators arranged to transport marijuana and bulk currency payments by aircraft, tractor-trailers, commercial carrier, trains and other vehicles, including at least one vehicle containing a trap device to secrete items for transport. To help hide his activities, he and his co-conspirators used multiple cell phones and false identities to conceal the activities and the proceeds from law enforcement.
San Diego Man Sentenced for Money Laundering and Other Charges
On January 24, 2013, in San Diego, Calif., Joshua John Hester, of San Diego, Calif., was sentenced to 100 months in prison for conspiracy to launder money, conspiracy to maintain drug-related premises and other charges. According to court documents, Hester admitted that he was the silent owner of two marijuana dispensaries where he made millions of dollars in the retail sale of marijuana. Hester originally used a supplier to distribute over 1,000 kilograms of high-quality marijuana and laundered millions of dollars of profits. When his supplier was arrested, Hester opened dispensaries and started selling and manufacturing his own marijuana and purchased bulk quantity from others. Hester also admitted that he laundered over $2 million in connection with the purchase of a residence in Rancho Santa Fe, California, where he also manufactured marijuana. Hester also agreed to forfeit over $575,000 in assets, including cash, vehicles, and jewelry.
Ohio Man Sentenced for Drug, Money Laundering and Other Federal Charges
On January 24, 2013 in Dayton, Ohio, Charles D. Warren was sentenced to 156 months in prison for crimes including conspiracy to distribute marijuana, conspiracy to launder money, illegally structuring financial transactions, and interstate travel in furtherance of a drug conspiracy. According to court documents, Warren and others trafficked more than 100 kilograms of marijuana from suppliers in California to the Dayton area between 2009 and 2011. IRS investigators determined that the conspirators used several different methods of laundering approximately $1,100,000 of drug proceeds including depositing the cash using other people’s names in order to avoid currency reporting requirements.
California Man Sentenced on Drug Charges and Structuring Financial Transactions
On January 23, 2013, in Sacramento, Calif., Charles Miller Hilkey Jr., of the Nevada City area, was sentenced 49 months in prison and ordered to forfeit 25 different pieces of property in Oregon and California worth more than $2.4 million. Hilkey pleaded guilty on February 21, 2012 in connection with the cultivation of marijuana and structuring cash transactions to avoid reporting requirements. According to court documents, Hilkey and others were involved in a four-year conspiracy to cultivate and sell marijuana. Between 2006 and 2009, Hilkey structured more than $850,000 in cash deposits with the intent of evading reporting requirements. He admitted that the funds he structured either were proceeds of marijuana cultivation or were intended to promote marijuana cultivation. By 2009, Hilkey was the organizer of a well-concealed and well-funded marijuana operation. He had several marijuana grow sites under his control, he used straw owners to separate himself from a number of those grows, and he regularly used underlings to sell his marijuana, bringing in tens-of-thousands of dollars with each sale. In September 2009, investigators seized evidence of more than 200 marijuana plants, several pounds of processed marijuana, marijuana growing equipment, a firearm and ammunition, and more than $143,000 in cash on properties controlled by Hilkey.
Leader of Street Gang Sentenced on Federal Charges
On January 14, 2013, in Los Angeles, Calif., Santiago Rios, aka “Chico,” was sentenced to 235 months in prison. Rios was the lead defendant in a federal racketeering indictment that targeted the Azusa 13 criminal enterprise. In June 2011, a federal grand jury returned a 24-count indictment that charged 51 defendants with a host of crimes, including conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act and conspiracy to violate the civil rights of African-Americans. Rios, who was the leader of the gang in 2008 and 2009, pleaded guilty in May 2012 to both conspiracy charges. Six of the defendants named in the indictment, including Rios, pleaded guilty to the civil rights conspiracy, which alleged a series of incidents in which African-Americans were harassed through racist graffiti and subjected to attacks that included beatings and robberies. In addition, the indictment alleges a long-running conspiracy to distribute narcotics, specifically heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine. As part of its narcotics operation, the gang extorted payments from street-level drug dealers in exchange for authorization to conduct business in Azusa 13 territory. Rios admitted that the Azusa 13 gang controlled the drug trafficking activity that occurred within the City of Azusa. Members of the Azusa 13 gang would permit narcotics traffickers to distribute narcotics in exchange for a percentage of any narcotics proceeds that were generated in the gang’s territory. These payments of drug proceeds – known as “rent” or “tax” – were funneled to members of the Mexican Mafia who exerted control over the gang.
Oklahoma Man Sentenced for Drug Trafficking and Money Laundering
On January 10, 2013, in Oklahoma City, Okla., Ronald Knighton was sentenced to 96 months in prison, four years of supervised release for conspiracy to distribute marijuana and cocaine and money laundering. According to court documents, from March 2011 through June 2012, Knighton and others conspired to distribute marijuana and cocaine throughout Oklahoma City. Knighton would deposit the cash from the drug sales in the names of co-conspirators, who would withdraw or transfer the money to another bank.
Texas Man Sentenced for Drug Trafficking and Money Laundering
On January 7, 2013, in Pittsburgh, Pa., Vincent D. Middlebrooks, of Houston, Texas, was sentenced to 240 months in prison and five years of supervised release for violating federal narcotics and money laundering laws. According to information presented to the court, from December 4, 2009, and continuing to September 29, 2011, Middlebrooks conspired with others to distribute and possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine. During the same time period, Middlebrooks conspired with others to launder money.
Leader of Nevada–Alaska Oxycodone Ring Sentenced on Drug and Money Laundering Charges
On January 3, 2013, in Las Vegas, Nev., Nicholas Ghafouria was sentenced to 180 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to forfeit $1.2 million in cash and property. Ghafouria pleaded guilty on October 12, 2012 to conspiracy, drug and money laundering charges. According to court documents, between May 2009 and October 2010, Ghafouria organized and led a group of individuals who distributed over 4,000 oxycodone pills in Alaska and laundered at least $1.2 million in cash proceeds. Ghafouria and his co-conspirators used various ways to get the drugs to Alaska, including sending them in packages and transporting them on airplane flights. Ghafouria sold the pills for approximately $65 each in Alaska. Co-conspirators in Alaska either provided money directly to couriers who delivered it to Ghafouria in Las Vegas, or they deposited money into bank accounts in Alaska which was withdrawn in Las Vegas by individuals under Ghafouria’s direction.
Oregon Man Sentenced on Drug and Money Laundering Charges
On December 12, 2012, in Portland, Ore., Olubenga Temitope Badamosi, aka Rashaad, was sentenced to 87 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Badamosi pleaded guilty in April 2012 to charges of conspiracy to distribute oxycodone and conspiracy to launder drug proceeds. In March 2011, Badamosi was indicted as part of a multi-state oxycodone trafficking organization. According to the indictment, from 2008 until March 2011, various defendants in the conspiracy distributed oxycodone, laundered drug proceeds, and traveled in interstate commerce in furtherance of the drug trafficking conspiracy. The indictment further states that the organization laundered in excess of $1.7 million dollars through various bank accounts in Florida, Nevada, Oregon, and New York.
Drug Trafficker Sentenced on Drug and Money Laundering Charges
On December 11, 2012, in Atlanta, Ga., Jason Barbour, of Manhattan Beach, California, was sentenced to 136 months in prison and five years of supervised release. Barbour was convicted on October 6, 2011, upon his plea of guilty for conspiring to distribute marijuana and cocaine and conspiring to launder money. According to court documents, Barbour was a member of a conspiracy that obtained high-grade marijuana from sources in Canada and arranged for the transportation of those drugs to the Pacific Northwest. From there, Barbour and members of his conspiracy would transport the drugs via private airplane to cities throughout the United States, including Atlanta. Money that was generated from the marijuana sales was used to purchase cocaine in Los Angeles, California, for ultimate sale to the marijuana suppliers in Canada.
Marijuana Distributor Sentenced on Drug Charges
On December 10, 2012, in Greenbelt, Md., Anthony Marcantoni, of Baltimore, Md., was sentenced to 121 months in prison, eight years of supervised release and ordered to pay $500,000 in restitution for conspiracy to possess and distribute marijuana. According to court documents, from 2006 to 2011, Marcantoni was a dealer and distributor of marijuana. He admitted to distributing between 700 and 1000 kilos of marijuana. To help his drug trafficking enterprise, Marcantoni received deliveries from co-conspirators at locations in Baltimore. After he sold the marijuana, he provided the proceeds, sometimes as much as $100,000, to his co-conspirators. To help hide his activities, he and his co-conspirators used multiple cell phones and false identities to conceal the activities and the proceeds from law enforcement. Marcantoni had ten co-conspirators, eight have pleaded guilty and two were convicted at trial. Two have been sentenced and the others are awaiting sentencing.
Minnesota Man Sentenced for Leading Large Drug Trafficking Operation
On November 26, 2012, in Minneapolis, Minn., Jesus “Jesse” Mendoza was sentenced to 252 months in prison for his role as the leader of an organization that distributed large quantities of cocaine and marijuana in Minnesota between 2005 and October 2010. Mendoza pleaded guilty on July 28, 2011 to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute five or more kilograms of cocaine and 100 or more kilograms of marijuana, as well as one count of aiding and abetting money laundering. In his plea agreement, Mendoza admitted that from January 2005 through October 2010 he led a drug-trafficking organization that moved controlled substances from other states, including California, and distributed them throughout Minnesota. In addition, Mendoza admitted concealing the nature of his assets because they were derived from the sale of controlled substances. On December 28, 2006, Mendoza admitted he owned a St. Paul property, but made it appear that another co-conspirator purchased it. Both wanted to conceal their assets and the fact the funds used were proceeds from the sale of controlled substances. The property was often used to store controlled substances prior to distribution.
Owner of Virginia Pain Clinic Sentenced for Drug Trafficking and Other Charges
On November 9, 2012, in Alexandria, Va., Paul Boccone, the owner and president of Chantilly Specialists, was sentenced to 180 months in prison and three years of supervised release for turning his Chantilly, Virginia based pain clinic into a haven for drug addicts. Boccone was convicted on August 3, 2012, of conspiring to distribute and distributing oxycodone, healthcare fraud and payroll tax evasion. According to court documents, Boccone serviced thousands of customers traveling hundreds of miles to illegally obtain large amounts of oxycodone and other prescription pain medicine.
Tennessee Man Sentenced on Drug and Money Laundering Conspiracy Charges
On November 7, 2012, in Greeneville, Tenn., Tracy Haney of Greeneville was sentenced to 121 months in prison for money laundering and distribution of large quantities of oxycodone in the Eastern District of Tennessee. According to court documents, Haney participated in a large number of organized trips to various pain clinics with other co-conspirators to obtain more than 4,100 oxycodone pills. The pills were transported back to the Greeneville area and sold. Haney also rented a car that was used by co-defendants Frankie Crum and Billy Taylor to drive to Memphis, Tenn., and pick up over 140 pounds of marijuana. Taylor was previously sentenced to serve 144 months in prison for his role in the conspiracy. Crum awaits sentencing.
Leader of Large South Carolina Drug Conspiracy Sentenced for Distributing Cocaine and Crack Cocaine
On November 6, 2012, in Columbia, S.C., Antonio Dupree Williams of Batesburg, was sentenced to 292 months and 10 years of supervised release on drug conspiracy, firearm and money laundering charges. Evidence presented at the change of plea hearings established that Williams ran a large-scale cocaine and crack cocaine conspiracy in the Batesburg-Leesville area of Lexington County in South Carolina. Williams typically purchased 1-5 kilograms of cocaine at a time, some of which was converted into crack cocaine. On September 12, 2012, James Lewis Williams, of Batesburg, was sentenced to life imprisonment for his participation in the same conspiracy.
Four Sentenced on Drug Charges
On November 5, 2012, in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho, Robert Wayne Baucum, of Scio, Oregon, was sentenced to 70 months in prison; Charles Albert Goodenough, of Houston, Alaska, was sentenced to 37 months; and Ronald Clifford Underwood, of Albany, Oregon, was sentenced to 34 months. The three defendants were also ordered to serve five years of supervised release. On November 6, 2012, Raymond Earl Hogle, of Albany, Oregon, was sentenced to 21 months in prison and three years of supervised release. The four men were sentenced for conspiracy to manufacture and possess with intent to distribute marijuana. According to statements made during the plea hearing, between 2004 and 2011, the four men conspired to grow marijuana, some of which was grown in barns on property owned by Baucum in Naples, Idaho. The conspiracy involved at least 1,000 marijuana plants. During the investigation, law enforcement officers seized marijuana, marijuana growing equipment, vehicles, over $50,000 in currency and precious metals, and over $1 million in real estate.
Guam Resident Sentenced on Drug and Money Laundering Charges
On October 30, 2012, in Agana, Guam, Gina Fresnoza Medina was sentenced to 324 months in prison and five years of supervised release. Medina pleaded guilty plea to money laundering, conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine hydrochloride ("ice"), and conspiracy to import methamphetamine hydrochloride. According to the plea agreement, since 2004, Medina had been importing methamphetamine hydrochloride from the Philippines and distributing it in Guam. Medina would purchase the ice in the Philippines and have others carry it into Guam, as well as smuggling it in herself. In July 2007, Medina moved to the Philippines and continued to direct her drug trafficking organization until August 2009 when she returned to Guam. Between September 2007 through March 2010, Medina caused several individuals to wire money which she had acquired through drug trafficking, with the intent of concealing and disguising the nature, source, ownership and control of the funds.
Leader of Pill Ring Sentenced on Drug and Money Laundering Charges
On October 22, 2012, in Wheeling, W.Va., David Kidd, II, of Martins Ferry, Ohio, was sentenced to 262 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to forfeit $66,718 and personal possessions including vehicles, computers and a gun. Kidd pleaded guilty on May 24, 2012 to conspiracy to distribute oxycodone and cocaine and conspiracy to launder monetary instruments. According to court documents, Kidd admitted that he was involved in the distribution of up to 150,000 oxycodone pills that were obtained by him and his group via doctor shopping at pain clinics in Florida and South Carolina.
Former Airlines Employee Sentenced for Leading a Criminal Drug Enterprise
On October 16, 2012, in Brooklyn, N.Y., Victor Bourne, a Barbadian national, was sentenced to life in prison and ordered to pay a $5.1 million forfeiture judgment for his leadership of an international drug trafficking organization that smuggled cocaine from the Caribbean into the United States through John F. Kennedy International Airport. Bourne was convicted of narcotics trafficking offenses and money laundering following a month-long trial in October 2011. The investigation into Bourne's organization has resulted in 20 convictions, including 19 airline employees, the seizure of 13 kilograms of cocaine and 2,900 pounds of marijuana, and the forfeiture of $6.9 million. According to the evidence at trial, between 2000 and 2009, the Bourne Organization used corrupt employees of commercial airlines working at domestic and international ports of entry to smuggle illegal narcotics into the United States and throughout the Caribbean. Bourne paid dispatching crew chiefs at the airlines to assign crews of baggage handlers, who, in turn, were paid tens of thousands of dollars by the Bourne Organization to retrieve the cocaine from the flights upon arrival. The cocaine was hidden behind panels in the front and rear cargo holds, the ceiling and wing assemblies, and in an aircraft’s avionics and other vital equipment compartments. After removing the cocaine from these locations, the baggage handlers hid the drugs inside their coats and airline equipment bags to avoid detection by law enforcement and safely transport the drugs to Bourne. The Bourne Organization was responsible for importing over 150 kilograms of cocaine into the U.S. Bourne reaped millions of dollars in illegal cash proceeds from his illegal drug trafficking, and laundered his drug proceeds through businesses and real estate ventures in Brooklyn and Barbados.
Texas Man Sentenced in Drug and Money Laundering Conspiracy
On October 2, 2012, in Houston, Texas, Kevin Gobert was sentenced to 240 months in prison and five years of supervised release. Gobert pleaded guilty in April 2010 to conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute marijuana and cocaine and conspiracy to commit money laundering. According to court documents, from January 2003 to February 2010, Gobert operated a cocaine and marijuana organization out of the Houston area and trafficked cocaine and marijuana from Mexico into the United States. Relying on his co-defendants for the success of his enterprise, Gobert would coordinate the delivery of the drugs brought through the Houston area to be subsequently distributed throughout Houston, Atlanta, Birmingham and other areas. Gobert would occasionally pick up cocaine and marijuana himself, but would also pay others to pick up, transport and distribute cocaine and marijuana at his direction. He would also pay his co-defendants to collect, count and distribute drug proceeds derived from his drug trafficking. To facilitate his drug operation, Gobert rented residences in the Atlanta area to be used as stash houses to store his cocaine, marijuana and cash. At Gobert’s direction, others would deposit drug proceeds, in the form of cash, into a Bank of America bank account in the Atlanta area and have the money transferred into a bank account located in Laredo, Texas, with the intent of promoting Gobert’s drug activities. During the period of the conspiracy, the organization was responsible for distributing more than 800 kilograms of cocaine and more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana.