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.
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.