INFORMATION AWARENESS OFFICE
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DEA

Dateline DEA

DEA's Biweekly E-mail Informant

 

June 18, 2010

 

Top Stories from the Drug Enforcement Administration June 5 to June 18, 2010

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DEA-Led Operation Delivers Over 2,000 Arrests

 

DEA Acting Administrator Michele M. Leonhart joined Attorney General Eric Holder to announce the arrest of 2,266 individuals on narcotics-related charges in the United States and the seizure of more than 74 tons of illegal drugs as part of a 22-month multi-agency law enforcement investigation known as “Project Deliverance.”

 

In addition, “Project Deliverance” led to the seizure of $154 million, 1,262 pounds of methamphetamine, 2.5 tons of cocaine, 1,410 pounds of heroin, 69 tons of marijuana, 501 weapons, and 527 vehicles during the entire course of the operation.

 

Click Here to Read the DEA Press Release

 

 

OCDETF Strike Force Seizes $46 Million of Cocaine

 

DEA Caribbean Corridor Strike Force agents, working jointly with DEA New York Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) agents and U.S. Coast Guard personnel, arrested five suspected Honduran smugglers on June 4 and seized 66 bales of cocaine in San Juan, following an at-sea interdiction of the fishing vessel Two Brothers on May 24.

 

Click Here to Read the DEA Press Release

 

 

High Priority Target Indicted for Heroin Trafficking

 

The partnership between the Phoenix DEA and Mexican law enforcement led to the arrest and indictment of Carlos Ramon Castro-Rocha, a Consolidated Priority Organization Target. Castro-Rocha was arrested in Mexico on May 30 for violations of drug trafficking and importation laws.

 

The Castro-Rocha Drug Trafficking Organization used vehicles with hidden compartments to transport heroin to locations outside the Phoenix area.  Over 45 pounds of black-tar heroin, directly attributable to Castro-Rocha, was seized as part of Operation Black Pearl. 

 

Click Here to Read the DEA Press Release

 

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DID YOU KNOW?

 

Illegal heroin labs were first discovered near Marseilles, France in 1937. For years, the French underworld had been involved in the manufacturing and trafficking of illegal heroin abroad, primarily in the United States. This network eventually became known as the French Connection. To read more about the French Connection click here.

JUN 17 -- WASHINGTON - Pedro Antonio Bermudez, also known as “El Arquitecto,” was arraigned yesterday in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, N.Y., following his extradition on June 15, 2010, from Mexico to the United States on charges of participating in an international drug trafficking conspiracy, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Loretta E. Lynch of the Eastern District of New York, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Acting Administrator Michele M. Leonhart, and James T. Hayes, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations in New York (ICE).

News Release [print-friendly version]
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 17, 2010
Contact: Dawn Dearden
Number: 202-307-7977

Colombian Trafficker with Links to Mexican and Colombian Cartels Extradited from Mexico to the United States

JUN 17 -- WASHINGTON - Pedro Antonio Bermudez, also known as “El Arquitecto,” was arraigned yesterday in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, N.Y., following his extradition on June 15, 2010, from Mexico to the United States on charges of participating in an international drug trafficking conspiracy, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Loretta E. Lynch of the Eastern District of New York, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Acting Administrator Michele M. Leonhart, and James T. Hayes, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations in New York (ICE).

At his arraignment yesterday, Bermudez was ordered detained by U.S. Magistrate Judge Joan M. Azrack in the Eastern District of New York. Bermudez was arrested in Mexico City by Mexican law enforcement officials on Oct. 2, 2008, and was in custody in Mexico since the arrest and prior to his extradition to the United States.

The charges against Bermudez are contained in two separate indictments filed in the Eastern District of New York and the District of Columbia. The indictment filed in the Eastern District of New York charges Bermudez with working in Mexico as the intermediary for shipments of large quantities of cocaine sent by Luis Hernando Gomez Bustamante, one of the leaders of the Norte Valle Cartel, to various Mexican cartel leaders. As alleged in the indictment, from 1990 through 2007, Bustamante and his organization sent multi-ton shipments of cocaine from Colombia to Mexico by speed boats, fishing vessels, and other maritime conveyances and airplanes, for ultimate delivery to the United States. Between 1990 and the present, the Norte del Valle Cartel allegedly exported more than 1.2 million pounds - or 500 metric tons - of cocaine, worth in excess of $10 billion, from Colombia to the United States, the vast majority of which moved through Mexico. Bustamante pleaded guilty in the Eastern District of New York on June 26, 2008, and is awaiting sentence.

When the cocaine arrived in Mexico, Bermudez was allegedly responsible for insuring its delivery to the Mexican cartels, including the Juarez Cartel, headed by Vicente Carrillo Fuentes. Carrillo is currently a fugitive and is charged in the Eastern District of New York with drug trafficking. The Juarez Cartel, which operates in the Juarez-El Paso corridor, is one of the primary drug smuggling routes along the United States-Mexico border. The DEA estimates that approximately 70% of the cocaine which enters the United States through Mexico is transported through the Juarez-El Paso corridor. The State Department, under its Narcotics Rewards Program, has offered a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to the capture of Carrillo.

The indictment filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia charges Bermudez and co-defendant Andres Rodriguez-Fernandez with conspiring to manufacture and distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine knowing and intending that the cocaine will be imported into the United States between on or about 2001 and Sept. 25, 2008. The indictment also includes two substantive counts, charging the defendants with manufacturing and distributing five kilograms or more of cocaine knowing and intending that the cocaine will be imported into the United States on two separate occasions, March 31 and Sept. 24, 2007. The indictment also contains a forfeiture allegation.

On May 27, 2009, Bermudez was designated by the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) as a Specially Designated Narcotics Trafficker. The designation freezes Bermudez’s assets in the United States and prohibits him from engaging in any financial transactions with any U.S. company or individual. Earlier this month, the government of Colombia seized 194 assets belonging to Bermudez, valued at approximately $76 million, including apartment buildings, malls, aircraft, and ranches.

“The Department of Justice remains committed to working with our counterparts in Mexico to combat drug trafficking enterprises,” said Assistant Attorney General Breuer. “This extradition is an example of how our partnership with Mexican law enforcement can help us bring dangerous criminals to justice.”

“The extradition announced today is part of an ongoing international effort to stem the flow of illegal drugs across the U.S./Mexico border and into our communities,” stated United States Attorney Lynch. “The investigation and prosecution of drug traffickers is a priority of the Department of Justice and this Office. We will apply all available resources to win this battle.”

“Today’s extradition represents another significant success in severing the relationship between powerful Colombian traffickers and the violent Mexican Cartels,” said DEA Acting Administrator Leonhart. “Thanks to the relentless efforts of the U.S. law enforcement team and the critical assistance of our counterparts in Mexico and Colombia, ‘El Arquitecto’ is no longer a powerful intermediary for massive shipments of cocaine destined for our streets.”

For full story please visit us at www.DEA.gov.

JUN 25 - (LOS ANGELES) – Timothy J. Landrum, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Los Angeles Field Division and San Bernardino County Sheriff Rod Hoops announce the seizure of approximately 2750 pounds of cocaine, 67 pounds of methamphetamine and 38,000 pounds of marijuana following the traffic stop of a tractor-trailer in San Bernardino County, California.

 

News Release [print friendly page]
June 25, 2010
Contact: SA Sarah Pullen
Public Information Officer
Number: 213-621-6827

DEA, San Bernardino Sheriff's Department Seize
$45 Million of Illegal Drugs
More than 40,000 pounds of cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana are seized

Pallets in Trailor Seized in San Bernardino County. Drugs Seized in San Bernardino County.
Pallets in Trailor Seized in San Bernardino County.
Drugs Seized in San Bernardino County.

JUN 25 - (LOS ANGELES) – Timothy J. Landrum, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Los Angeles Field Division and San Bernardino County Sheriff Rod Hoops announce the seizure of approximately 2750 pounds of cocaine, 67 pounds of methamphetamine and 38,000 pounds of marijuana following the traffic stop of a tractor-trailer in San Bernardino County, California.

The tractor-trailer was carrying a shipment of cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana with an estimated street value of approximately $45 million dollars. The driver, Fernando Luevano, age 32, from Fontana, was arrested and booked at the Central Detention Center for Possession, Transportation and Sales of Narcotics. His bail is set at $5,000,000 and he is scheduled for arraignment on Friday, June 25, 2010 in Rancho Superior Court in San Bernardino, California.

“This was a brazen transportation of 40,000 pounds of drugs, more than 18 tons of drugs that could have ended up in neighborhoods throughout California,” said Timothy J. Landrum, DEA Special Agent in Charge. “This seizure will have a direct impact on the availability of these dangerous drugs in our communities.”

Sheriff Rod Hoops stated, “This is one of the largest seizures in the county and I will make every effort to continue this aggressive fight against drug traffickers entering San Bernardino County.”

On Wednesday, June 23, 2010 at approximately 11:00 a.m., the San Bernardino Sheriff’s High Intensity Criminal Interdiction Unit conducted a traffic stop on a tractor-trailer for a traffic violation while travelling eastbound on Interstate 10 in San Bernardino County. After making contact with the driver, Luevano, the deputy found that the paperwork for his load was not in order. Leuvano gave consent to search the vehicle and upon opening the trailer, the deputies noticed an overwhelming odor of marijuana. A further search of the trailer yielded 92 pallets containing thousands of heat sealed packages of illegal narcotics. Field testing of the packages yielded positive results for cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana.

The DEA Riverside Office and the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Narcotics Division are continuing this joint investigation.

JUN 29 -- (Newark) JOHN G. McCABE, JR., the Acting Special Agent-in-Charge of the New Jersey Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration ("DEA"), and PREET BHARARA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced charges against 18 defendants, in seven separate cases, for their alleged participation in an international money laundering conspiracy.

 

News Release [print-friendly version]

Dateline DEA

DEA's Biweekly E-mail Informant

 

July 2, 2010


Top Stories from the Drug Enforcement Administration June 19 to July 2, 2010

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18 Charged in Operation Targeting Colombian BMPE

 

As a result of an extensive undercover DEA investigation, dubbed “Operation Circling Vultures,” into the Colombian Black Market Peso Exchange (“BMPE"), charges were announced in New Jersey on June 29 against 18 defendants, in seven separate cases, for their alleged participation in an international money laundering conspiracy.

 

The BMPE serves as a means of laundering narcotics proceeds generated in the United States and ultimately returning them to Colombia.

 

Click Here to Read the DEA Press Release

 

 

Jamaican Drug Kingpin Extradited to New York

 

DEA Special Agents, along with the U.S. Marshals Service, transported Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke to New York on June 24, to face charges of conspiracy to distribute marijuana and cocaine and conspiracy to illegally traffic firearms.  

 

Since the early 1990s, Coke led an international criminal organization known as the "Shower Posse," with members in Jamaica, the United States, and other countries. The U.S. Department of Justice had Coke listed as a Consolidated Priority Organization Targets, which includes the world's most dangerous narcotics kingpins.

 

Click Here to Read the DEA Press Release

 

 

$45 Million of Illegal Drugs Seized in California

 

The DEA Riverside Office and San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Office seized approximately 2,750 pounds of cocaine, 67 pounds of methamphetamine and 38,000 pounds of marijuana with a street value of $45 million following the traffic stop of a tractor-trailer in San Bernardino County, California on June 23.

 

The driver, Fernando Luevano, age 32, from Fontana, CA, was arrested and booked at the central detention center for possession, transportation, and sales of narcotics.

 

Click Here to Read the DEA Press Release

 

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DID YOU KNOW?

 

Manuel A. Noriega had utilized his position as the Commander of the Panamanian Defense Forces and as the ruler of Panama to assist the Medellin Cartel in shipping cocaine; procuring precursor chemicals for the manufacture of cocaine; providing a safe haven for cartel members following the assassination of Colombian Minister of Justice Rodrigo Lara-Bonilla on April 30, 1984; and sponsoring the laundering of narco-proceeds in Panamanian banks. To read more about Noriega (page 14) click here.

JUL 09 -- SAN JUAN, PR – On July 7, 2010, a federal grand jury indicted one hundred and fifty-eight (158) individuals as a result of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD,). The announcement was made today by Javier F. Pena, the Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Caribbean Division and United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico, Rosa Emilia Rodríguez Vélez. The defendants are charged in three different indictments with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin, crack, cocaine and marijuana, and conspiracy to possess firearms during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime.

 

News Release [print friendly page]
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 09, 2010
Contact: SA Waldo Santiago
Public Information Officer
Number: (787) 277-4700

DEA Investigations End With 158 Individuals Indicted for Drug Trafficking in Puerto Rico
Biggest Federal Law Enforcement Operation Ever Conducted in this U.S. Territory
Forfeiture allegations for approximately $263 million

Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Guillermo Gil, U.S. Attorneys Office Strike Force Coordinator (center) discuss with high ranking PRPD Officers (left) and DEA Caribbean Division SAC Javier F. Pena (right) the operation.
Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Guillermo Gil, U.S. Attorney's Office Strike Force Coordinator (center) discuss with high ranking PRPD Officers (left) and DEA Caribbean Division SAC Javier F. Pena (right) the operation.

JUL 09 -- SAN JUAN, PR – On July 7, 2010, a federal grand jury indicted one hundred and fifty-eight (158) individuals as a result of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD,). The announcement was made today by Javier F. Pena, the Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Caribbean Division and United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico, Rosa Emilia Rodríguez Vélez. The defendants are charged in three different indictments with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin, crack, cocaine and marijuana, and conspiracy to possess firearms during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime.

The drug trafficking organizations were operating in the Kennedy, Del Carmen, Candelaria, Colombus Landing and Roosevelt Public Housing Projects in the municipality of Mayagüez, Puerto Rico. More than 500 agents from DEA and PRPD are executing these arrest warrants today in what has been the biggest federal law enforcement operation ever conducted in the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico, a U.S. Territory in the Lesser Antilles.

The 158 co-conspirators operated in many roles, in order to further the goals of their conspiracies, which included leaders, drug suppliers, supervisors, drug point owners, enforcers, runners, sellers, and facilitators. Most of these co-conspirators would hold more than one role within the conspiracies.

“This DEA massive operation rid the west coast of Puerto Rico of the most hard core and violent traffickers terrorizing this part of the Island” Said Javier F. Pena, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Caribbean Division “The people of Puerto Rico will be celebrating the XXI Central American and Caribbean Games in a week. More than 300,000 visitors from all over the island as well as many nations from the Caribbean and Central American region will come to Puerto Rico’s west coast for this international sports event. DEA efforts will help guarantee a safe environment for all to enjoy these games”

For full story please visit us at www.DEA.gov.

###

 

Dateline DEA

DEA's Biweekly E-mail Informant

 

July 16, 2010

 

Top Stories from the Drug Enforcement Administration July 3 to July 16, 2010

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Increase in Abuse of Prescription Drugs Up 400 Percent

 

Michelle M. Leonhart, DEA Acting Administrator joined Gil Kerlikowske, Director of National Drug Control Policy, and Peter Delany, Director of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Office of Applied Studies, released a new study that shows 400 percent increase in substance abuse treatment admissions for prescription pain relievers over the past decade.  

 

The study, Substance Abuse Treatment Admissions Involving Abuse of Pain Relievers: 1998-2008, revealed an increase in the percentage of admissions abusing pain relievers spanning every age, gender, race, ethnicity, education, employment level, and region. 

 

Click Here to Read the DEA Press Release

 

 

More than 150 Indicted for Drug Trafficking in Puerto Rico

 

On July 7, a federal grand jury indicted 158 individuals as a result of an investigation by DEA’s Caribbean Division and the Puerto Rico Police Department. The defendants are charged in three different indictments with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin, crack, cocaine, and marijuana, and conspiracy to possess firearms during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime.

 

Click Here to Read the DEA Press Release

 

 

DEA Intel Aids in Seizure of First Operational Narco Submarine

 

On July 2, Ecuadorian Anti-Narcotics Police Forces, acting on intelligence gathered by DEA, raided a secret jungle shipyard near the country’s border with Colombia and seized the first fully-operational submarine built for the primary purpose of transporting multi-ton quantities of cocaine.

 

The submarine was constructed in a remote jungle environment in an effort to elude law enforcement or military interdiction, but Ecuadorian authorities succeeded in seizing the vessel before it was able to make its maiden voyage.

 

Click Here to Read the DEA Press Release

 

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DID YOU KNOW?

 

Ten years ago this month, FBI most wanted fugitive Agustin Vasquez-Mendoza was arrested for the murder of an undercover DEA agent in Arizona that led to one of the most intense manhunts in recent U.S. and Mexican law enforcement history. To read more about the murder of DEA Special Agent Robert Fass and the capture of Vasquez-Mendoza (page 123 of the DEA History Book) click here.

JUL 16 -- PHILADELPHIA - An indictment 1 was unsealed today against Robert Snyder, Mark Williams, and James Venziale, all Philadelphia Police Officers assigned to the 25 th and 39 th Districts, as well as  Zachary Young, Angel Ortiz, Christal Snyder, and Miguel Santiago, charging them in a drug conspiracy case involving heroin and related offenses, announced Special Agent in Charge John J. Bryfonski.  According to the indictment, the defendants planned and executed a scheme to steal heroin from defendant Santiago and then distribute that heroin to another person whom the defendants believed to be a drug dealer and money launderer, but who was, in reality, an undercover Special Agent from the Drug Enforcement Administration.  Joining in today’s announcement were DEA Special Agent-in-Charge John Bryfonski, FBI Special Agent-in-Charge Janice K. Fedarcyk, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, and Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey.

 

News Release [printer friendly version]
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 16, 2010
Contact: DEA Special Agent Bryan Doherty
(215) 861-3436

News Release [printer friendly version]
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 16, 2010
Contact: DEA Special Agent Bryan Doherty
(215) 861-3436

Police Officers and Alleged Drug Dealers Charged in Drug Case

L-R Commissioner Ramsey, Deputy Mayor for Administration Richard Negrin, Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Everett Gillison, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, AUSA Catherine Stark (obstructed) SAC John J Bryfonski, Acting FBI SAC George Garcia and Acting United States Attorney Virginia Gibson (at podium).
L-R Commissioner Ramsey, Deputy Mayor for Administration Richard Negrin, Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Everett Gillison, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, AUSA Catherine Stark (obstructed) SAC John J Bryfonski, Acting FBI SAC George Garcia and Acting United States Attorney Virginia Gibson (at podium).

JUL 16 -- PHILADELPHIA - An indictment 1 was unsealed today against Robert Snyder, Mark Williams, and James Venziale, all Philadelphia Police Officers assigned to the 25 th and 39 th Districts, as well as  Zachary Young, Angel Ortiz, Christal Snyder, and Miguel Santiago, charging them in a drug conspiracy case involving heroin and related offenses, announced Special Agent in Charge John J. Bryfonski.  According to the indictment, the defendants planned and executed a scheme to steal heroin from defendant Santiago and then distribute that heroin to another person whom the defendants believed to be a drug dealer and money launderer, but who was, in reality, an undercover Special Agent from the Drug Enforcement Administration.  Joining in today’s announcement were DEA Special Agent-in-Charge John Bryfonski, FBI Special Agent-in-Charge Janice K. Fedarcyk, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, and Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey.

DEA SAC John J. Bryfonski stated “ THIS CASE ILLLUSTRATES THAT SUCH BETRAYAL IS NOT IMMUNE TO THE DEA, THE FBI; THE PHILADELPHIA POLICE DEPARTMENT AND THE US ATTORNEYS OFFICE WORKING TOGETHER TO PROTECT THE PUBLIC; TO ASSURE THE INTEGRITY OF ITS PUBLIC SERVANTS AND PREVENT DRUGS FROM DESTROYING MORE LIVES HERE IN THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA.”

According to the indictment, defendants Young and Ortiz were involved in the distribution of heroin, which they obtained on a periodic basis from defendant Santiago and other sources.  In mid-April, defendants Young and Ortiz began to develop a scheme to steal 300 grams of heroin from their supplier, Miguel Santiago.  The indictment further alleges that Philadelphia Police Officers Robert Snyder, Mark Williams, and James Venziale abused their authority as police officers and agreed to assist defendants Young and Ortiz in this scheme to steal heroin from Santiago.  The indictment alleges that defendants Young and Ortiz discussed with the Snyders, Williams, and Venziale various ways that they could use their positions as police officers to steal the heroin from Santiago.  The indictment details how defendants Robert Snyder, Williams, Young, and Ortiz,  implemented the plan after this discussion.  On May 14, 2010, immediately after Santiago’s drug courier delivered 300 grams of heroin to Ortiz, Officers Williams and Venziale  – who were on duty and in uniform – stopped defendant Ortiz’s vehicle while he was in possession of the 300 grams of heroin , which had just been supplied to him by Santiago’s courier.  With Santiago’s courier watching nearby, Officers Williams and Venziale made it appear as if they were seizing the heroin and arresting defendant Ortiz by handcuffing him outside the vehicle Ortiz had occupied.   According to the indictment, defendant Christal Snyder, Robert Snyder’s wife, facilitated the conspiracy by passing information, frequently via telephone or via text message, between defendants Ortiz and defendants Robert Snyder, Mark Williams and James Venziale. 

For full story please visit us at www.DEA.gov.

July 16 -- WASHINGTON - Today, Michele M. Leonhart, Acting Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Gil Kerlikowske, Director of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), and Thomas McLellan, Deputy Director of ONDCP, joined Peter Delany, Director of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMHSA) Office of Applied Studies to release a new study showing a 400 percent increase in substance abuse treatment admissions for prescription pain relievers. Governor Jack Markell of Delaware and Chris Kennedy Lawford were also in attendance.

 

 

News Release [print friendly page]
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: PIO Rusty Payne
Public Information Officer
Number: (202) 307-7977

New Data Reveal 400% Increase in Substance Abuse Treatment Admissions for People Abusing Prescription Drugs

July 16 -- WASHINGTON - Today, Michele M. Leonhart, Acting Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Gil Kerlikowske, Director of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), and Thomas McLellan, Deputy Director of ONDCP, joined Peter Delany, Director of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMHSA) Office of Applied Studies to release a new study showing a 400 percent increase in substance abuse treatment admissions for prescription pain relievers. Governor Jack Markell of Delaware and Chris Kennedy Lawford were also in attendance.

The study, Substance Abuse Treatment Admissions Involving Abuse of Pain Relievers 1998-2008, conducted by the SAMHSA, and based on the agency's Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) reveals a 400 percent increase between 1998 and 2008 of substance abuse treatment admissions for those aged 12 and over reporting abuse of prescription pain relievers. The increase in the percentage of admissions abusing pain relievers spans every age, gender, race, ethnicity, education, employment level, and region. The study also shows a more than tripling of pain reliever abuse among patients who needed treatment for opioid dependence.

"The data released today is alarming and shows the tremendous damage being caused by prescription drug abuse all across this country each and every day," said DEA Acting Administrator Michele M. Leonhart. "The effective enforcement of laws regulating the distribution of controlled substances, coupled with their lawful disposal are essential parts of a comprehensive strategy to reduce drug abuse. DEA is committed to being part of the solution, however it will take all of us working together to prevent the tragedies that inevitably come with drug abuse."

"The TEDS data released today highlights how serious a threat to public health we face from the abuse of prescription drugs", said Gil Kerlikowske, National Drug Policy Director. "The spikes in prescription drug abuse rates captured by this study are dramatic, pervasive, and deeply disturbing."

"The non-medical use of prescription pain relievers is now the second-most prevalent form of illicit drug use in the Nation, and it’s tragic consequences are seen in substance abuse treatment centers and hospital emergency departments throughout our Nation" said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde, J.D. "This public health threat demands that we follow the President's National Drug Control Strategy's call for an all-out effort to raise awareness of this risk and the critical importance of properly using, storing, and disposing of these powerful drugs."

"This rise in prescription drug abuse is no surprise to the doctors and law enforcement professionals who see its effects in our communities," said Governor Markell. "We have been focused on making sure that health care professionals have the best tools available to detect and prevent this kind of abuse before it ruins lives. Delaware's new legislation to authorize a prescription monitoring program is one of those tools and an important component of the President's National Drug Control Strategy."

"Our national prescription drug abuse problem cannot be ignored. I have worked in the treatment field for the last 35 years, and recent trends regarding the extent of prescription drug abuse are startling," said A. Thomas McLellan, Deputy Director of ONDCP. "We must work with prescribers, the pharmaceutical industry, law enforcement, and families to help us fight this scourge."

The National Drug Control Strategy, released in May, outlines several steps to address what Director Kerlikowske calls "the fastest-growing drug problem in the United States"--prescription drug abuse.

They include

* Increasing prescription drug return, take-back, and disposal programs. Prescription drugs that are commonly abused are often found in the family medicine cabinet, and individuals should get rid of unused or expired prescription drugs to prevent diversion and abuse.

* Educating physicians about opiate painkiller prescribing. The Administration's FY 2011 Budget request proposes funding for a program to train prescribers on how to instruct patients in the use and proper disposal of painkillers, to observe signs of dependence, and to use prescription drug monitoring programs to detect when an individual is going from doctor to doctor in search of prescriptions (also called "doctor shopping").

* Expanding prescription drug monitoring programs. Currently, these programs are operating in 34 states. The Administration supports establishment of these programs in every state, and is seeking to ensure new and existing monitoring programs effectively use the data they acquire and share information across state lines.

* Assisting states in addressing doctor shopping and pill mills. Criminal organizations have established thriving businesses of transporting people to states with little regulation to obtain prescription drugs from multiple doctors or from pill mills, which distribute drugs indiscriminately. Federal, state, local, and tribal authorities are working together to address this problem.

* Driving illegal Internet pharmacies out of business.

* Cracking down on rogue pain clinics that do not follow appropriate prescription practices.

The National Drug Control Strategy provides a blueprint for reducing prescription drug abuse. Parents, law enforcement, the medical community, and all levels of government have a role to play in reducing prescription drug abuse.

Later today, Director Kerlikowske will travel to Delaware to attend Governor Markell's bill signing for the Delaware Prescription Drug Monitoring Program.

Authorities seize $200,000 in narcotics in District
Washington Post

Armed with 46 arrest warrants, more than 200 police and drug enforcement officers rounded up hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of narcotics in a citywide drug bust Thursday.

Law enforcement officers also issued 21 search warrants, seized seven guns and confiscated more than $200,000 worth of narcotics, which included cocaine, PCP, marijuana and Oxycotin, said officials from the D.C. police and the federal Drug Enforcement Administration at a news conference at the Kennedy Recreation Center in Northwest Washington.

The operation targeted Trinidad and the area around Rosedale Street in Northeast and Seventh and O streets in Northwest, said D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier.

At least two of the arrests made Thursday are connected to recent shootings, Lanier said, adding that "significant progress" has been made in many of the investigations related to the bust.

"The arrests and the people we targeted are involved in drug distribution and much of the violence that surrounds that drug distribution," she said.

The bust, which involved about 240 officers, began about 5 a.m. Thursday and was expected to continue throughout the day.

33 Arrests in Prescription Drug Ring
WBEN-AM

Buffalo, NY -- Dubbed "Operation Pill Pusher" by the Drug Enforcement Agency, federal, state, and local law enforcers made 33 arrests Thursday in a first-of-its-kind investigation into the illegal distribution and sale of prescription medications.

The investigation started with Justin Doyle, 23, who is accused of dealing OxyContin pills from the Cheektowaga gas station at Union Road and William Street at which he worked.

That investigation leads to a larger distribution network, and the other arrests in the case. Michael McCall, who is alledged to have run the ring, was arrested under the drug kingpin law, and faces a minimum mandatory term of 20 years in prison if convicted.

"When used as directed by a doctor, prescritpion medications can be a benefit. But when they end up in the hands of the wrong people, they can be dangerous, even deadly," said US Attorney William Hochul in announcing the arrests.

Hochul says anyone with these pills in the medicine cabinet can unwittingly be a source for illegal distribution, and that families, doctors, and pharmacists have to be aware of the problem.

DEA Resident Agent in Charge Charles Tomaszewski acknowledged that illegally distributed prescription drugs are "the drug of choice for the younger generation," and that the problem has been growing over the last 4 or 5 years, and spreads from "Lockport to Orchard Park. "

"It is a very troubling development," said Hochul. "Many of us are parents. To think that our own mediacine cabinets could becomne the source for some of these problems is a terrible tragedy. The youth apparently don't understand that even though it has a prescription name on it, and that it comes in a nice bottle from the pharacy, there's death inside."

Pill investigation leads to 12 arrests
Times-Picayune

The culmination of a yearlong investigation, State Police have arrested 12 people -- most from Slidell -- and are searching for three others in connection with a St. Charles Parish-based prescription fraud scheme that operated throughout the metro area.

The individuals trafficked prescription drugs, fraudulently obtaining more than 70,000 pills, including methadone, oxycodone, alprazolam, hydrocodone, carisopridol and morphine sulphate, according to a recent release by State Police Troop B, based in Kenner.

The three individuals still at large are Jason Ness, 27, of 243 Avenue B, Westwego; Dwayne Knight, 34, of 744 Mystic Ave., Gretna; and Linda Martin, 54, of 30 Thomas School Road, Lumberton, Miss. The State Police are asking anyone with information on their whereabouts to contact local law enforcement agencies.

The 12 arrests occurred Tuesday and were part of a multiagency investigation conducted with the Drug Enforcement Administration, the St. Charles Parish Sheriff's Office and the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office.

John Cassisa, 39, Laura Cassisa, 24, and Christopher Klingbeil, 33, all of Slidell, are charged with conspiracy, producing fraudulent prescriptions and fraudulently verifying those prescriptions. They each also are charged with various counts of obtaining or conspiring to obtain controlled dangerous substances.

John Cassisa, of 405 Hickory Drive, was charged with 41 counts of obtaining controlled dangerous substances and 319 counts of conspiracy to obtain controlled dangerous substances. Laura Cassisa, of 140 Greencrest Port, was charged with 39 counts of obtaining controlled dangerous substances and 219 counts of conspiracy to obtain controlled dangerous substances.

And Klingbeil, of 118 Bernay Drive, was charged with 89 counts of obtaining controlled dangerous substances and 219 counts of conspiracy to obtain controlled dangerous substances.

The remaining nine individuals arrested were only charged with various counts of obtaining controlled dangerous substances.

For full story please visit us at www.DEA.gov.

>> TEDS Data Report

JUL 17 -- (SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico) - Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Caribbean Division special agents, with significant assistance from the DEA New York Field Division, arrested Puerto Rico's and Dominican Republic's most wanted fugitive Puerto Rican Jose David Figueroa-Agosto alias Jr. Capsula at about noon today in San Juan, PR.

 

News Release [print friendly page]
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 17, 2010
Contact: SA Waldo Santiago
Public Information Officer
Number: (787) 277-4700

DEA Arrests Puerto Rico's and Dominican Republic's Most Wanted Fugitive Jose David Figueroa-Agosto Alias Jr. Capsula 

(L-R) FBI SAC Luis Fraticelli, SDUSM Antonio Torres, USMS PRFTF, DEA SAC Javier Pena (partially covered by the U.S. Attorney), U.S. Attorney Rosa Rodriguez, Acting U.S. Marshal Eric Timberman , AUSA Joe Ruiz and PRPD Superintendent Jose Figueroa at the U.S. Attorneys news conference announcing the arrest of the fugitive.
(L-R) FBI SAC Luis Fraticelli, SDUSM Antonio Torres, USMS PRFTF, DEA SAC Javier Pena (partially covered by the U.S. Attorney), U.S. Attorney Rosa Rodriguez, Acting U.S. Marshal Eric Timberman , AUSA Joe Ruiz and PRPD Superintendent Jose Figueroa at the U.S. Attorney's news conference announcing the arrest of the fugitive.

JUL 17 -- (SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico) - Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Caribbean Division special agents, with significant assistance from the DEA New York Field Division, arrested Puerto Rico's and Dominican Republic's most wanted fugitive Puerto Rican Jose David Figueroa-Agosto alias Jr. Capsula at about noon today in San Juan, PR.

Figueroa-Agosto was wanted by the U.S. Marshals Service's Puerto Rico Fugitive Task Force for escaping from a Commonwealth of Puerto Rico Correctional Facility about 10 years ago where he was serving a 209-year sentence for kidnapping and murder.

At the federal level Figueroa-Agosto was wanted by the U.S. Department of State Diplomatic Security Service for passport fraud and by the FBI for unlawful flight to avoid prosecution. Figueroa-Agosto is also wanted by Dominican Republic's authorities for multiple Dominican law violations to include kidnapping, money laundering, drug trafficking and murder.

Dominican authorities have described Figueroa-Agosto as the "Pablo Escobar of the Caribbean."

DEA agents turned over custody of Figueroa-Agosto to the U.S. Marshals Service, District of Puerto Rico.
 

JUL 22 -- (Manhattan, NY) - JOHN P. GILBRIDE, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration's New York Field Division ("DEA") and PREET BHARARA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and, announced that GERARDO AGUILAR RAMIREZ, a/k/a "Cesar," a former front commander in the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or "FARC"), was sentenced today to 27 years in prison for conspiring to import ton-quantities of cocaine into the United States. The FARC -- which has been designated by the U.S. State Department as a Foreign Terrorist Organization – is Colombia's main leftist rebel group and is the world's leading cocaine manufacturer, responsible for the production of nearly two-thirds of the cocaine imported into the United States. AGUILAR RAMIREZ was sentenced by United States District Judge THOMAS F. HOGAN in District of Columbia federal court.

 

News Release [print-friendly version]
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 22, 2010
Erin Mulvey
Public Information Officer
212 337-2906

Top FARC Commander Sentenced To 27 Years In Prison For Conspiring To Import Tons Of Cocaine Into The United States

JUL 22 -- (Manhattan, NY) - JOHN P. GILBRIDE, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration's New York Field Division ("DEA") and PREET BHARARA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and, announced that GERARDO AGUILAR RAMIREZ, a/k/a "Cesar," a former front commander in the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or "FARC"), was sentenced today to 27 years in prison for conspiring to import ton-quantities of cocaine into the United States. The FARC -- which has been designated by the U.S. State Department as a Foreign Terrorist Organization – is Colombia's main leftist rebel group and is the world's leading cocaine manufacturer, responsible for the production of nearly two-thirds of the cocaine imported into the United States. AGUILAR RAMIREZ was sentenced by United States District Judge THOMAS F. HOGAN in District of Columbia federal court.

DEA Special Agent-in-Charge JOHN P. GILBRIDE stated: "Gerardo Aguilar Ramirez conspired to manufacture and distribute thousands of kilograms of cocaine in the United States to fuel the FARC's narco-terrorist mission. Ramirez violently commanded the 1st Front for over 10 years until his arrest and today he has been sentenced and will pay for his crimes against American and Colombian citizens who have seen the damages of cocaine trafficking and abuse throughout both our nations. I commend the diligent and brave work of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, the Organized Crime Strike Force, DEA's Bogota Country Office, and the Colombian government."

According to the Superseding Indictment filed in District of Columbia federal court, other documents filed in this case, and statements made in court:

The FARC, which occupies large swaths of territory in Colombia, is a hierarchical organization which, at its height during the time of the conspiracy, was comprised of 12,000 to 18,000 members. At the lowest level, the FARC is made up of 77 distinct military units, called Fronts, organized by geographical location. These in turn are grouped into seven "blocs."

AGUILAR RAMIREZ was the commander of the FARC's 1 st Front and was ultimately responsible for all of that Front's criminal activities. Among other things, AGUILAR RAMIREZ conspired with others to manufacture and distribute thousands of tons of cocaine in Colombia, with the knowledge and intent that such cocaine would be imported into the United States.

In late 2001 or early 2002, the FARC leadership, including AGUILAR RAMIREZ, participated in a meeting in which they further resolved, among other things, to: increase cocaine trafficking routes overseas, including to the United States; establish better ways to exchange cocaine and cocaine paste for weapons; and to pay more to campesinos for cocaine paste.

For full story please visit us at www.DEA.gov.

Dateline DEA

DEA's Biweekly E-mail Informant

 

July 30, 2010

 

Top Stories from the Drug Enforcement Administration July 17 to July 30, 2010

______________________________________________________________________

 

Top FARC Commander Sentenced to 27 Years

 

On July 22, DEA New York Special Agent in Charge John P. Gilbride and Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that Gerardo Aguilar Ramirez, aka "Cesar," a former front commander in the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or "FARC"), was sentenced to 27 years in U.S. prison for conspiring to import ton-quantities of cocaine into the United States.

 

Aguilar Ramirez was responsible for all of the Front's criminal activities and among other things, he conspired with others to manufacture and distribute thousands of tons of cocaine in Colombia, with the knowledge and intent that such cocaine would be imported into the United States.

 

Click Here to Read the DEA Press Release

 

 

DEA Nabs Drug Lord After 10-Year Chase

 

Caribbean Division Special Agents, with significant assistance from the DEA New York Field Division, arrested Puerto Rico's and the Dominican Republic's most wanted fugitive, Jose David Figueroa-Agosto alias Jr. Capsula, on July 17 in San Juan, PR.

 

Figueroa-Agosto was wanted by the U.S. Marshals Service's Puerto Rico Fugitive Task Force for escaping from a Commonwealth of Puerto Rico Correctional Facility about 10 years ago where he was serving a 209-year sentence for kidnapping and murder.

 

Click Here to Read the DEA Press Release

 

 

51 Suspected Gang Members Arrested

 

On July 23, DEA Los Angeles Special Agent in Charge Timothy J. Landrum, Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown, and Santa Maria Police Chief Danny Macagni announced the culmination of a joint investigation that resulted in the arrest of 51 suspected gang members and their associates with ties to drug trafficking throughout the Central Coast of California. 

 

The investigation also resulted in the seizure of more than 19 pounds of methamphetamine, a methamphetamine conversion laboratory, 1.5 kilograms of cocaine, small amounts of crack cocaine, 25 pounds of marijuana, 35 firearms, $800,000 in U. S. currency, and property.

 

Click Here to Read the DEA Press Release

 

___________________________________________________________________________________

 

DID YOU KNOW?

 

The DEA is in the process of studying the effects of Salvia, an herbal supplement that is rapidly gaining popularity among teens who are smoking it to get high. The plant is very dangerous when abused and when smoked it causes powerful hallucinations. To read more about Salvia click here.

AUG 4 -- (ATLANTA, GA) - JOSE BARRIENTOS-RODRIGUEZ, a/k/a “Pepe,” 36, of Mexico, was sentenced today in federal district court in Atlanta by Senior United States District Court Judge Clarence Cooper for participation in a conspiracy to possession with intent to distribute cocaine.  BARRIENTOS-RODRIGUEZ was sentenced to 22 years in federal prison, to be followed by 5 years of supervised release.  BARRIENTOS-RODRIGUEZ was convicted of these charges on March 17, 2010, upon his plea of guilty.

 

News Release [print friendly page]
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 4, 2010
Contact: Chuvalo J. Truesdell
PIO/AFD
Number: 404-893-7124

Gulf Cartel Member Sentenced
Former Close Associate of Osiel Cárdenas Guillén Receives 22 Years in Prison

AUG 4 -- (ATLANTA, GA) - JOSE BARRIENTOS-RODRIGUEZ, a/k/a “Pepe,” 36, of Mexico, was sentenced today in federal district court in Atlanta by Senior United States District Court Judge Clarence Cooper for participation in a conspiracy to possession with intent to distribute cocaine.  BARRIENTOS-RODRIGUEZ was sentenced to 22 years in federal prison, to be followed by 5 years of supervised release.  BARRIENTOS-RODRIGUEZ was convicted of these charges on March 17, 2010, upon his plea of guilty.

“Barrientos-Rodriguez attempted to harm law enforcement officers in his distribution of drugs in Atlanta and avoid justice by fleeing to Mexico,” said Rodney G. Benson, Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the Atlanta Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration.  “Today’s sentencing shows the extent the DEA and United States Attorney’s Office will go to bring justice to those who endanger the public.”

United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said of today’s sentencing, “This case strikes a significant hit against the influx of cocaine to the United States from the Mexican cartels, and shows how effective our intervention can be when we cooperate closely with Mexican law enforcement to bring drug traffickers here from Mexico to be prosecuted.”

According to United States Attorney Yates, the plea agreement, indictment and information presented in court: In 2001, agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration ("DEA") were conducting an investigation of a drug organization operating in the Atlanta, Georgia area that was being managed by BARRIENTOS-RODRIGUEZ and associated with the multi-million dollar Mexican cocaine trafficking organization known as the "Gulf Cartel," the head of which at the time was Osiel Cárdenas Guillén.  On June 7, 2001, based upon information from a court-authorized wiretap of a telephone used by BARRIENTOS-RODRIGUEZ, DEA learned that a delivery of a large shipment of cocaine was expected from south Texas to the Atlanta, Georgia area.  DEA conducted surveillance of BARRIENTOS-RODRIGUEZ and others, following them to Montgomery Motors where DEA observed the unloading of approximately 247.5 kilograms of cocaine from a tractor-trailer into a white van.  After the unloading, the van traveled toward Interstate 20 with BARRIENTOS-RODRIGUEZ following directly behind in a green Chevy.

For full story please visit us www.dea.gov.

AUG 05 - (LOS ANGELES) – Culminating a joint Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Beverly Hills Police Department (BHPD) investigation that led to the seizure of well over 1.1 million MDMA tablets this year, a federal grand jury has indicted 15 men linked to a San Gabriel Valley-based drug trafficking organization that was allegedly responsible for distributing hundreds of thousands of MDMA pills every month.

 

15 Linked to Major Ecstasy Ring Indicted
Organization believed responsible for distributing hundreds of thousands of MDMA pills every month

Ecstasy Pills Seized From The Raid.
Ecstasy Pills Seized From The Raid.
Law Enforcement Cleans Pill Lab Caption
Law Enforcement Cleans Pill Lab Caption.
Seized High Caliber Weapons
Seized High Caliber Weapons.

AUG 05 - (LOS ANGELES) – Culminating a joint Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Beverly Hills Police Department (BHPD) investigation that led to the seizure of well over 1.1 million MDMA tablets this year, a federal grand jury has indicted 15 men linked to a San Gabriel Valley-based drug trafficking organization that was allegedly responsible for distributing hundreds of thousands of MDMA pills every month.

The indictment accuses the 15 defendants of participating in a conspiracy to distribute huge quantities of 3, 4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), which is the chemical name of a party drug commonly called ecstasy. Ecstasy has recently been linked to the deaths of several teenagers who had ingested the drug at large “raves” at the Los Angeles Coliseum and Los Angeles Sports Arena.

“Ecstasy is a serious threat to our communities, particularly to our teens and youth who are often unaware of the significant harm this drug can cause,” said Timothy J. Landrum, DEA Special Agent in Charge. “We have crushed a criminal organization that distributed huge quantities of ecstasy tablets. These arrests serve notice that DEA and our law enforcement partners will not tolerate the illegal trafficking of ecstasy in our communities.”

The drug trafficking organization targeted in the indictment was alleged headed by Jimmy Luong, who maintained a “stash house” in the City of Industry that served as the base of operations for the drug ring. During the execution of a search warrant at Luong’s stash house in July 2010, authorities found an operation laboratory capable of manufacturing large quantities of MDMA and methamphetamine. At a second stash location at a storage facility in Arcadia, authorities in June seized approximately 510,000 MDMA tablets. A third stash location yielded approximately 200,000 MDMA tablets when Luong and his associates were arrested in July.

During the first seven months of 2010, the investigation resulted in the seizure of at least 1,134,000 MDMA tablets (investigators are still counting tablets seized two weeks ago), 33 kilograms of cocaine, well over $500,000 in cash believed to be the proceeds of drug trafficking, and 21 firearms, which include assault rifles and stolen weapons with hollow-point ammunition. With a street price of $15 per pill, authorities have seized at least $17 million worth of ecstasy.

Beverly Hills PD Captain Mitch McCann stated, “These arrests and seizures are the culmination of countless hours of effort on the part of the Beverly Hills Police Department Special Enforcement Section and our partners in combating crime.  It is an example of how criminal operations of this level are not an isolated event.  They are far reaching concerns with toxic effects that stretch across social, ethnic, physical, and financial boundaries to harm all people.  An arrest of this magnitude goes a long way in making our society and community a safer place to work and live.”

The defendants charged in the indictment are:

  • Jimmy Luong, 29, of Monterey Park, who is accused of being a large-scale MDMA distributor responsible for selling hundreds of thousands of MDMA pills per month;
  • Tony Barerra Jr., 37, of West Covina, who is accused of acting as a supplier to Luong’s organization and who possessed approximately 200,000 MDMA tablets when he was arrested in July;

 

For full story please visit us at www.DEA.gov.

###

Pit Bull and Cock Fights Used as Networking Tool for Drug Traffickers

AUG 09 -- LAKE CHARLES, La. + The main organizer and supervisor of a lucrative drug trafficking organization responsible for transporting kilogram quantities of cocaine and marijuana from the Brownsville, Texas area, was sentenced on August 5, 2010 to 12.5 years in federal prison, followed by five years supervised release. Pedro Mendez Ramos, 41, of Church Point, La., was sentenced by U. S. District Judge Patricia Minaldi for Continuing a Criminal Enterprise and Money Laundering Conspiracy.

Ramos and seventeen others were indicted on a variety of drug trafficking, money laundering and firearms charges following an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation dubbed “Operation Fowl Play” and “Rio Gallo.” While under Ramos’ direction, this drug trafficking organization was responsible for transporting and distributing cocaine and marijuana from the Brownsville, Texas area to the Church Point, La. area. From Church Point, the drugs would then be distributed to Florida, Tennessee, Mississippi, Georgia, and other parts of Louisiana. Large amounts of drug proceeds would then be transported back to Brownsville, Texas and ultimately, Mexico. Ramos, an avid pit bull and cock fighter, with over three hundred gamecocks and sixty fighting pit bulls of his own, utilized these illegal events as a networking tool in order to recruit members to transport and sell cocaine and marijuana for his organization. The organization utilized various methods to conceal their cocaine, to include tractor trailers and trucks with hidden compartments and gamecock cages with false bottoms. The Ramos organization was supplied cocaine and marijuana directly from members of the Gulf Cartel, a multi-national drug trafficking organization located in Matamoros, Mexico.

At one point, the Ramos organization had amassed so much cash from the sale of cocaine that Pedro Ramos attempted to purchase Canal Oil Refinery, an oil refinery located in Church Point, La. in order to launder the organization’s drug trafficking proceeds. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), in conjunction with state and local law enforcement agencies, seized approximately 111 kilograms of cocaine and approximately 1.8 million dollars from members of Ramos’ drug trafficking organization, along with real property with an estimated value of one million dollars located in both Louisiana and Texas.

Special Agent in Charge Jimmy S. Fox III of the New Orleans Field Division stated, “The coordinated efforts of this investigation not only exposed and dismantled a sophisticated drug trafficking organization, it also helped to cease the brutality and unspeakable cruelty of animals at the hands of inhumane individuals.” U. S. Attorney Finley stated: “Organized drug trafficking threatens our safety, disrupts our communities, and destroys lives. This case is an example of how federal, state and local partnerships can succeed in dismantling large international criminal organizations. Our office is committed to combating drug trafficking in this district.”

For full story please visit us at www.DEA.gov.

AUG 11 -- (MANHATTAN, NY) JOHN P. GILBRIDE, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration's New York Field Division ("DEA") and PREET BHARARA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced yesterday the guilty plea of JUANITO CORDOBA-BERMUDEZ, an associate of the 57 Front of the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia ("FARC"), A Colombian terrorist group, to a Indictment charging him with participating in a conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization. CORDOBA-BERMUDEZ was arrested in Panama in 2008 and was transferred to United States custody in May of 2009.

 

News Release [print-friendly version]
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 11, 2010
Erin Mulvey
Public Information Officer
212 337-2906

FARC Associate Pleads Guilty in Manhattan Federal Court to providing material support to a Foreign Terrorist Organization

AUG 11 -- (MANHATTAN, NY) JOHN P. GILBRIDE, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration's New York Field Division ("DEA") and PREET BHARARA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced yesterday the guilty plea of JUANITO CORDOBA-BERMUDEZ, an associate of the 57 Front of the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia ("FARC"), A Colombian terrorist group, to a Indictment charging him with participating in a conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization. CORDOBA-BERMUDEZ was arrested in Panama in 2008 and was transferred to United States custody in May of 2009.

According to the Indictment previously unsealed in the case:

The FARC was formed in 1964 and is structured as a military organization, with approximately 10,000 armed guerillas organized into seven "blocs," 68 numbered "Fronts" (including the 57 Front), nine named "Fronts," and four urban "militias." The FARC is dedicated to the violent overthrow of Colombia's democratically-elected government and has been designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the United States Department of State. The 57 Front operates in the territory within Colombia's Choco Department, which borders Panama. The 57 th Front supports the FARC's terrorist activities through narcotics trafficking and kidnapping for ransom, including the kidnapping of Americans and other foreign nationals.

The Indictment recounts multiple discussions among various co-defendants, including CORDOBA-BERMUDEZ, regarding FARC logistics, supplies and weapons, as well as the seizures by authorities of a variety of weapons and materiel in 2008. These discussions occurred in the aftermath of a February 22, 2008, attack by five FARC guerillas on a Panamanian police patrol boat, and their subsequent capture in possession of substantial FARC weaponry and material.

For full story please visit us at www.DEA.gov.

AUG 12 -- (MANHATTAN, NY) JOHN P. GILBRIDE, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration's New York Field Division ("DEA"), PREET BHARARA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, JANICE K. FEDARCYK, the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI"),  RAYMOND W. KELLY, the Police Commissioner of the City of New York, MICHAEL LITTLE, the Deputy Medicaid Inspector General for Investigations of the New York State Office of Medicaid Inspector General ("NYS-OMIG"), and ROBERT DOAR, the Commissioner of the New York City Human Resources Administration ("NYC-HRA"), today announced the unsealing of charges against nine members of a Manhattan-based drug ring that allegedly distributed thousands of oxycodone pills obtained through Medicaid fraud. Eight of the nine defendants -- DIANA WILLIAMSON, LENNY HERNANDEZ, MIGUEL ANGEL HERNANDEZ, FRANMI SAETA, IVETTE ARROYO, REYNOLDO COLON, ANTONIO MARTINEZ, and CARL GUILFORD – were arrested earlier today and are expected to appear in Manhattan federal court later today. JUNIOR JAQUEZ remains at large.

 

News Release [print-friendly version]
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 12, 2010
Erin Mulvey
Public Information Officer
212 337-2906

Nine Members of Oxycodone Distribution Ring Charged by Feds
Doctor-Led Drug Ring Allegedly Distributed Approximately 11,000 Oxycodone Pills Purchased With Close To $1 Million In Medicaid Funds

AUG 12 -- (MANHATTAN, NY) JOHN P. GILBRIDE, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration's New York Field Division ("DEA"), PREET BHARARA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, JANICE K. FEDARCYK, the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI"),  RAYMOND W. KELLY, the Police Commissioner of the City of New York, MICHAEL LITTLE, the Deputy Medicaid Inspector General for Investigations of the New York State Office of Medicaid Inspector General ("NYS-OMIG"), and ROBERT DOAR, the Commissioner of the New York City Human Resources Administration ("NYC-HRA"), today announced the unsealing of charges against nine members of a Manhattan-based drug ring that allegedly distributed thousands of oxycodone pills obtained through Medicaid fraud. Eight of the nine defendants -- DIANA WILLIAMSON, LENNY HERNANDEZ, MIGUEL ANGEL HERNANDEZ, FRANMI SAETA, IVETTE ARROYO, REYNOLDO COLON, ANTONIO MARTINEZ, and CARL GUILFORD – were arrested earlier today and are expected to appear in Manhattan federal court later today. JUNIOR JAQUEZ remains at large.

According to the Complaint and other documents filed in Manhattan federal court:

Between September 2009 and August 2010, WILLIAMSON, a Manhattan-based primary care physician, wrote oxycodone prescriptions to patients who had no legitimate need for the medication. Co-defendant LENNY HERNANDEZ recruited the individuals to obtain oxycodone prescriptions from WILLIAMSON. He also helped the individuals fill the prescriptions and arranged to resell the oxycodone to third parties. Three others-- MIGUEL ANGEL HERNANDEZ, SAETA, and ARROYO, a/k/a “Bori” -- assisted LENNY HERNANDEZ in obtaining and distributing oxycodone pills. Finally, MARTINEZ and GUILFORD obtained oxycodone prescriptions from WILLIAMSON -- despite having no medical need for the medication -- then used their government-provided health benefits to fill their prescriptions and sold the pills to LENNY HERNANDEZ and WILLIAMSON.

According to records obtained from the New York State Office of the Medicaid Inspector General, over the course of the conspiracy $997,128 of $4,392,832 in Medicaid drug expenses for medications prescribed by WILLIAMSON was attributable to Oxycontin prescriptions. Analysis of patient prescription data and surveillance during the course of the investigation established that approximately 11,000 oxycodone pills were obtained through health care fraud and distributed by members of the conspiracy.

Earlier today, law enforcement officers executed court authorized search warrants on four locations where certain of the defendants distributed oxycodone, conducted health care fraud, or stored the proceeds of this illegal activity.

The defendants each are charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute and possession with the intent to distribute a controlled substance, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and maximum fine of $1,000,000. WILLIAMSON, LENNY HERNANDEZ, MARTINEZ, and GUILFORD each are also charged with one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000.

Mr. BHARARA praised the work of the FBI's New York Health Care Fraud Task Force -- which includes agents and officers of the FBI, the New York City Police Department, the NYS-OMIG, and the NYC-HRA -- and the DEA in the investigation of this case. The Task Force was formed in 2007 in an effort to combat health care fraud in the greater New York City-area and also includes agents and officers of the New York State Insurance Fraud Bureau, U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Office of Personnel Management Inspector General, Food and Drug Administration, and the National Insurance Crime Bureau. Mr. BHARARA added that the investigation is continuing.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney PREET BHARARA stated: "Diana Williamson allegedly exploited her medical license by engaging in a scheme to prescribe profits for herself and her coconspirators. In so doing, she betrayed the practice of medicine and, moreover, cheated an already-strapped Medicaid system out of almost a million dollars. This Office is committed to working with our partners on the New York Health Care Fraud Task Force and the DEA to combat the big money drain that fraud is to the multi-billion-dollar health care industry."

FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge JANICE K. FEDARCYK stated: "A doctor who commits Medicaid fraud by writing illicit prescriptions violates the law -- and the physician's oath to do no harm. Williamson and her co-defendants harmed the public by defrauding a taxpayer-funded program and by facilitating the abuse of a potentially dangerous drug. Health care fraud is an FBI priority because of its dual threat to the economy and to public safety."

DEA Special Agent-in-Charge JOHN P. GILBRIDE stated: "Law enforcement has combined multiple resources in order to fight the increased abuse of pharmaceutical drugs. Through concerted efforts with our local, state and federal law enforcement partners DEA has focused on those individuals who illegally purchase and distribute pharmaceutical drugs. Medication legally prescribed for individuals in pain is beneficial pain management, but like any illicit substance when it is abused and sold for no other reason than to make a profit it becomes a danger to the public and a violation of law."

For full story please us at www.DEA.gov 

Dateline DEA

DEA's Biweekly E-mail Informant

 

August 13, 2010

 

Top Stories from the Drug Enforcement Administration July 31 to August 13, 2010

______________________________________________________________________

 

 

Associate of Colombian Terrorist Group Pleads Guilty

 

On August 10, Juanito Cordoba-Bermudez pled guilty to an indictment charging him with participating in a conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization. Cordoba-Bermudez is an associate of the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) terrorist group and is a member of their 57th Front which operates in Colombia ’s Chico Department that borders Panama , and is one of the most violent elements of the FARC. The 57th Front has kidnapped a U.S. citizen, procured weapons and explosives, and smuggled cocaine.

 

Click Here to Read the DEA Press Release

 

 

Illegal Animal Fight Organizer Sentenced for Drug Trafficking

 

Pedro Mendez Ramos, the main organizer and supervisor of a lucrative drug trafficking organization in the Brownsville, Texas area was sentenced August 5 for operating a continuing a criminal enterprise and money laundering conspiracy.  DEA, in conjunction with state and local law enforcement, seized approximately 111 kilograms of cocaine and millions in cash and real property from members of the Ramos drug trafficking organization as part of “Operation Fowl Play” and “Rio Gallo.”  

 

Ramos, an avid pit bull and cock fighter organizer, used these illegal events as a networking tool to recruit members who would transport and sell cocaine and marijuana for his organization. The Ramos organization had been supplied with cocaine and marijuana directly from members of the Mexico-based Gulf Cartel. At one point the Ramos organization had amassed so much cash that Mr. Ramos even attempted to purchase the Canal Oil Refinery located in his home city of Church Point, Louisiana.

 

Click Here to Read the DEA Press Release

 

 

Major Ecstasy Ring Investigation Results in 15 Indictments

 

On August 5, a joint DEA and Beverly Hills (California) Police Department investigation culminated in the seizure of 1.1 million MDMA (Ecstasy) tablets worth over $17 million, and the indictment of 15 men linked to a San Gabriel Valley-based drug trafficking organization. The indictment accuses the defendants, including its alleged leader, Jimmy Luong, of participating in a conspiracy to distribute huge quantities of MDMA which has recently been linked to the deaths of several teenagers who ingested the drug at large “raves” in the Los Angeles area.

 

The MDMA trafficking organization allegedly distributed hundreds of thousands pills every month.  In addition to the MDMA tablets, the investigation also resulted in the seizure of 33 kilograms of cocaine, 21 firearms (including assault rifles), and more than $500,000.

 

Click Here to Read the DEA Press Release

 

 

Gulf Cartel Associate Sentenced

 

On August 4 Jose Barrientos-Rodriguez, a close associate of the Gulf Cartel, was sentenced in Atlanta, Georgia to 22 years in federal prison for participation in a conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine.

 

On June 7, 2001 Barrientos-Rodriguez crashed a green Chevrolet into a Georgia State Patrol police car to stop the discovery of 247.5 kilograms of cocaine, which had a wholesale street value of $3.9 million. A search of an apartment in the area known to be used by the Gulf Cartel resulted in the further seizure of more than $3 million. In January 2002 Barrientos-Rodriguez was arrested in Mexico for violating Mexico ’s organized crime laws, and was extradited to the United States on December 31, 2008.    

 

Click Here to Read the DEA Press Release

 

___________________________________________________________________________________

 

DID YOU KNOW?

 

The misuse of prescription drugs has reached alarming levels and is one of the fastest growing drug abuse challenges in America today?

 

·         In the United States the number of abuse treatment admissions aged 12 years and older that reported pain reliever abuse increased more than fourfold between 1998 and 2008;  

·         There has been a 112 percent increase in the number of emergency room visits attributable to opioid pharmaceuticals between 2004 and 2008; and,

·         The number of unintentional deaths involving prescription opioid analgesics increased 175 percent from 3,994 in 2001 to 11,001 in 2006.   

 

Unfortunately, your home is often the source for these abused prescription drugs, with 62 percent of teens believing that most teens get prescription drugs from their own family’s medicine cabinets.  For more information on what you can do to stop prescription drug abuse click here. For the Partnership for a Drug Free America Teens Report click here.

 

You are subscribed to Dateline DEA from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. This information has recently been updated, and is now available.

AUG 17 -- EL PASO – Joseph M. Arabit, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration–El Paso Division and United States Attorney John E. Murphy announced the extradition from Mexico of Felipe DOMINGUEZ-Vargas, a purported member of the Juarez Drug Cartel.  This morning, August 16, 2010, DOMINGUEZ made his initial appearance in federal court in El Paso, Texas and waived his detention hearing. DOMINGUEZ will remain in custody pending trial.

 

News Release [print friendly page]
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: August 17, 2010

Cuidad Juarez Trafficker Extradited from Mexico

AUG 17 -- EL PASO – Joseph M. Arabit, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration–El Paso Division and United States Attorney John E. Murphy announced the extradition from Mexico of Felipe DOMINGUEZ-Vargas, a purported member of the Juarez Drug Cartel.  This morning, August 16, 2010, DOMINGUEZ made his initial appearance in federal court in El Paso, Texas and waived his detention hearing. DOMINGUEZ will remain in custody pending trial.

On August 10, 2010, DOMINGUEZ was extradited from Mexico to the United States to stand trial for federal drug trafficking offenses. DOMINGUEZ is the subject of an indictment filed in May 2009 in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, charging him with the following offenses:  six counts of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute heroin, cocaine and marijuana.

According to the indictment, from October 2007 until March 2009, DOMINGUEZ was responsible for the importation of over 1 kilogram of heroin, 5 kilograms of cocaine and over 100 kilograms of marijuana into West Texas for distribution in other parts of the United States.  In order to smuggle the illegal narcotics, primarily through El Paso County, DOMINGUEZ and his co-conspirators utilized a variety of vehicles as well as body carriers.  If convicted, DOMINGUEZ faces 10 years to life imprisonment for the importation of heroin and cocaine as well a maximum fine of $4,000,000. For the importation of marijuana, DOMINGUEZ faces 5 years to 40 years imprisonment as well as a maximum fine of $2,000,000.

DOMINGUEZ was arrested by Mexican authorities in November of 2009. On August 10, 2010, DOMINGUEZ was extradited into the United States, released to Agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration and Deputies of the United States Marshal Service and transported to a secure location.

The DEA El Paso Division encourages parents, and their children to visit the following interactive websites at www.justhinktwice.com, www.GetSmartAboutDrugs.com and www.dea.gov.

AUG 19 -- WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Drug Enforcement Administration and government, community, public health and law enforcement partners today announced a nationwide prescription drug “Take-Back” initiative that seeks to prevent increased pill abuse and theft. DEA will be collecting potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs for destruction at sites nationwide o n Saturday, September 25 th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. local time. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.

 

News Release [print-friendly version]
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 19, 2010
Contact: DEA Public Affairs
Number: 202-307-7977

DEA Heads First-Ever Nationwide Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

AUG 19 -- WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Drug Enforcement Administration and government, community, public health and law enforcement partners today announced a nationwide prescription drug “Take-Back” initiative that seeks to prevent increased pill abuse and theft. DEA will be collecting potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs for destruction at sites nationwide o n Saturday, September 25 th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. local time. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.

This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Many Americans are not aware that medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are increasing at alarming rates, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, many Americans do not know how to properly dispose of their unused medicine, often flushing them down the toilet or throwing them away – both potential safety and health hazards.

“Today we are launching a first-ever National Prescription Drug Take-Back campaign that will provide a safe way for Americans to dispose of their unwanted prescription drugs,” said Michele M. Leonhart, Acting Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration. “This effort symbolizes DEA’s commitment to halting the disturbing rise in addiction caused by their misuse and abuse. Working together with our state and local partners, the medical community, anti-drug coalitions, and a concerned public, we will eliminate a major source of abused prescription drugs, and reduce the hazard they pose to our families and communities in a safe, legal, and environmentally sound way.”

“With this National Prescription Drug Take-Back campaign, we are aggressively reaching out to individuals to encourage them to rid their households of unused prescription drugs that pose a safety hazard and can contribute to prescription drug abuse,” said Acting Deputy Attorney General Gary G. Grindler.  “The Department of Justice is committed to doing everything we can to make our communities safer, and this initiative represents a new front in our efforts.”

“Prescription drug abuse is the Nation’s fastest-growing drug problem, and take-back events like this one are an indispensable tool for reducing the threat that the diversion and abuse of these drugs pose to public health,” said Director of National Drug Control Policy Gil Kerlikowske. “The Federal/state/and local collaboration represented in this initiative is key in our national efforts to reduce pharmaceutical drug diversion and abuse.”

Collection sites in every local community can be found by going to www.dea.gov . This site will be continuously updated with new take-back locations. Other participants in this initiative include the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy; the Partnership for a Drug-Free America; the International Association of Chiefs of Police; the National Association of Attorneys General; the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy; the Federation of State Medical Boards; and the National District Attorneys Association.

 

###

SEP 09 -- WASHINGTON, D.C. – Less than a month into the Drug Enforcement Administration’s prescription drug “Take-Back” campaign, over 2,700 sites nationwide have joined the effort that seeks to prevent increased pill abuse and theft. Government, community, public health and law enforcement partners will be collecting potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs for destruction at these sites all across the nation o n Saturday, September 25 th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. local time. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.

 

Over 2,700 Sites Join DEA Nationwide to Take-Back Prescription Drugs on Sept. 25

SEP 09 -- WASHINGTON, D.C. – Less than a month into the Drug Enforcement Administration’s prescription drug “Take-Back” campaign, over 2,700 sites nationwide have joined the effort that seeks to prevent increased pill abuse and theft. Government, community, public health and law enforcement partners will be collecting potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs for destruction at these sites all across the nation o n Saturday, September 25 th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. local time. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.

This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Many Americans are not aware that medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are increasing at alarming rates, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, many Americans do not know how to properly dispose of their unused medicine, often flushing them down the toilet or throwing them away – both potential safety and health hazards.

“The National Prescription Drug Take-Back campaign will provide a safe way for Americans to dispose of their unwanted prescription drugs,” said Michele M. Leonhart, Acting Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration. “This effort symbolizes DEA’s commitment to halting the disturbing rise in addiction caused by their misuse and abuse. Working together with our state and local partners, the medical community, anti-drug coalitions, and a concerned public, we will eliminate a major source of abused prescription drugs, and reduce the hazard they pose to our families and communities in a safe, legal, and environmentally sound way.”

For full story please visit us at www.DEA.gov.  

Dateline DEA

DEA's Biweekly E-mail Informant

 

September 10, 2010


Top Stories from the Drug Enforcement Administration August 28 to September 10, 2010

______________________________________________________________________

 

Street Gang Members Arrested in Dallas

 

Seven alleged members of violent street gangs were arrested September 2 for allegedly running a drug distribution conspiracy in Dallas.  These arrests were part of Operation Greedy Grove that targeted narcotics trafficking by violent, armed CRIP gang members. The indictments allege that the defendants acquired drugs and used stash houses known as “traps” to store drugs and cash, while others acted as lookouts, or engaged in counter-surveillance in order to be aware of the presence of law enforcement. 

 

The first indictment charges 12 individuals, allegedly members of the Highland Hills Posse street gang, with conspiracy to distribute 50 grams or more of crack cocaine, 500 grams or more of cocaine, and up to 50 kilograms of marijuana, in addition to other charges. A second indictment charges four additional individuals (who have not yet been arrested) who are allegedly members of the NFL Boyz street gang, with conspiracy with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of crack cocaine and 500 grams or more of cocaine, in addition to other charges.   

 

Click Here to Read the DEA Press Release

 

 

Operation Broken Arrow


In the culmination of a year-long investigation entitled Operation Broken Arrow, nine individuals from Brevard County (Florida) were indicted on charges of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute and to distributing at least five kilograms of cocaine, with takedown operations beginning August 31.  The DEA-led task force developed information and evidence that this cocaine trafficking group, which included numerous other individuals in addition to the nine defendants, were trafficking powder cocaine throughout Central Florida. If convicted these charges may result penalties of up to life in prison for the defendants. 

 

Click Here to Read the DEA Press Release

 

 

$100 Million in Drugs Sold Online   

 

On September 1 a federal grand jury in San Francisco indicted 11 defendants for participating in three separate but connected and overlapping conspiracies to illegally distribute controlled substances. They were obtained as part of an international investigation of illegal Internet pharmacies that began in 2005.  Already, this investigation has resulted in 37 indictments, convictions of 26 defendants, seizures of more than $39 million in cash and assets, and the dismantling of more than five Internet pharmacies that illegally distributed more than 80 million doses of controlled substances in the United States.   

 

The three conspiracies are: 1) Safescripts Online conspiracy in which eight individuals were indicted for distributing more than $22 million worth of controlled substances outside the scope of professional medical practice and without establishing a legitimate medical purpose for the drugs. 2) In the Pitcairn conspiracy five defendants sold at least $55 million worth of controlled substances outside the scope of professional medical practice and without establishing a legitimate medical purpose for the drugs. 3) Three defendants were charged as part of the United Mail Pharmacy Services conspiracy for selling in excess of $48 million worth of controlled substances outside the scope of professional medical practice and without establishing a legitimate medical purpose for the drugs.    

 

Click Here to Read the DEA Press Release

 

 

DID YOU KNOW?

 

In 1985 DEA Special Agent Enrique Camarena was kidnapped and brutally murdered in Mexico, resulting in one of the most comprehensive homicide investigations ever undertaken by DEA. His death sparked the National Red Ribbon campaign which continues to this day.

 

The first “Camarena Clubs” began in the wake of Special Agent Camarena’s death 25 years ago, and in 1988 the first National Red Ribbon Week was proclaimed by Congress. Red Ribbon Week commemorates not just the sacrifice of Special Agent Camarena, but of all those who have died enforcing our nation’s drug laws and fighting drug abuse. It is designed with the objective of encouraging young people to commit to living a drug free life by wearing a red ribbon and taking the red ribbon pledge.

 

Red Ribbon Week this year is October 23-31. To find out the history of Red Ribbon Week click here. For more information about this year’s events, click here.

SEP 10 -- MARC EMERY, 52, of Vancouver, BC, Canada, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to five years in prison and four years of supervised release for conspiracy to manufacture marijuana.   At the time of his indictment in 2005, EMERY was the largest supplier of marijuana seeds in the U.S., with his seeds linked to illegal grow operations across the country.  At sentencing U.S. District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez told him “there is no question your actions were illegal and criminal and your actions ensured that others broke the law and suffered the consequences.”

 

News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: September 10, 2010
Contact: DEA Public Affairs
Number: 202-386-5196

CANADIAN SENTENCED TO 5 YEARS IN PRISON FOR SELLING MILLIONS OF MARIJUANA SEEDS ACROSS THE BORDER
Long-time Marijuana Seed Dealer Admits ‘Arrogantly Violating U.S. Law’

SEP 10 -- MARC EMERY, 52, of Vancouver, BC, Canada, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to five years in prison and four years of supervised release for conspiracy to manufacture marijuana.   At the time of his indictment in 2005, EMERY was the largest supplier of marijuana seeds in the U.S., with his seeds linked to illegal grow operations across the country.  At sentencing U.S. District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez told him “there is no question your actions were illegal and criminal and your actions ensured that others broke the law and suffered the consequences.”

            “Marc Emery decided that U.S. laws did not apply to him, but he was wrong,” said U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan.  “Emery put his personal profits above the law.  He made millions of dollars by shipping millions of seeds into the U.S.  He sold to anyone who would pay him -- with no regard for the age or criminal activities of his customers.  Now, Emery is paying the price for being part of the illegal drug trade that damages lives, homes and the environment.”           

            “Today, Marc Emery was sentenced for conspiracy to manufacture marijuana, and now faces imprisonment in the United States for his international criminal activity,” said DEA Acting Administrator Michele M. Leonhart.  “By his own admission, Emery repeatedly violated U.S. drug laws.  He did so irrespective of the age of his customers, the countless families he may have harmed, or the associated violence he may have facilitated.  Due to the extraordinary cooperation between Canadian and U.S. law enforcement, Emery’s conspiracy was shattered, and he is now a convicted felon.” 

            EMERY was indicted in 2005, and was extradited in May 2010, from Canada.  In his plea agreement, EMERY admits that he and his co-conspirators Michelle Rainey and Gregory Keith Williams operated a marijuana seed distribution business known as Marc Emery Direct.  EMERY’s business sold marijuana seeds to customers throughout the United States, including within the Western District of Washington.  Marijuana seeds were sold to customers in various ways, including at a retail store located in Vancouver, British Columbia, and through mail and telephone orders.  Seventy-five percent of the sales were to people in the U.S. EMERY also sold grow equipment and provided advice on cultivating marijuana to customers in the U.S.  On multiple occasions in 2004 and 2005, EMERY sold marijuana seeds to an undercover Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”) agent at the shop and elsewhere.  On his web site, EMERY claimed to have made approximately $3 million a year selling seeds, and to have sold more than 4,000,000 seeds over the years.  In his letter to the court EMERY now says he “arrogantly violated U.S. law,” and says he regrets that he did not use legal methods to support his beliefs. 

            Last year, Michelle Rainey, 39, and Gregory Keith Williams, 54, both employees of Emery Seeds, were sentenced in U.S. District Court in Seattle to two years of probation for Conspiracy to Manufacture Marijuana.

            In asking the court to impose the agreed upon five year sentence, Assistant United States Attorney Todd Greenberg noted that Emery seeds had been linked to illegal marijuana grows protected by guns and booby traps.  “This Court is very familiar with the dangerous collateral criminal activities that too often surround marijuana grow operations, including armed robberies, shootings, and even murders... Emery was the largest distributor of marijuana seeds, and thus marijuana, into the United States from approximately 1995 through July 2005, when he was arrested in Canada on the United States’ extradition warrant.  The U.S. Department of Justice brought this prosecution because of, and to put an end to, Emery’s unlawful drug trafficking inside the United States,” Mr. Greenberg wrote in his sentencing memo.

            The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Todd Greenberg.

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110 or Emily.Langlie@USDOJ.Gov.

           

SEP 15 -- WASHINGTON, D.C. – Less than a month into the Drug Enforcement Administration’s prescription drug “Take-Back” campaign, over 3,400 sites nationwide have joined the effort that seeks to prevent increased pill abuse and theft. Government, community, public health and law enforcement partners will be collecting potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs for destruction at these sites all across the nation o n Saturday, September 25 th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. local time. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.

 

News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 15, 2010
Contact: DEA Public Affairs
Number: 202-307-7977

Over 3,400 sites join DEA Nationwide Effort
to Take-Back Prescription Drugs On Sept
. 25

SEP 15 -- WASHINGTON, D.C. – Less than a month into the Drug Enforcement Administration’s prescription drug “Take-Back” campaign, over 3,400 sites nationwide have joined the effort that seeks to prevent increased pill abuse and theft. Government, community, public health and law enforcement partners will be collecting potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs for destruction at these sites all across the nation o n Saturday, September 25 th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. local time. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.

Collection sites in every local community can be found by going to www.dea.gov . This site is continuously updated with new take-back locations. In addition, interested media can now go to: www.nationaltakebackday.com to download a public service announcement about the initiative.

This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Many Americans are not aware that medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are increasing at alarming rates, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, many Americans do not know how to properly dispose of their unused medicine, often flushing them down the toilet or throwing them away – both potential safety and health hazards.

“The National Prescription Drug Take-Back campaign will provide a safe way for Americans to dispose of their unwanted prescription drugs,” said Michele M. Leonhart, Acting Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration. “This effort symbolizes DEA’s commitment to halting the disturbing rise in addiction caused by their misuse and abuse. Working together with our state and local partners, the medical community, anti-drug coalitions, and a concerned public, we will eliminate a major source of abused prescription drugs, and reduce the hazard they pose to our families and communities in a safe, legal, and environmentally sound way.”

“With this National Prescription Drug Take-Back campaign, we are aggressively reaching out to individuals to encourage them to rid their households of unused prescription drugs that pose a safety hazard and can contribute to prescription drug abuse,” said Acting Deputy Attorney General Gary G. Grindler.  “The Department of Justice is committed to doing everything we can to make our communities safer, and this initiative represents a new front in our efforts.”

“Prescription drug abuse is the Nation’s fastest-growing drug problem, and take-back events like this one are an indispensable tool for reducing the threat that the diversion and abuse of these drugs pose to public health,” said Director of National Drug Control Policy Gil Kerlikowske. “The Federal/state/and local collaboration represented in this initiative is key in our national efforts to reduce pharmaceutical drug diversion and abuse.”

Other participants in this initiative include the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy; the Partnership for a Drug-Free America; the International Association of Chiefs of Police; the National Association of Attorneys General; the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy; the Federation of State Medical Boards; and the National District Attorneys Association.

Dateline DEA

DEA's Biweekly E-mail Informant

 

September 24, 2010

 

Top Stories from the DEA September 11 to September 24, 2010

______________________________________________________________________

 

 

National Prescription Drug Take-back THIS Saturday 

 

Community, public health and law enforcement partners will be participating in America’s first-ever National Prescription Drug Take-back Day at more than 4,000 locations across the country this Saturday, September 25 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. local time. This DEA-inspired initiative will prevent increased pill abuse and theft by collecting potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs for safe and legal destruction. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.

 

Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are increasing at alarming rates, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. This initiative addresses this vital public safety and public health issue as medicines that collect in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse.

 

Collection sites in every local community can be found by going to www.dea.gov. This site is continuously updated with new take-back locations. In addition, interested media can go to: www.nationaltakebackday.com to download a public service announcement about the initiative.

 

 

Largest Marijuana Seed Supplier Sentenced   

 

On September 10, Marc Emery of Vancouver, BC, Canada was sentenced to five years in prison and four years of supervised release for conspiracy to manufacture marijuana. When indicted in 2005 he was the largest supplier of marijuana seeds in the United States, with 75 percent of sales to people in the United States. His seeds were linked to illegal grow operations across the nation. Emery now says he “arrogantly violated U.S. law,” and says he regrets that he did not use legal methods to support his beliefs. 

 

Emery was extradited in May 2010 from Canada.  In his plea agreement, he admitted to operating a marijuana seed distribution business known as Marc Emery Direct which sold marijuana seeds, grow equipment, and provided advice in various ways, including at a retail store located in Vancouver, British Columbia, and through mail and telephone orders.   

 

Click Here to Read the DEA Press Release

 

 

Guilty Plea for Gang Street Commander  

 

On September 14 Todd Duncan, the Baltimore city-wide commander of the Black Guerilla Family (BGF) pled guilty to conspiracy to conduct and participate in BGF activities. From 2006 through June 2010, Duncan participated in the drug trafficking activities of the gang, and as commander he at times acted as a source of supply of heroin to BGF members; operated street level heroin shops; utilized individuals to store, process and sell heroin; and arranged for the sale of bulk quantities of heroin to various wholesale customers. In addition, Duncan admitted that he had ultimate authority to authorize activities of the BGF in Baltimore such as drug trafficking, money laundering, commercial robberies, and retaliation against rival gangs which were discussed at meetings that he attended of high-ranking BGF members.    

 

BGF is a nationwide gang operating in prison facilities and in major cities throughout the United States.  Founded in California in the 1960s and introduced into the Maryland correctional system in the mid-1990s, BGF conducts its operations through a pattern of criminal activity, including: narcotics trafficking, robbery; extortion; bribery; retaliation against witnesses and informants; money laundering; and commercial robbery.   

 

Click Here to Read the DEA Press Release

 

__________________________________________________________________________________

 

DID YOU KNOW?

 

Ten years ago this month the Colombian National Police seized a partially constructed, 100 foot long, double-hulled steel submarine from a warehouse near Bogotá. This submarine was different from semi-submersible vessels that were already in use by traffickers as it could be completely submerged. If completed, this submarine would have been able to carry up to 10 tons of illicit drugs. This July the first fully operational submarine was seized. While only 30 feet long, it too could have been used to transport multi-ton quantities of drugs long distances fully submerged. To read about the partially completed submarine, click here (page 122). To read the press release for the recent seizure of a completed submarine, click here. 

OCT 05 -- WASHINGTON, D.C. – The United States Drug Enforcement Administration today announced the overwhelmingly successful results of the first-ever national prescription drug “Take-Back” campaign. The American public turned in more than 242,000 lbs of prescription drugs for safe and proper disposal. More than 4,000 take back sites were available in all 50 states this past Saturday, and Americans responded in huge numbers.

 

News Release [print-friendly page]
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 05, 2010

Contact: DEA Public Affairs
Number: 202-307-7977

 

American Public Overwhelmingly Responds to DEA Prescription Drug Take-Back Effort

 

OCT 05 -- WASHINGTON, D.C. – The United States Drug Enforcement Administration today announced the overwhelmingly successful results of the first-ever national prescription drug “Take-Back” campaign. The American public turned in more than 242,000 lbs of prescription drugs for safe and proper disposal. More than 4,000 take back sites were available in all 50 states this past Saturday, and Americans responded in huge numbers.

“The Take-Back Campaign was a stunning nationwide success that cleaned out more than 121 tons of pills from America’s medicine cabinets, a crucial step toward reducing the epidemic of prescription drug abuse that is plaguing this nation,” said DEA Acting Administrator Michele M. Leonhart. “Thanks to our state and local law enforcement and community partners—and the public—we not only removed these dangerous drugs from our homes, but also educated countless thousands of concerned citizens about the dangers of drug abuse.”

Congress cleared legislation for the President on Wednesday that will allow DEA to create a framework for a permanent solution for prescription drug disposal. Currently, there are no legal means to transfer possession of certain prescription drugs for disposal. Until permanent regulations are in place, however, DEA will continue to hold one-day take-back programs.

“I applaud Congress for recognizing the magnitude of this threat to public health and safety and passing the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010, which will provide Americans with safe, environmentally sound ways to dispose of unused or expired prescription drugs,” said Leonhart.

“I commend the DEA under Acting Administrator Leonhart’s leadership for its efforts in coordinating this important nationwide prescription drug take-back effort” said Office of National Drug Control Policy Director Kerlikowske.  “More than 70 percent of people who abuse prescription drugs get them from friends or family – often from the home medicine cabinet.  Expanding take-back efforts nationwide is a key strategy in preventing prescription drug diversion and abuse, while safeguarding the environment.” 

DEA and other law enforcement working at disposal sites around the country reported huge turnouts of people ridding their medicine cabinets of unused or unwanted drugs. For example, in Troy, Missouri, a man literally brought his kitchen drawer full of medication to the collection site to empty. At another site in Jacksonville, Ill., a woman brought in nearly 50 years’ worth of medicines for disposal.

This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. More than seven million Americans abuse prescription drugs, according to the 2009 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health. And every day, on average, 2,500 teens use them to get high for the first time, according to the Partnership for a Drug-Free America. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet.

Other participants in this initiative include the Partnership for a Drug-Free America; the International Association of Chiefs of Police; the National Association of Attorneys General; the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy; the Federation of State Medical Boards; and the National District Attorneys Association.

Click here for Drug-Take Back photos >>

Dateline DEA

DEA's Biweekly E-mail Informant

 

October 8, 2010

 

Top Stories from the DEA September 25 to October 8, 2010

____________________________________________________________________

 

 

Overwhelming Success: Drug Take-Back Day    

 

On October 5, DEA announced the results of the first-ever national prescription drug “Take-Back” campaign where the public turned in more than 242,000 lbs of prescription drugs for safe and proper disposal at more than 4,000 take back sites nationwide on September 25. In a related matter, Congress cleared legislation for the President to sign that will allow DEA to create a framework for a permanent solution for prescription drug disposal. Currently, there are no legal means to transfer possession of certain prescription drugs for disposal. DEA will continue to hold one-day take-back programs until permanent regulations are in place.

 

Click Here to Read the DEA Press Release

 

 

DEA, Postal Service Indict 20

 

On September 29 in San Juan , Puerto Rico , 20 individuals were indicted as a result of a DEA and U.S. Postal Service-led investigation. Defendants include mail carriers and involved American military bases.  Charges against various defendants included conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin, cocaine, and marijuana, and the use of firearms during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime.  DEA estimates that the traffickers involved shipped thousands of parcels, each containing between 20-25 pounds of marijuana, through the U.S. mail since 2003.  Conservative estimates by DEA indicate that in just the last three years traffickers where able to smuggle well over 50 tons of marijuana worth more than $150 million. The DEA investigation also revealed that the mail carriers also facilitated the shipment of firearms from the continental United States to Puerto Rico .

 

Click Here to Read the DEA Press Release

 

 

1.3 Tons of Cocaine Seized in NY/NJ

 

On September 28, charges were announced against 22 defendants, including nine longshoremen, arising out of a two-year investigation into criminal conduct at the Port of New York and New Jersey (the port). As part of the investigation, 1.3 metric tons of cocaine was seized. In addition to the cocaine charges, 11 were indicted in a $7 million “pump and dump” stock fraud scheme at the port that used social networking sites.   

 

The DEA-led investigation revealed that a Panamanian DTO was importing hundred-kilogram shipments of cocaine hidden inside containers into secure areas of the port.  During the investigation, a freight-forwarding operation was identified that removed the cocaine-laden containers and the cocaine, valued at over $34 million, which was seized from the Panamanian DTO and at the port.

 

The investigation into criminal conduct at the port also uncovered a sprawling, multimillion-dollar "pump and dump" stock fraud scheme that used multiple web sites, Facebook pages, and Twitter "feeds" to defraud investors into purchasing manipulated stocks.  The scheme was uncovered when investigators identified a longshoreman at the port who received money from others to generate trading volume that "pumped" stock prices in penny stocks (i.e., low-priced stocks that tend to have lower trading volume and higher volatility).

 

Click Here to Read the DEA Press Release

 

__________________________________________________________________________________

 

DID YOU KNOW?

 

The DEA has had offices in Mexico for more than four decades. The first office of the Bureau of Narcotics (DEA’s predecessor agency) in the Western Hemisphere outside of the United States was established in Mexico City and Monterrey , Mexico in 1963.  By the time DEA was created in 1973, there were five offices in Mexico , more than any other country.  Today, DEA has 11 offices in Mexico , with many other programs and offices focused on Mexico-based drug trafficking organizations, such as the Southwest Border Initiative, a cooperative enforcement to track drug traffic to and from source countries and the United States . For more information on DEA’s first offices in Mexico , click here (p 7). To learn more about the Southwest Border Initiative, click here. 

DEA Statement Regarding President Obama’s Signing
of the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act

 

DEA Statement Regarding President Obama’s Signing
of the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act

By signing the "Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act" into law today, the President has taken an important step in addressing the alarming rise in prescription drug abuse.  This bill will help reduce the diversion of prescription drugs that often sit in our own medicine cabinets far too long.  In fact, on September 25, the Drug Enforcement Administration, working with our state and local law enforcement partners, urged the public to turn in their unused, unwanted, or expired medications.  On just that one day alone, people from communities all across the nation removed more than 121 tons of pills from their family medicine cabinets.  The DEA will now work diligently to develop regulations that will allow people to dispose of their prescription medications in a responsible and safe manner, not just on one day, but every day.

Michele M. Leonhart

Acting Administrator

OCT 14 - ( LOS ANGELES) - In an agreement finalized late yesterday, CVS Pharmacy, Inc., the biggest operator of retail pharmacies in the United States, has admitted that it unlawfully sold pseudoephedrine to criminals who made methamphetamine. As part of the agreement with federal prosecutors, CVS has agreed to pay $75 million in civil penalties and to forfeit the $2.6 million in profits the company earned as a result of the illegal conduct.

 

October 14, 2010
Public Affairs
Number: 213-621-6827


CVS to Pay Largest Ever Civil Penalty Under
Controlled Substances Act
$77.6 million to be paid after retail pharmacy admits to unlawfully selling pseudoephedrine to criminals

OCT 14 - ( LOS ANGELES) - In an agreement finalized late yesterday, CVS Pharmacy, Inc., the biggest operator of retail pharmacies in the United States, has admitted that it unlawfully sold pseudoephedrine to criminals who made methamphetamine. As part of the agreement with federal prosecutors, CVS has agreed to pay $75 million in civil penalties and to forfeit the $2.6 million in profits the company earned as a result of the illegal conduct.

CVS Pharmacy, a subsidiary of CVS Caremark Corporation, failed to ensure compliance with laws limiting sales of pseudoephedrine, which allowed criminals to obtain a key ingredient used in the manufacture of methamphetamine from CVS stores located primarily in Los Angeles County; Orange County, California; and Clark County, Nevada. Between September 2007 and November 2008, CVS supplied large amounts of pseudoephedrine to methamphetamine traffickers in Southern California, and the company’s illegal sales led directly to an increase in methamphetamine production in California. CVS eventually changed its sales practices to prevent these illegal sales, but it did so only after it became aware of the government’s investigation.

The $75 million portion of the settlement represents the largest civil penalty ever paid under the Controlled Substances Act.

“This historic settlement underscores DEA’s commitment to protect the public’s health and safety against the scourge of methamphetamine,” said Michele M. Leonhart, the Acting Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration. “CVS’s flagrant violation of the law resulted in the company becoming a direct link in the methamphetamine supply chain. DEA will continue to work with its state and local counterparts to disrupt the supply of methamphetamine, including inhibiting access to chemicals, such as pseudoephedrine, used to produce methamphetamine.”

For full story please visit us at www.DEA.gov

Dateline DEA

DEA's Biweekly E-mail Informant

 

October 22, 2010

 

Top Stories from the DEA October 9 to October 22, 2010

 

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President Signs Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act

 

On October 12, President Obama signed into law the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act (S 3397). This law provides the authority for ultimate users who have lawfully obtained controlled substances to deliver them for disposal to entities authorized to engage in drug disposal in accordance with regulations issued by the Department of Justice.  DEA Acting Administrator Michele M. Leonhart said, “This bill will help reduce the diversion of prescription drugs that often sit in our own medicine cabinets far too long…The DEA will now work diligently to develop regulations that will allow people to dispose of their prescription medications in a responsible and safe manner, not just on one day, but every day.”

 

Click Here to Read the Complete Statement From the Acting Administrator

 

 

CVS to Pay Largest Civil Penalty in History of CSA

 

On October 13, CVS Pharmacy, Inc. admitted to unlawfully selling pseudoephedrine to criminals who used it to make methamphetamine.  As part of the agreement, CVS agreed to pay $75 million in civil penalties and forfeit the $2.6 million in profits the company earned as a result of the illegal conduct.  This is the largest civil penalty ever paid under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). 

 

CVS failed to ensure compliance with laws limiting sales of pseudoephedrine from stores located primarily in California and Nevada between September 2007 and November 2008.  “Smurfers” discovered that CVS, unlike other large chain retail pharmacies, allowed customers to make repeated purchases of pseudoephedrine that exceeded federal daily and monthly sales limits. They inundated their stores, sometimes cleaning out store shelves, and these sales led directly to an increase in methamphetamine production in California .

 

For more than a year, CVS failed to change its sales practices to prevent criminals from purchasing excessive amounts of pseudoephedrine at its stores, only changing its sales practices after it became aware of the government’s investigation.

 

Click Here to Read the DEA Press Release

 

 

Airline Employees Led Drug Trafficking Organization at JFK

 

On October 15 an indictment was unsealed charging Victor Bourne, a former American Airlines baggage handler, and Miguel Bozza, a dispatching crew chief, with drug trafficking and related charges.  Between 2000 and 2009, Bourne’s organization relied on corrupt employees of commercial airlines, including American Airlines, to smuggle drugs into the United States .  As part of its criminal activity, the organization arranged for cocaine to be stowed aboard American Airlines flights leaving the Caribbean for John F. Kennedy International Airport .  American Airlines, including Bozza, assigned crews of baggage handlers, who were also paid by the organization, to retrieve the cocaine upon arrival.  It is believed that the organization was responsible for importing more than 150 kilograms of cocaine and 5,000 kilograms of marijuana aboard cargo vessels into the United States .

 

Click Here to Read the DEA Press Release

 

OCT 25 -- SAN JUAN, PR – On October 20, 2010, a federal grand jury indicted sixty-eight (68) individuals as a result of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Bureau (ATF) and the Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD), announced today United States Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez. The defendants are charged in three separate two-count indictments, with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute narcotics and conspiracy to possess and use firearms during and in relation to a drug related offense.

 

News Release [print friendly page]
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 25, 2010
Contact: SA Waldo Santiago
Public Information Officer
Number: (787) 277-4700

DEA Investigation Results in 68 Individuals Indicted for
Drug Trafficking in Loíza, Puerto Rico

Forfeiture allegations for 16 million dollars

DEA SAC Javier F. Peña informs the news media of the preliminary results of the operation. From left to right Governor of Puerto Rico Luis G. Fortuño, DEA SAC Peña, PRPD Superintendent Jose Figueroa and ATF RAC Herbert Drake. DEA SAC Javier F. Peña discuss the progress of the operation with Governor of Puerto Rico, the Hon. Luis G. Fortuño.
DEA SAC Javier F. Peña informs the news media of the preliminary results of the operation. From left to right Governor of Puerto Rico Luis G. Fortuño, DEA SAC Peña, PRPD Superintendent Jose Figueroa and ATF RAC Herbert Drake.

DEA SAC Javier F. Peña discuss the progress of the operation with Governor of Puerto Rico, the Hon. Luis G. Fortuño.

OCT 25 -- SAN JUAN, PR – On October 20, 2010, a federal grand jury indicted sixty-eight (68) individuals as a result of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Bureau (ATF) and the Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD), announced today United States Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez. The defendants are charged in three separate two-count indictments, with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute narcotics and conspiracy to possess and use firearms during and in relation to a drug related offense.

The first indictment charges fifty-one (51) individuals from the Villa Cañona Ward II in Loíza, lead by Jeremil Escalera Rivera, aka “Jerry,” Luis Matta Quiñones, aka “Bala,” and Victor L. Matta Quiñones. These co-conspirators had many roles, in order to further the goals of the conspiracy, including: three (3) leaders and owners, two (2) enforcers, five (5) runners, forty-three (43) sellers, and three (3) facilitators and providers of storage facilities. Count two charges twenty-two (22) defendants with using and carrying firearms during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime. It was further part of the conspiracy that the leaders would distribute samples of narcotic substances among the drug addicts in order to have them test the narcotics.

DEA and PRPD agents place defendant into arrest. DEA special agent brings defendant to holding location.

DEA and PRPD agents place defendant into arrest.

DEA special agent brings defendant to holding location.

The second indictment charges ten (10) defendants in a drug trafficking organization that operated in Villa Cañona II ward since January 2007. This organization, lead by Alexander Rodríguez Ríos, aka “Alex Cano”, was selling crack and marijuana within one thousand (1,000) feet from the elementary public school Celso González Villaran and the María de la Cruz head Start pre-school. Three (3) co-conspirators are charged with conspiracy to use and possess firearms during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime.

For full story please visit us at www.DEA.gov.

OCT 27 -- SACRAMENTO, Calif. — United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner and Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Anthony D. Williams, announced today that Miguel Ruiz-Bravo, 39, of Apatzingan, Mexico, was sentenced today by United States District Judge Morrison C. England Jr. to 23 years and four months in prison for conspiring to distribute methamphetamine. Ruiz-Bravo pleaded guilty on June 24, 2010.

 

News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 27, 2010
Contact: Casey McEnry
Number: 415-436-7994


Head of Mexican Drug Trafficking Family Sentenced to
23 Year in Prison

OCT 27 -- SACRAMENTO, Calif. — United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner and Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Anthony D. Williams, announced today that Miguel Ruiz-Bravo, 39, of Apatzingan, Mexico, was sentenced today by United States District Judge Morrison C. England Jr. to 23 years and four months in prison for conspiring to distribute methamphetamine. Ruiz-Bravo pleaded guilty on June 24, 2010.

According to court documents in a separate matter, in March 2003, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents discovered an active methamphetamine laboratory in the Tehama County town of Corning. The agents arrested seven individuals and seized approximately 36 pounds of methamphetamine. These individuals were observed traveling in three different vehicles, all of which were registered in the names of aliases used by Miguel Ruiz-Bravo, who was believed to be in Mexico at the time of the arrests. One of the individuals arrested was the defendant’s brother, Alejandro Ruiz-Bravo, who pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

For full story please visit us at www.DEA.gov

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OCT 29 -- A multinational DEA operation led to the seizure of $55.9 million in heroin at four clandestine laboratories located in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan. The nearly one metric ton of narcotics was seized as a result of a large-scale joint narcotics enforcement operation by DEA, Afghan, and Russian anti-drug agents in Afghanistan

 

News Release [print-friendly page]
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 29, 2010
Contact: DEA Public Affairs
Number: 202-307-7977


Multi-National Operation Nets $55.9 Million Heroin Seizure in Afghanistan
First-ever joint mission for DEA, Afghan, and Russian drug agents nets nearly one metric ton of drugs

OCT 29 -- A multinational DEA operation led to the seizure of $55.9 million in heroin at four clandestine laboratories located in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan. The nearly one metric ton of narcotics was seized as a result of a large-scale joint narcotics enforcement operation by DEA, Afghan, and Russian anti-drug agents in Afghanistan.

Members of the U.S. military’s 101st Airborne Division, along with ISAF, took part in “Operation Tar Pit.”

Acting on DEA intelligence, the multinational task force was able to identify a major clandestine heroin laboratory in the Zerasari Village of the Achin District. Upon arrival at the site, agents discovered three additional labs hidden by vegetation. Evidence collected confirmed that all of the labs were actively producing heroin and morphine.

“Thanks to the close cooperation among DEA, Afghan, and Russian anti-drug personnel as well as U.S. Military and ISAF in Afghanistan, one metric ton of heroin was seized from four clandestine laboratories along with various precursor chemicals. Operation Tar Pit was a significant enforcement success due to the fearsome force multiplier arrayed against the narco-traffickers and insurgents,” said DEA Acting Administrator Michele M. Leonhart. “This nearly $60 million worth of heroin seized in Afghanistan will never find its way to vulnerable communities around the world.”

In addition to 932 kilograms of heroin and 156 kilograms of opium seized, the following precursor chemicals and materials were also confiscated: 10 liters of acetic anhydride, 15 kilograms of ammonium chloride, 10 kilograms of soda ash, 40 kilograms of charcoal, two mechanical heroin presses, three metal industrial cooking vats, and 500 feet of plastic irrigation equipment.?

An investigation into the drug trafficking organization responsible for operating the clandestine heroin labs is ongoing.

Photo Gallery

OCT 28 -- SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent in Charge Anthony D. Williams, announced today the culmination of an investigation into a marijuana growing ring based in San Joaquin County. This enforcement operation resulted in the service of federal search warrants in Tracy, Stockton, Manteca, and Nipomo, CA. As a result of the searches agents dismantled five indoor marijuana grow sites, and seized approximately 2,000 marijuana plants, 50 pounds of processed marijuana, three handguns (two of which were loaded), one shotgun, four vehicles (to include a Lexus, Hummer, & two BMW’s), two boats, and approximately $1.5 million. Six individuals were arrested on federal drug charges.

 

News Release [printer-friendly version]
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 28, 2010
Contact: Casey McEnry
Number: 415-436-7994

San Joaquin County Marijuana Cultivation Ring Busted
Marijuana, Loaded Handguns, High Value Vehicles, Boats, and Buried Cash Seized

OCT 28 -- SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent in Charge Anthony D. Williams, announced today the culmination of an investigation into a marijuana growing ring based in San Joaquin County. This enforcement operation resulted in the service of federal search warrants in Tracy, Stockton, Manteca, and Nipomo, CA. As a result of the searches agents dismantled five indoor marijuana grow sites, and seized approximately 2,000 marijuana plants, 50 pounds of processed marijuana, three handguns (two of which were loaded), one shotgun, four vehicles (to include a Lexus, Hummer, & two BMW’s), two boats, and approximately $1.5 million. Six individuals were arrested on federal drug charges.

“It appears that some members of this marijuana trafficking organization acquired a large amount of personal wealth, as evidenced by the assets seized in this investigation. Interagency cooperation was a key factor in locating and dismantling these marijuana grow sites,” stated DEA Special Agent in Charge Anthony D. Williams.

The DEA Sacramento District Office, San Leandro Police Department and the San Joaquin Metropolitan Narcotics Task Force (METRO) conducted this investigation. According to the affidavit in support of the criminal complaint, agents believe that the organization is led by Lonnie Terrell, 26, of Tracy, who is the financier and main profiteer of the group. During the course of the case, law enforcement identified multiple suspected indoor marijuana grow locations in San Joaquin County.

On October 27, 2010, law enforcement served multiple federal search warrants. As a result, five marijuana grows were discovered at residences in Manteca, Tracy, and Stockton. One of the indoor grow sites was within 1,000 feet of a public high school in Tracy. Large amounts of U.S. Currency were seized from Tracy residences. Additionally, officers found approximately $400,000 buried on the property at a residence related to the investigation in Nipomo, CA.

For full story please visit us at www.DEA.gov

# # # #

NOV 01 -- Joseph M. Arabit, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration–El Paso Division and United States Attorney John E. Murphy, announced the indictment and arrest of 56-year-old Deborah Morton, a teacher in the Midland Independent School District, for purchasing from and distributing controlled substances to former students.

 

News Release [printer-friendly page]
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: November 01, 2010
Dante Sorianello
(432) 686-4085

Midland Teacher and Three Others Arrested for
Distributing Controlled Substances to Former Students

NOV 01 -- Joseph M. Arabit, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration–El Paso Division and United States Attorney John E. Murphy, announced the indictment and arrest of 56-year-old Deborah Morton, a teacher in the Midland Independent School District, for purchasing from and distributing controlled substances to former students.

The indictment–returned on Wednesday and unsealed today–charges Morton with one count of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a school; one count of receiving a controlled substance from a minor; one count of maintaining a residence for the purpose of distributing and using a controlled substance; and, one count of distributing a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a school. Morton’s co-defendants–21-year-old David Bonilla of Midland, 22-year-old Eric Rodriguez of Midland, and 20-year-old Christian Porter of Midland–are charged in the conspiracy count. Bonilla is also charged with one count of distribution of methadone. Rodriguez is also charged with one count of possession with intent to distribute marijuana.

The indictment alleges that between September 2007 and October 13, 2010, Morton and the others conspired to distribute hydrocodone, methadone, oxycodone and marijuana at times within 1,000 feet of Alamo Junior High School. The indictment also alleges that Morton received Oxycontin from a minor and that she maintained a residence in the 4300 block of West Storey in Midland for the purpose of distributing and using methadone, hydrocodone and marijuana.

DEA agents arrested Morton yesterday in Lubbock. She remains in federal custody following her initial appearance today. She is awaiting transfer to the Western District of Texas. DEA agents arrested Bonilla and Rodriguez in Midland yesterday. They remain in federal custody following their initial appearances before United States Magistrate Judge David Counts this morning. Porter was taken into custody this morning, had his initial appearance before Judge Counts and was released on bond pending trial. Upon conviction of all charges, Morton faces a mandatory minimum of one year and up to 40 years in federal prison; Bonilla, Rodriguez and Porter, up to 20 years in federal prison.

This case is being investigated by special agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration. Assistant United States Attorney Brandi Young is prosecuting this case on behalf of the Government.

Allegations in indictments are merely accusations. All criminal defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

The DEA El Paso Division encourages parents, and their children to visit the following interactive websites at www.justhinktwice.com , www.GetSmartAboutDrugs.com and www.dea.gov .

NOV 03 -- SAN DIEGO – The San Diego Tunnel Task Force uncovered a sophisticated 600-yard underground cross-border tunnel overnight. Approximately 30 tons of marijuana seized in the US and Mexico have been linked to the tunnel. 

 

News Release [print friendly page]
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Amy Roderick
Number: 858-616-4166

Tunnel Task Force Discovers Cross Border Tunnel
30 tons of Marijuana Seized in Investigation

NOV 03 -- SAN DIEGO – The San Diego Tunnel Task Force uncovered a sophisticated 600-yard underground cross-border tunnel overnight. Approximately 30 tons of marijuana seized in the US and Mexico have been linked to the tunnel. 

The tunnel is described as a crawlspace-sized passageway, connecting an Otay Mesa warehouse in the 9000 block of Via de la Amistad with a similar building in Tijuana, Mexico. The tunnel is equipped with rail, lighting and ventilation systems.  Based upon preliminary indications, authorities believe the passageway was probably completed very recently. 

“I applaud the efforts of this skilled multi-agency task force of tenacious agents from DEA, ICE, Border Patrol and California Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement who uncovered this elaborate smuggling scheme leading to the massive marijuana haul and tunnel discovery,” said DEA Acting Administrator Michele M. Leonhart. “Not only will this seizure significantly disrupt the responsible cartel by stripping from it millions in potential drug profits, but it will also keep this dangerous and addictive drug off our streets and out of our neighborhoods. DEA, along with our law enforcement partners and Mexican counterparts, will remain relentless in our efforts to weaken and crush the Mexican cartels, both north and south of our US/Mexico border.”

While conducting surveillance in the Otay Mesa area yesterday, Task Force agents observed suspicious activity involving a tractor trailer truck parked at the warehouse where the tunnel entrance was later discovered.  After the truck left the location, agents kept it under surveillance, alerting the Border Patrol as it approached the traffic checkpoint in Temecula.  At the traffic checkpoint, Border Patrol agents stopped the vehicle and a subsequent search of the truck’s trailer revealed 10 tons of marijuana packed in large cargo boxes.  The vehicle’s driver and passenger were taken into custody and will be prosecuted on federal drug smuggling charges.

Following the seizure, Tunnel Task Force agents obtained a federal search warrant for the Otay Mesa warehouse.  When they entered the building Tuesday night they discovered a second cache of marijuana, weighing an estimated 15 tons, and the entrance to the cross-border tunnel.  Task Force agents quickly alerted Mexican military personnel who quickly located the tunnel’s other entrance at a warehouse in Tijuana.  Inside that building, Mexican authorities recovered another four tons of marijuana, bringing the estimated street value of the marijuana seized in the case so far at approximately $20 million. 

The discovery of the tunnel is the result of a continuing investigation by the San Diego Tunnel Task Force, which is made up of representatives from Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), U.S. Customs and Border Protection Border Patrol and California Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement.

Dateline DEA

DEA's Biweekly E-mail Informant

 

November 5, 2010

 

Top Stories from the DEA October 23 to November 5, 2010

____________________________________________________________________

 

68 Indicted, $16 Million Forfeited in Puerto Rico

It was announced on October 26 that a federal grand jury in Puerto Rico indicted 68 individuals in three separate indictments, including charges of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute narcotics, and conspiracy to possess and use firearms during and in relation to a drug-related offense. Ten of the defendants were charged with involvement in a drug trafficking organization that operated in Villa Cañona II ward in the municipality of Loiza and was run by Alexander Rodríguez Ríos, aka “Alex Cano.” This organization was found to be selling crack and marijuana within 1,000 feet of a Head Start preschool and an elementary public school. 

 

Click Here to Read the DEA Press Release

 

 

First Afghan/Russian/DEA Mission Nets $55.9 Million in Heroin   

On October 29 the DEA Operation Tar Pit led to the seizure of $55.9 million in heroin (932 kilograms) at four clandestine laboratories. It was the first ever large-scale joint narcotics enforcement operation by DEA, Afghan, and Russian anti-drug agents in Afghanistan . Acting on DEA intelligence, the multinational task force was able to identify a major clandestine heroin laboratory in Nangarhar Province , and upon arrival, agents discovered three additional labs.  Evidence collected confirmed that all of the labs were actively producing heroin and morphine. In addition to the heroin, 156 kilograms of opium were seized, along with precursor chemicals, mechanical heroin presses, industrial cooking vats, and irrigation equipment.

 

 Click Here to Read the DEA Press Release

 

 

30 Tons of Marijuana Seized from Cross Border Tunnel

On November 3 the San Diego Tunnel Task Force uncovered a sophisticated underground cross-border tunnel and seized about 30 tons of marijuana that was linked to the tunnel. The tunnel is about 600 yards long, connecting a warehouse in Otay Mesa , California with a similar building in Tijuana , Mexico .  Based upon preliminary indications, it is believed that the passageway, which contains rail, lighting, and ventilation systems, was probably completed very recently. 

 

Task Force agents observed suspicious activity involving a tractor trailer truck parked at the Otay Mesa warehouse.  After the truck left the warehouse, agents kept it under surveillance. At a traffic checkpoint, Border Patrol agents stopped the vehicle, where in a subsequent search, 10 tons of marijuana were found.  Following this seizure, agents obtained a federal search warrant for the Otay Mesa warehouse.  When they entered the building, a second cache of marijuana, estimated at 15 tons was discovered as well as the entrance to the tunnel.  Task Force agents quickly alerted Mexican military personnel who located the tunnel’s Mexican entrance where another four tons of marijuana were found.

 

Click Here to Read the DEA Press Release

NOV 05-- SAN FRANCISCO – The owner of an illegal Internet pharmacy yesterday pleaded guilty to distributing controlled substances outside the scope of professional medical practice, United States Attorney Melinda Haag and Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Anthony D. Williams announced.

 

News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 5, 2010
Contact: Casey McEnry
Number: 415-436-7994

Defendant Pleads Guilty in Connection with
Multi-Agency Pharmacy Investigation

Online Pharmacy Owner Targeted for Illegally Distributing Drugs

NOV 05-- SAN FRANCISCO – The owner of an illegal Internet pharmacy yesterday pleaded guilty to distributing controlled substances outside the scope of professional medical practice, United States Attorney Melinda Haag and Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Anthony D. Williams announced.

Robert Smoley, the owner of United Mail Pharmacy Services, pleaded guilty before United States District Court Judge Jeffrey White, admitting that between 2001 and February 2008, he and others distributed in excess of $48 million worth of controlled pharmaceutical substances. Smoley admitted that these distributions were done outside the scope of professional medical practice without a legitimate medical purpose. He pleaded guilty to Conspiracy to Distribute Schedule III and IV Controlled Substances, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846, and Conspiracy to Launder Money, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §1956(h).

“By illegally selling controlled pharmaceutical substances, Mr. Smoley demonstrated his disregard for the health, safety and well being of his customers as well as the law,” U.S. Attorney Haag said. “My office takes crimes like this seriously and will continue to work with our brothers and sisters in law enforcement to bring individuals such as this to justice.”

“The Smoley drug trafficking organization fed the habits of drug seekers while its members chose profits over the health and well being of those customers. This guilty plea demonstrates how collaborative law enforcement efforts can dismantle significant drug trafficking organizations. DEA and its law enforcement partners will aggressively pursue those who facilitate the diversion of pharmaceutical drugs,” stated DEA Special Agent in Charge Anthony D. Williams.

For full story please visit us at www.DEA.gov.

NOV 08 -- Baltimore, Maryland – On November 5, 2010, U.S. District Judge William D. Quarles, Jr. sentenced James Bostic, age 39, of Baltimore, Maryland to 210 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute more than 110 pounds of cocaine.

 

News Release
November 08, 2010
Contact: SA Melissa Bell
Public Information Officer
Number: 202-616-4740

Cocaine Supplied By Los Zetas Mexican Drug Cartel

NOV 08 -- Baltimore, Maryland – On November 5, 2010, U.S. District Judge William D. Quarles, Jr. sentenced James Bostic, age 39, of Baltimore, Maryland to 210 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute more than 110 pounds of cocaine.

The sentence was announced by Special Agent in Charge Ava Cooper-Davis of the Drug Enforcement Administration; United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Baltimore City State’s Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy; and Baltimore Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III.
“DEA’s investigation of James Bostic was a long-term, highly complex effort.” stated Ava A. Cooper-Davis, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration. "The sentence he received is another example of our success in the fight against major Mexican drug cartels operating in the United States,” stated Cooper-Davis

“A substantial portion of the illegal drugs distributed in Maryland are imported from the Mexican border,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. “This case demonstrates the international ties of a local drug dealer.”

According to Bostic’s plea agreement, from 2005 until February 2, 2010, Bostic received cocaine from the Los Zetas Mexican Drug Cartel, which he and other conspirators distributed.

For full story please visit us at www.DEA.gov.

NOV 12 -- (Manhattan, NY) JOHN P. GILBRIDE, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration's New York Field Division ("DEA"), BRIDGET G. BRENNAN, New York City Police Commissioner RAYMOND W. KELLY and New York State Police Acting Superintendent JOHN P. MELVILLE announced today the seizure of 13 kilograms of heroin worth approximately $6.5 million and the arrests of 4 individuals at an apartment building located at 417 W. 43 rd Street in Manhattan.

 

News Release
November 12, 2010
Erin McKenzie-Mulvey
Public Information Officer
(212) 337-2906

Heroin Mill Dismantled in Theater District: 28 Pounds of Drugs
worth $6.5 Million Seized

NOV 12 -- (Manhattan, NY) JOHN P. GILBRIDE, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration's New York Field Division ("DEA"), BRIDGET G. BRENNAN, New York City Police Commissioner RAYMOND W. KELLY and New York State Police Acting Superintendent JOHN P. MELVILLE announced today the seizure of 13 kilograms of heroin worth approximately $6.5 million and the arrests of 4 individuals at an apartment building located at 417 W. 43 rd Street in Manhattan.

As a result of this investigation, the DEA’s New York Drug Enforcement Task Force set up surveillance outside the apartment building over the past several days. Yesterday afternoon, investigators observed one individual worker exit the apartment building with a large plastic garbage bag and place it in a black BMW. The driver of the car attempted to speed off as investigators identified themselves and approached the car. His escape was blocked by traffic at the corner of 43 rd Street and 10 th Avenue and investigators were able to make the arrest. A garbage bag in the car contained refuse from heroin production, including damaged “glassine” envelopes and other packaging material.

Members of the DEA New York Drug Enforcement Task Force and Investigators from the Special Narcotics Prosecutor’s Office proceeded inside the apartment building to secure the heroin mill. They interrupted three heroin mill workers who had been busily packing heroin into user-ready “glassine” envelopes in the ground-floor, duplex apartment. Two workers tried to escape, leaving behind at least 250,000 glassines, much of it wrapped into bundles shrouded in glossy magazine paper. Each glassine sells for at least ten dollars on the street.

Piles of loose heroin and assorted drug packaging paraphernalia sat on tables where the defendants had been working assembly line-style. Several coffee grinders used to cut the drug with a diluting substance rested on the floor nearby. Many of the glassines were already stamped with the brand names, including “King Kong”, “Jersey Boys” and “95 South”, a reference to the interstate highway easily accessible through the nearby Lincoln Tunnel.

For full story please visit us at www.DEA.gov .

NOV 16 -- (Washington) – After more than two years of legal proceedings, alleged international arms dealer Viktor Bout has been extradited to the Southern District of New York from Thailand to stand trial on terrorism charges, the Justice Department announced today.

 

News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 16, 2010

Viktor Bout Extradited To The United States To Stand
Trial On Terrorism Charges

NOV 16 -- (Washington) – After more than two years of legal proceedings, alleged international arms dealer Viktor Bout has been extradited to the Southern District of New York from Thailand to stand trial on terrorism charges, the Justice Department announced today.

Bout arrived this evening on a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) charter plane and was brought to a high-security prison in Manhattan, where he will be held pending trial.  Bout, who also goes by many other names, including “Boris,” “Victor Anatoliyevich Bout,” “Victor But,” “Viktor Budd,” “Viktor Butt,” “Viktor Bulakin,” and “Vadim Markovich Aminov,” is scheduled to be presented in Manhattan federal court tomorrow afternoon before U.S. District Judge Shira A. Scheindlin, to whom the case has been assigned.

“Viktor Bout has been indicted in the United States, but his alleged arms trafficking activity and support of armed conflicts in Africa has been a cause of concern around the world.  His extradition is a victory for the rule of law worldwide,” Attorney General Eric Holder said.  “Long considered one of the world’s most prolific arms traffickers, Mr. Bout will now appear in federal court in Manhattan to answer to charges of conspiring to sell millions of dollars worth of weapons to a terrorist organization for use in trying to kill Americans.”

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said, “Viktor Bout allegedly jumped at the chance to arm narco-terrorists bent on killing Americans with an arsenal of military grade weapons.  Today’s successful extradition underscores our commitment to protect Americans on our own soil and throughout the world.  The historic operation culminating in today’s extradition would not have been possible without the courageous and groundbreaking work of our partners at the DEA.” 

“With Viktor Bout now behind bars in the United States, this defendant will finally face his most feared consequence: accountability for his alleged crimes in a court of law,” said Michele M. Leonhart, Acting Administrator of the DEA. “For more than a decade, Mr. Bout is alleged to have plied a deadly trade in surface-to-air missiles, land mines, bullets, death and destruction.  Fortunately, with his arrest, extradition, and pending prosecution in the Southern District of New York, his last alleged attempt to deal in death means that he will finally face justice.”

According to the indictment and other court documents:

Until his arrest in March 2008, Bout was an alleged international weapons trafficker.  To carry out his weapons trafficking business, Bout assembled a fleet of cargo airplanes capable of transporting weapons and military equipment to various parts of the world, including Africa, South America and the Middle East.  In 2004, as a result of his weapons trafficking activities in Liberia, the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) placed Bout on the Specially Designated Nationals list, which prohibits any transactions between Bout and any U.S. nationals, and freezes any of Bout’s assets that are within the jurisdiction of the United States.   

Between November 2007 and March 2008, Bout agreed to sell to the Colombian narco-terrorist organization, the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC),  millions of dollars worth of weapons -- including surface-to-air missile systems; armor piercing rocket launchers; AK-47 firearms; millions of rounds of ammunition; Russian spare parts for rifles; anti-personnel land mines; C-4 plastic explosives; night-vision equipment; “ultralight” aircraft that could be outfitted with grenade launchers and missiles; and unmanned aerial vehicles. 

The FARC is dedicated to the violent overthrow of the democratically-elected government of Colombia and is also the world’s largest supplier of cocaine.  Bout agreed to sell the weapons to two confidential sources working with the DEA (the “CSs”), who represented that they were acquiring these weapons for the FARC, with the specific understanding that the weapons were to be used to attack U.S. helicopters in Colombia. 

For full story please visit us at www.DEA.gov.

# # #

NOV 19 -- On November 17, 2010, federal, state and local law enforcement officers arrested ten Mexican nationals and executed a series of search warrants in the Albuquerque metropolitan area in connection with two Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) investigations targeting two major heroin trafficking organizations. More than twenty pounds of heroin were seized during yesterday’s enforcement action, one of the largest heroin seizures in New Mexico.

 

News Release 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: November 19, 2010
Diana Apodaca
915-832-6074

DEA Operations Dismantle Two Major Heroin Trafficking Organizations

NOV 19 -- On November 17, 2010, federal, state and local law enforcement officers arrested ten Mexican nationals and executed a series of search warrants in the Albuquerque metropolitan area in connection with two Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) investigations targeting two major heroin trafficking organizations. More than twenty pounds of heroin were seized during yesterday’s enforcement action, one of the largest heroin seizures in New Mexico.

The DEA investigations, code-named “Operation Brown Stone” and “Operation Sole Runner,” leading to yesterday’s arrests and seizures were designated as Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) operations. OCDETF is a nationwide program that combines the resources and unique expertise of federal agencies, along with their local counterparts, in a coordinated attack against major drug trafficking and money laundering organizations. Operation Brown Stone targeted an organization that allegedly distributed several kilograms of heroin in the Albuquerque area on a monthly basis in addition to distributing other narcotics including methamphetamine and marijuana. Operation Sole Runner was aimed at dismantling an organization that allegedly smuggled heroin from Mexico into New Mexico and then distributed the heroin throughout the country. The ten defendants, who generally are charged with unlawfully trafficking in heroin and methamphetamine in a series of criminal complaints, were presented before United States Magistrate Judge Robert Hayes Scott today. The defendants are detained pending preliminary hearings and detention hearings scheduled for November 19, 2010.

For full story please visit us at www.DEA.gov.  

Dateline DEA

DEA's Biweekly E-mail Informant

 

November 19, 2010

    

Top Stories from the DEA November 6 to November 19, 2010

____________________________________________________________________

 

 

Viktor Bout, “Lord of War” Extradited To U.S.

 

After more than two years of legal proceedings, alleged international arms dealer Viktor Bout was extradited to the United States from Thailand on November 16 to stand trial on terrorism charges.  Bout arrived in New York on a DEA charter plane and was brought to a high-security prison in Manhattan , where he will be held pending trial.    

 

Bout has been accused of using a fleet of cargo airplanes to transport weapons and military equipment to various parts of the world.  Specifically, between November 2007 and March 2008 Bout agreed to sell to the Colombian narco-terrorist organization Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC), which is also the world’s largest supplier of cocaine, millions of dollars worth of weapons. Bout negotiated the sale to two confidential sources that were acquiring these weapons for the FARC, with the specific understanding that the weapons were to be used to attack U.S. helicopters in Colombia .  These two confidential informants were in fact working with the DEA, and Bout was subsequently arrested. 

 

Click Here to Read the DEA Press Release

 

 

Major Baltimore Trafficker Receives Long Sentence

 

On November 5, James Bostic received a 210 month sentence for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute more than 110 pounds of cocaine.  From 2005 until this year this cocaine was supplied to him by the Mexico-based Los Zetas Drug Cartel.  In one incident, Bostic made a large cash payment to cartel representatives for previously obtained marijuana and cocaine at a hotel, and this meeting was recorded by law enforcement.  After the meeting, cartel representatives counted the money, placed it in heat-sealed bags, and hid it in a vehicle. The next day as they were leaving Maryland , a vehicle stop was conducted and $589,000 was recovered. On a separate occasion, Bostic met a cartel representative to obtain drugs in a hotel, and this meeting was also recorded by law enforcement.  At this meeting Bostic opened a suitcase given to him by the cartel representative, counted the cocaine, and left the room with the suitcase.  When he saw law enforcement officers, he dropped the suitcase and attempted to flee, however he was arrested in the parking lot.

 

Click Here to Read the DEA Press Release

 

 

Massive Assault Against La Familia Cartel

 

On November 8, the arrests of 45 defendants were announced in Atlanta , Georgia , along with the seizure of a methamphetamine laboratory; kilos of methamphetamine, kilos of cocaine; tons of marijuana, 20 weapons, and more than $2 million.  This was part of Operation Choke Hold which targets the distribution network of La Familia, a major Mexican drug trafficking organization that is heavily armed and utilizes violence to support its narcotics trafficking business including murders, kidnappings, and assaults. In May 2009, the Atlanta HIDTA Task Force initiated an investigation targeting elements of the cartel based in Atlanta . This organization distributed narcotics in the metro Atlanta area and shipped significant quantities to Florida , Alabama , Indiana , Illinois , and North Carolina .   

 

Click Here to Read the DEA Press Release

 

 

Major Drug Bust Near Times Square

 

On November 12, 13 kilograms of heroin worth approximately $6.5 million was seized and four individuals were arrested at an apartment building located at 417 W. 43rd Street in Manhattan near the theatre district.  A surveillance team that was set up outside the apartment building for several days observed an individual exit the apartment building with a large plastic garbage bag  t enter a car, and a chase ensued.  After successfully apprehending the suspects, the garbage bag was opened and it contained refuse from heroin production, including damaged “glassine” envelopes and other packaging material.  Law enforcement then proceeded to go inside the apartment where they found a heroin mill, three heroin mill workers, and at least 250,000 glassines. All told, 13 kilograms (28.6 pounds) of heroin was recovered.

 

Click Here to Read the DEA Press Release

 

NOV 20 -- (Manhattan, NY) JOHN P. GILBRIDE, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration's New York Field Division ("DEA"), PREET BHARARA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and JAMES T. HAYES, JR., the Special Agent-in-Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office of Homeland Security Investigations in New York ("ICE HSI"), announced the extradition of EDER PEDRAZA-PENA, a/k/a "Don Ramon", on charges that he conspired to import cocaine into the United States and to engage in maritime narcotics smuggling. PEDRAZA-PENA, 45, a citizen of Colombia and former commander in a right-wing Colombian paramilitary drug organization, arrived in the United States Thursday, November 18, 2010 and will make his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge FRANK MAAS on Friday, November 19, 2010. The case is assigned to U.S. District Judge RICHARD J. HOLWELL.

 

News Release
November 20, 2010
Erin McKenzie-Mulvey
Public Information Officer
(212) 337-2906

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Announces Extradition
of Colombian Paramilitary Leader to The United States
on Narcotics Trafficking Charges

NOV 20 -- (Manhattan, NY) JOHN P. GILBRIDE, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration's New York Field Division ("DEA"), PREET BHARARA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and JAMES T. HAYES, JR., the Special Agent-in-Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office of Homeland Security Investigations in New York ("ICE HSI"), announced the extradition of EDER PEDRAZA-PENA, a/k/a "Don Ramon", on charges that he conspired to import cocaine into the United States and to engage in maritime narcotics smuggling. PEDRAZA-PENA, 45, a citizen of Colombia and former commander in a right-wing Colombian paramilitary drug organization, arrived in the United States Thursday, November 18, 2010 and will make his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge FRANK MAAS on Friday, November 19, 2010. The case is assigned to U.S. District Judge RICHARD J. HOLWELL.

DEA Special Agent-in-Charge JOHN P. GILBRIDE said: "Eder Pedraza-Pena is charged with smuggling tons of cocaine into the United States and today he will face the consequences of his illegal enterprise. Time and time again, law enforcement investigates and identifies those individuals behind the scenes who are responsible for organizing illegal actions such as drug trafficking. This extradition is a statement for international, local, state and federal law enforcement that we will not tolerate drug trafficking in our communities and will continue to fully identify and investigate those who make millions off the sale of poison."

Manhattan U.S. Attorney PREET BHARARA said: "As we have charged, Pedraza-Pena was a ringleader of one of the most vicious and deadly narco-terrorist groups in South America. He bankrolled his organization, in part, by allegedly smuggling their poison into the United States. Today's extradition demonstrates once again that we will work seamlessly with our law enforcement partners both here and around the world to thwart those who are exporting their illegal trade and to prosecute them to the full extent of the law."

For full story please visit us at www.DEA.gov

 

NOV 22 November 22, 2010 – (Chicago) A retired Chicago police officer was arrested by DEA agents after he and three other new defendants were charged together with six previously charged defendants in an expanded federal racketeering (RICO) conspiracy indictment alleging acts of murder, kidnapping, robbery, narcotics distribution and obstruction of justice. A 10-count superseding indictment that was unsealed following three new arrests alleges two murders, six kidnappings and robberies, and three instances of distribution or attempted wholesale distribution of hundreds of kilograms of cocaine among a pattern of criminal activity spanning the decade from 1999 to 2009.

 

News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 22, 2010
Contact: SA Will Taylor

Number: 312-886-2597

Retired Chicago Police Officer Indicted in Rico Conspiracy
with Members of Alleged Drug Distribution Ring

Members accused of engaging in murders, kidnappings, robberies and obstruction of justice

NOV 22 November 22, 2010 – (Chicago) A retired Chicago police officer was arrested by DEA agents after he and three other new defendants were charged together with six previously charged defendants in an expanded federal racketeering (RICO) conspiracy indictment alleging acts of murder, kidnapping, robbery, narcotics distribution and obstruction of justice. A 10-count superseding indictment that was unsealed following three new arrests alleges two murders, six kidnappings and robberies, and three instances of distribution or attempted wholesale distribution of hundreds of kilograms of cocaine among a pattern of criminal activity spanning the decade from 1999 to 2009.

The arrests, which occurred on Friday, and charges were announced today by Patrick J. Fitzgerald, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Jack Riley, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration, and Alvin Patton, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division in Chicago. The investigation was conducted under the umbrella of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF).

Glenn Lewellen, a Chicago police officer from 1986 to 2002, allegedly provided information about ongoing federal criminal investigations into the defendants’ activities to certain members and associates of an alleged criminal organization consisting of eight of the 10 defendants and directed by Saul Rodriguez, known as the “Rodriguez Enterprise,” according to the indictment, which was returned last Thursday by a federal grand jury. Rodriguez and the other five defendants previously charged were arrested in April 2009 when they allegedly conspired to steal hundreds of kilograms of purported cocaine from a warehouse in southwest suburban Channahon.

Lewellen, 54, of Las Vegas, was arrested late Friday in Las Vegas. He was charged with racketeering conspiracy and conspiracy to distribute cocaine. Lewellen was not charged with participating in either of the two alleged murders, but he was charged with participating in a 2003 kidnapping and robbery of 100 kilograms of cocaine and cash, as well as other alleged narcotics activities. He was expected to have an initial appearance at 3 p.m. today (Pacific time) in Federal Court in Las Vegas on the charges filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago.

The charges also allege that Lewellen obstructed justice to protect and conceal the Rodriguez Enterprise’s illegal activities, including testifying falsely in a federal criminal trial in December 1999. In May of this year, promptly after obtaining evidence establishing the alleged false testimony, federal prosecutors disclosed the information and asked for, and obtained, a judge’s order releasing the defendant in that case from prison and vacating his narcotics-related conviction.

For full story please visit us at www.DEA.gov.  

NOV 24 -- WASHINGTON, D.C. – The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is using its emergency scheduling authority to temporarily control five chemicals (JWH-018, JWH-073, JWH-200, CP-47,497, and cannabicyclohexanol) used to make “fake pot” products.  Except as authorized by law, this action will make possessing and selling these chemicals or the products that contain them illegal in the U.S. for at least one year while the DEA and the United States Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) further study whether these chemicals and products should be permanently controlled. 

 

News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 24, 2010

Contact: DEA Public Affairs
Number: 202-307-7977

DEA Moves to Emergency Control Synthetic Marijuana
Agency Will Study Whether To Permanently Control Five Substances

NOV 24 -- WASHINGTON, D.C. – The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is using its emergency scheduling authority to temporarily control five chemicals (JWH-018, JWH-073, JWH-200, CP-47,497, and cannabicyclohexanol) used to make “fake pot” products.  Except as authorized by law, this action will make possessing and selling these chemicals or the products that contain them illegal in the U.S. for at least one year while the DEA and the United States Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) further study whether these chemicals and products should be permanently controlled. 

A Notice of Intent to Temporarily Control was published in the Federal Register today to alert the public to this action. After no fewer than 30 days, DEA will publish in the Federal Register a Final Rule to Temporarily Control these chemicals for at least 12 months with the possibility of a six-month extension. They will be designated as Schedule I substances, the most restrictive category, which is reserved for unsafe, highly abused substances with no medical usage.

Over the past year, smokable herbal blends marketed as being “legal” and providing a marijuana-like high, have become increasingly popular, particularly among teens and young adults.  These products consist of plant material that has been coated with research chemicals that mimic THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, and are sold at a variety of retail outlets, in head shops and over the Internet.  These chemicals, however, have not been approved by the FDA for human consumption and there is no oversight of the manufacturing process.  Brands such as “Spice,” “K2,” “Blaze,” and “Red X Dawn” are labeled as incense to mask their intended purpose. 

Since 2009, DEA has received an increasing number of reports from poison centers, hospitals and law enforcement regarding these products.  Fifteen states have already taken action to control one or more of these chemicals.  The Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984 amends the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) to allow the DEA Administrator to emergency schedule an abused, harmful, non-medical substance in order to avoid an imminent public health crisis while the formal rule-making procedures described in the CSA are being conducted. 

“The American public looks to the DEA to protect its children and communities from those who would exploit them for their own gain,” said DEA Acting Administrator Michele M. Leonhart.  “Makers of these harmful products mislead their customers into thinking that ‘fake pot’ is a harmless alternative to illegal drugs, but that is not the case.  Today’s action will call further attention to the risks of ingesting unknown compounds and will hopefully take away any incentive to try these products.”

 

# # #

NOV 30 -- (San Diego) This afternoon, the DEA San Diego Field Division’s Narcotics Task Force (NTF) along with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department and Health Advocates Rejecting Marijuana, (HARM) announce the total amount of illegal marijuana plants seized in San Diego County in 2010.

 

News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Public Affairs
Number: 202-307-7977

Narcotics Task Force Announces Marijuana Seizures
Numbers for 2010 are Released

NOV 30 -- (San Diego) This afternoon, the DEA San Diego Field Division’s Narcotics Task Force (NTF) along with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department and Health Advocates Rejecting Marijuana, (HARM) announce the total amount of illegal marijuana plants seized in San Diego County in 2010.

During calendar year 2010, NTF and our law enforcement partners seized over 378,243 marijuana plants from 165 separate grow locations – 89 outdoor sites and 76 indoor locations. At these locations, the investigators seized trafficker assets valued at approximately $700,000.00 dollars. 118 subjects were arrested in connection with these operations. Of additional significance is the fact that over 294,175 of these plants were removed from our public lands. That includes both U.S. Forest Service lands and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands. DEA/NTF will continue to intensify their efforts in this area and work with our National Guard, BLM, and US Forest Service partners and to halt the extensive environmental damage that these grows cause and to ensure that our public lands remain safe.

“DEA/NTF has a dedicated team, led by the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, whose purpose is solely to conduct marijuana eradication operations in San Diego County,” says DEA San Diego Special Agent in Charge Ralph W. Partridge. DEA/NTF and all our local, state and federal law enforcement partners are dedicated to keeping this dangerous drug off the streets of San Diego”.

For further information about marijuana cultivation, please refer to www.dea.gov.

DEC 01 -- (HOUSTON) – A four-count federal indictment charging Houston area residents with conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute phencyclidine (PCP) and three counts of possession with the intent to distribute PCP has been unsealed following the arrest of nine charged, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Thomas Hinojosa and United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.

 

News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: December 01, 2010
Contact: PIO Angela Dodge
Number: (713)-567-9000

Nine Houston Residents Arrested in Largest PCP Seizure in DEA History

DEC 01 -- (HOUSTON) – A four-count federal indictment charging Houston area residents with conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute phencyclidine (PCP) and three counts of possession with the intent to distribute PCP has been unsealed following the arrest of nine charged, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Thomas Hinojosa and United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.

The indictment, returned under seal by a Houston grand jury in November 2010, was unsealed today after a combined task force including the DEA, United States Marshals Service, Houston and Pasadena Police Departments, Harris and San Jacinto County Sheriff’s Offices and the Department of Public Safety arrested Andre Smith, 52, Samuel Joseph Jackson, 35, Tyrone Dewayne Roberson, 38, Michael Ardion, 50, Archie Deneshe Harris, 34, Cameo Deshawn McAfee, 24, Joseph Lamar Broussard, 37, Karola Johnson-Gant, 43, and Chatela Jackson, 32, all Houston residents.

Smith was arrested in Mississippi and will make an initial appearance there. Broussard was arrested in Louisiana, waived his initial appearance and is being transferred to Houston. The remaining seven defendants are expected to make their initial appearances tomorrow afternoon, Dec. 2, 2010, before United States Magistrate Judge John R. Froeschner in Houston. 

“The success of the investigation leading to today’s arrests is a result of the close and sustained cooperation between DEA and our law enforcement partners to target and remove drug trafficking organizations operating in and around the Houston metro area,” said Hinojosa. “This investigation highlights the ability of law enforcement agencies in Houston to work together to make our communities safer.”

Today’s arrests and the indictment are the result of an 18-month Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) Operation dubbed Scratch Off. During the course of the investigation, task force agents seized a total of 57 gallons of actual PCP, that is, the controlled substance itself rather than the chemical components used to manufacture the controlled substance, constituting the largest seizure of actual PCP in DEA history. 

For full story please visit us at www.DEA.gov

# # #

Dateline DEA

DEA's Biweekly E-mail Informant

 

December 3, 2010

 

Top Stories from the DEA November 20 to December 3, 2010

____________________________________________________________________

 

Largest PCP Seizure in DEA History Happens in Houston

On December 1, a four-count federal indictment charging nine Houston area residents with conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute phencyclidine (PCP) and three counts of possession with the intent to distribute PCP were unsealed following their arrest. These indictments were the result of an 18-month Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Operation dubbed Operation Scratch Off.  During the course of the investigation, task force agents seized a total of 57 gallons of finished product, making it the largest seizure of PCP in DEA history.

Click Here to Read the DEA Press Release

More Than 20 Tons of Marijuana Seized From Second Major Drug Tunnel 

 

On November 25, eight suspects were arrested and more than 20 tons of marijuana was seized as part of the San Diego Tunnel Task Force’s discovery of a cross-border passageway, one even more sophisticated than a similar tunnel uncovered in the area less than three weeks ago. This tunnel is a nearly half-mile long passageway with two entrances on the American side and in Tijuana , Mexico . In some places the tunnel reached a depth of 90 feet, with walls fortified with wood and cinderblock supports and advanced rail, electrical and ventilation systems. Over the past four years, federal authorities have detected more than 75 cross-border smuggling tunnels, most of them in California and Arizona .

 

Click Here to Read the DEA Press Release

 

 

DEA Moves to Control Synthetic Marijuana

On November 24, DEA used its emergency scheduling authority to temporarily control five chemicals (JWH-018, JWH-073, JWH-200, CP-47,497, and cannabicyclohexanol) that are used to make “fake pot” products.  After no fewer than 30 days DEA will publish in the Federal Register a Final Rule to temporarily control these chemicals for at least 12 months.  During that time DEA and the United States Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) will further study to determine if these chemicals and products should be permanently controlled. While under emergency scheduling they will be designated as Schedule I substances, the most restrictive category, which is reserved for unsafe, highly abused substances with no medical usage.

 

Click Here to Read the DEA Press Release

 

 

Former Chicago Police Officer Charged in Murder/Kidnapping/Drug Ring

 

On November 19, a retired Chicago police officer was arrested by DEA agents in Las Vegas after he and three other defendants were charged along with six previously charged defendants in a federal racketeering (RICO) conspiracy indictment alleging acts that include two murders, six kidnappings and robberies, and three instances of distributing hundreds of kilograms of cocaine in a pattern of criminal activity spanning from 1999 to 2009.

The former police officer, Glenn Lewellen
, allegedly provided information about ongoing federal criminal investigations to a criminal organization known as “The Rodriguez Enterprise,” directed by Saul Rodriguez and consisting of eight of the 10 defendants. Lewellen also obstructed justice to protect and conceal illegal activities, including testifying falsely in a federal criminal trial in December 1999. Rodriguez and the other five defendants previously charged were arrested in April 2009 when they allegedly conspired to steal hundreds of kilograms of cocaine. His initial appearance in federal court took place November 22.

Click Here to Read the DEA Press Release

 

 

Colombian Paramilitary Leader Extradited to U.S.

 

On November 19, Eder Pedraza-Pena, aka Don Ramon, was extradited from Colombia to the United States on charges of conspiracy to import cocaine into the United States and to engage in maritime narcotics smuggling. For at least a decade, Pedraza-Pena served as a Commander of the AUC, a Colombian right wing paramilitary organization. The AUC finances its terrorist activities through the proceeds of cocaine trafficking in AUC-controlled regions. Pedraza-Pena collected taxes from narcotics traffickers who transported cocaine through the region he controlled and he also trafficked in cocaine himself, with some of it destined for Central America , Mexico , and ultimately the United States . For example in January 2009, Pedraza-Pena arranged for a shipment of more than a ton of cocaine that was later seized by U.S. Coast Guard officers in international waters off the coast of Jamaica . Pedraza-Pena was arrested by Colombian authorities on October 11, 2009.

 

Click Here to Read the DEA Press Release

 

__________________________________________________________________________________

 

DID YOU KNOW?

 

Twenty years ago Manuel Noriega, the Commander of the Panamanian Defense Forces, surrendered to DEA after eluding capture following the December 1989 invasion of Panama .  Immediately after his surrender in January 1990 he was moved to Miami , Florida , and in September “the trial of the century” began there.  After eight months a jury reached a guilty verdict on eight of the ten counts in the indictment.  Earlier in 2010, at the conclusion of his 40 year sentence for drug trafficking (which was later reduced to 30 and then to 17 years), he was extradited to France for laundering drug proceeds.  In July a French court sentenced him to seven years in jail, and he remains in jail in France today.  For more information on DEA’s role in the arrest of Noriega, please click here (p 71) 

DEC 02 -- BOSTON, Mass. - Steve W. Derr, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Boston Field Division; United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis; and Joseph D. McDonald, Jr., Plymouth County Sheriff announced today TREVOR A. WATSON, 44, of Boston, was found guilty of attempted murder of a DEA informant, by a federal jury late this afternoon before U.S. District Court Judge William G. Young. The case was previously tried before Judge Young in October 2010, but resulted in a hung jury.

 

News Release
For Immediate Release
December 02, 2010
Contact: Special Agent Tony Pettigrew
Number: 617-557-2138

Boston Man Found Guilty by a Jury of Attempted Murder of a DEA Informant

DEC 02 -- BOSTON, Mass. - Steve W. Derr, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Boston Field Division; United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis; and Joseph D. McDonald, Jr., Plymouth County Sheriff announced today TREVOR A. WATSON, 44, of Boston, was found guilty of attempted murder of a DEA informant, by a federal jury late this afternoon before U.S. District Court Judge William G. Young. The case was previously tried before Judge Young in October 2010, but resulted in a hung jury.

The evidence at trial showed that on February 27, 2010, WATSON stabbed a DEA informant approximately 10 times outside of Ann’s Unisex Barbershop on Tremont Street in the South End of Boston. The informant survived the attack after emergency surgery at BMC to repair his damaged colon and intestine. While stabbing the informant, WATSON said, “you talking, huh? you telling.” According to testimony at trial, the DEA informant had provided information against WATSON in a federal cocaine trafficking investigation.

The evidence at trial also showed that WATSON was charged with the attempted murder of Boston Celtic Paul Pierce in 2002, but was acquitted by a jury after multiple eyewitnesses changed their testimony. WATSON attempted to get witnesses in this case, including the victim/DEA informant, to change their statements to help exonerate himself. The evidence showed that WATSON did this by writing letters, and making phone calls from prison to his associates. In those letters among other things, WATSON wrote, “I had introduced my lawyer to the fact that if the victim in my case was to sign an affidavit saying I’m not the guy who stabbed him, it was some Spanish guy about 30, which I am not either, I’ll be alright ...” and “The Paul Pierce case was the same way, but at trial he changed his statements and I got found not guilty of att. mur. (attempted murder).”

Judge Young scheduled sentencing for March 10, 2011. WATSON faces up to 30 years’ in prison.

###

 

DEC 09 -- WASHINGTON – Christian Fernando Borda and Alvaro Alvaran-Velez, two narcotics traffickers aligned with the Autodefenses Unidas de Colombia (AUC), were found guilty today in U.S. District Court of conspiring to import ton-quantities of cocaine into the United States, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division. The AUC is a Colombian paramilitary group designated by the U.S. Department of State as a foreign terrorist organization.

 

News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 09, 2010
Contact: Special Agent David Melenkevitz
Number: 954-660-4602

Leader of Colombian Drug Trafficking Organization and Associate Found Guilty of Conspiring to Import Multiple Tons of Cocaine into the United States

DEC 09 -- WASHINGTON – Christian Fernando Borda and Alvaro Alvaran-Velez, two narcotics traffickers aligned with the Autodefenses Unidas de Colombia (AUC), were found guilty today in U.S. District Court of conspiring to import ton-quantities of cocaine into the United States, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division. The AUC is a Colombian paramilitary group designated by the U.S. Department of State as a foreign terrorist organization.

The guilty verdicts returned today follow a seven-week trial before U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler in the District of Columbia. Borda, 46, and Alvaran-Velez, 56, who are Colombian nationals, were extradited from Colombia to the United States on Oct. 29, 2009, and trial began with jury selection on Oct. 21, 2010. Following two days of deliberations, the jury found Borda and Alvaran-Velez guilty of one count of conspiring to distribute cocaine with the knowledge and intent that it would be imported into the United States.

"These drug traffickers were responsible for facilitating the delivery of tons of cocaine from Colombia into the United States, and today 12 U.S. jurors found them guilty," said Assistant Attorney General Breuer. "Over the course of many years, the United States and Colombia have worked together to bring to justice in both countries the leaders and associates of these dangerous organizations, and today marks another milestone in that continued effort."

According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, between February 2005 and March 16, 2007, Borda and Alvaran-Velez were members of a major narcotics trafficking organization based in Colombia that transported multi-ton quantities of cocaine from Colombia to the United States via Mexico.

Borda, as the leader of this drug trafficking organization, obtained large amounts of cocaine from Colombian paramilitary sources and directed others in their drug trafficking activities. Alvaran-Velez, an associate of Borda, coordinated and facilitated shipments of cocaine through his Mexico contacts.

According to court documents and trial evidence, one of their shipments of cocaine in 2005 involved approximately 1,500 kilograms of cocaine that was smuggled in drums of palm oil on a ship departing from the north coast of Colombia. Additional cocaine shipments in 2005 and 2006 involved quantities of more than 3,000 kilograms per shipment.

For full story please visit us at www.DEA.gov

 


# # #

DEC 11 -- EL PASO – Joseph M. Arabit, Special Agent in Charge of the El Paso Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and John Murphy, United States Attorney for the Western District of Texas, announced today, December 11, 2010, that Jose Rodolfo ESCAJEDA, aka “Rikin,” was extradited by Mexico to the United States to stand trial on marijuana and cocaine trafficking charges. On this same date, as the result of a separate DEA investigation, Sergio Humberto LUJAN and Marco Antonio LUJAN also were extradited by Mexico to the United States to be sentenced on federal cocaine trafficking charges. The United States Marshals Service facilitated these extraditions.

 

News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: December 11, 2010
Diana Apodaca
915-832-6074

Three DEA El Paso Fugitives Extradited from Mexico

DEC 11 -- EL PASO – Joseph M. Arabit, Special Agent in Charge of the El Paso Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and John Murphy, United States Attorney for the Western District of Texas, announced today, December 11, 2010, that Jose Rodolfo ESCAJEDA, aka “Rikin,” was extradited by Mexico to the United States to stand trial on marijuana and cocaine trafficking charges. On this same date, as the result of a separate DEA investigation, Sergio Humberto LUJAN and Marco Antonio LUJAN also were extradited by Mexico to the United States to be sentenced on federal cocaine trafficking charges. The United States Marshals Service facilitated these extraditions.

ESCAJEDA and his drug trafficking organization (DTO) were the subjects of a DEA-led Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation, which resulted in his December 2006 indictment in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas. The ESCAJEDA DTO is based in Guadalupe, Chihuahua, Mexico, from which ESCAJEDA is alleged to have controlled a broad drug trafficking corridor and has been responsible for the transportation, storage, and importation of large quantities of marijuana and cocaine for Mexican cartels in the El Paso/Ciudad Juarez area. The United States formally sought ESCAJEDA’s extradition following his arrest by Mexican authorities in September 2009.

The LUJANs were members of a drug trafficking organization responsible for distributing large quantities of narcotics on the streets of El Paso, Texas. On January 14, 2009, Sergio Humberto LUJAN and Marco Antonio LUJAN pleaded guilty to drug trafficking charges in El Paso but thereafter failed to appear for sentencing as ordered by the court. In February 2010, the LUJANs were arrested in Mexico for extradition to the United States.

“The extraditions in these cases demonstrate the Mexican Government’s ongoing commitment to bringing drug traffickers to justice -- on both sides of the border,” said SAC Joseph Arabit.

The DEA El Paso Division encourages parents, and their children to visit the following interactive websites at www.justhinktwice.com, www.GetSmartAboutDrugs.com and www.dea.gov.

 

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15 December 15, 2010 (Chicago) — Three defendants facing federal narcotics charges in Chicago arrived here yesterday after being extradited from Mexico, federal law enforcement officials announced. All three were arrested in Mexico in May 2006 during a Mexican law enforcement raid on a laboratory in Toluca, Mexico, where synthetic fentanyl allegedly was being produced for importation into the United States where it was sold as a substitute for, or was purported to be, heroin. In late 2005 and early 2006, fentanyl-related deaths occurred among apparent drug-users in Chicago, Detroit and elsewhere. The charges against these three defendants resulted from an investigation that followed those deaths, but there are no allegations that these defendants were responsible for any deaths.

 

News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 15, 2010
Contact: SA Will Taylor

Number: 312-886-2597

Three Defendants Facing Federal Drug Charges in Chicago Among 15 Extradited From Mexico in Past Week

DEC 15 December 15, 2010 (Chicago) — Three defendants facing federal narcotics charges in Chicago arrived here yesterday after being extradited from Mexico, federal law enforcement officials announced. All three were arrested in Mexico in May 2006 during a Mexican law enforcement raid on a laboratory in Toluca, Mexico, where synthetic fentanyl allegedly was being produced for importation into the United States where it was sold as a substitute for, or was purported to be, heroin. In late 2005 and early 2006, fentanyl-related deaths occurred among apparent drug-users in Chicago, Detroit and elsewhere. The charges against these three defendants resulted from an investigation that followed those deaths, but there are no allegations that these defendants were responsible for any deaths.

The defendants are among a total of 15 individuals (12 of whom are charged with narcotics-related offenses) who have been extradited over the past week from Mexico to the United States to stand trial, to be sentenced or to serve sentences, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; Patrick J. Fitzgerald, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Jack Riley, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration.

The three defendants who arrived in Chicago today are: Oscar Jacobo Rivera-Peralta, 38; Ricardo Valdez-Torres, 56; and Alfredo Molina-Garcia, 45. Valdez-Torres and Molina-Garcia will appear at 11 a.m. Thursday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Arlander Keys, and Rivera-Peralta will appear at 10 a.m. Thursday before U.S. District Judge James Zagel in Federal Court in Chicago.

“Extraditions are an important tool we have to ensure that alleged criminals are brought to justice in this country,” said Assistant Attorney General Breuer. “Over the past decade, the Department of Justice has established stronger partnerships with Mexico in many areas of law enforcement, including extraditions to and from each country. With these extraditions of individuals who committed or stand charged with dangerous crimes, we look forward to seeing those partnerships continue to strengthen.”

Rivera-Peralta, also known as “Jacobo;” Valdez-Torres, aka “Cerebro” and “The Cooker,” and Molina-Garcia, aka “Guero,” were among 13 defendants who were indicted in 2007 for allegedly participating in a drug trafficking conspiracy between 2001 and May 2006 to possess and distribute multiple kilograms of cocaine and heroin and more than 400 grams of fentanyl. Six of the 13 defendants have pleaded guilty to narcotics-related charges, while four others remain fugitives. (U.S. v. Chavez, et al., 06 CR 138.)

For full story please visit us at www.DEA.gov.

Dateline DEA

DEA's Biweekly E-mail Informant

 

December 17, 2010

 

Top Stories from the DEA December 4 to December 17, 2010

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132 Indicted in Puerto Rico DEA/ATF Investigation   

 

On December 8, a federal grand jury indicted 132 in a six-count charge of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and the distribution of narcotics and controlled substances.  In addition, 20 of the defendants have been charged with carrying and using firearms during, and in relation to, a drug trafficking crime.  The defendants and their co-conspirators would purchase wholesale quantities of heroin, cocaine, marijuana, Xanax, and Percocet and distribute them. The leaders of this organization would divide among themselves and their subordinates the proceeds of the drug trafficking sales.  The members of the organization would use force, violence, and intimidation in order to gain and maintain control of their drug points in distribution locations in San Juan .

 

Click Here to Read the DEA Press Release

 

Three Fugitives Extradited from Mexico

 

Jose Rodolfo Escajeda, aka “Rikin,” Sergio Humberto Lujan and Marco Antonio Lujan, three fugitives wanted on federal drug trafficking charges, were extradited to the United States on December 11.  Escajeda and his drug trafficking organization (DTO) were the subjects of a DEA-led Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation, which resulted in his December 2006 indictment in the United States . Based in Guadalupe , Chihuahua , Mexico , this DTO is alleged to have controlled a broad drug trafficking corridor and was responsible for the transportation, storage, and importation of large quantities of marijuana and cocaine for Mexican cartels in the El Paso/Ciudad Juarez area. The Lujans were members of a different DTO responsible for distributing large quantities of narcotics on the streets of El Paso , Texas . On January 14, 2009, the Lujans plead guilty to drug trafficking charges in El Paso , however they failed to appear for sentencing, and in February 2010, they were arrested in Mexico for extradition to the United States .

 

Click Here to Read the DEA Press Release

Colombian Cocaine Traffickers Found Guilty  

 

On December 9, Christian Fernando Borda and Alvaro Alvaran-Velez, two narcotics traffickers aligned with the Autodefenses Unidas de Colombia (AUC), were found guilty of conspiring to import ton-quantities of cocaine into the United States . Borda, and Alvaran-Velez are Colombian nationals and were extradited from Colombia on October 29, 2009.

 

Borda, who was leader of this drug trafficking organization, obtained large amounts of cocaine from Colombian paramilitary sources and directed others in their drug trafficking activities. Alvaran-Velez, an associate of Borda, coordinated and facilitated shipments of cocaine through his Mexico contacts.  Some of these shipments were enormous in size.  For example, one of shipment in 2005 involved approximately 1,500 kilograms of cocaine smuggled in drums of palm oil, while other cocaine shipments in 2005 and 2006 involved quantities of more than 3,000 kilograms per shipment.

Click Here to Read the DEA Press Release

 

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DID YOU KNOW?

 

The DEA Museum and Visitors Center is open to the public and is an excellent resource for all Americans, young or old who want to learn the facts about drugs and drug law enforcement. Currently there are three exhibits at the museum: Illegal Drugs in America : A Modern History; Good Medicine, Bad Behavior: Drug Diversion in America ; and Cannabis, Coca and Poppy: Natures Addictive Plants. The Museum is located at 700 Army-Navy Drive in Arlington , Virginia , right across from the Pentagon City Mall and is open Tuesday-Friday, from 10 am to 4 pm. For more information about visiting the museum, donating artifacts, or making a tax-deductable contribution click here.

 

DEC 16 -- ATLANTA, GA – DEA and other law enforcement officials today announced that a federal customs officer based at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport has been arrested and charged along with 13 others for alleged drug trafficking in a large-scale investigation code-named “Operation Rude Beast.” At least four locations in the metro Atlanta area were the targets of search warrants executed today, as part of the investigation.

 

News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 16, 2010
Contact: DEA Public Affairs
(202) 307-7977

Federal Officer Indicted with 13 Others for Smuggling Guns and Money in the Airport
“Operation Rude Beast” Leads To One of the Largest Ecstasy Pill Seizures in United States History and Charges in Multiple Criminal Schemes

DEC 16 -- ATLANTA, GA – DEA and other law enforcement officials today announced that a federal customs officer based at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport has been arrested and charged along with 13 others for alleged drug trafficking in a large-scale investigation code-named “Operation Rude Beast.” At least four locations in the metro Atlanta area were the targets of search warrants executed today, as part of the investigation.

“The Drug Enforcement Administration is dedicated to working with federal, state and local law enforcement, not only to rid the streets of drugs, but to also to ensure the integrity of those who dedicate their lives to protecting the citizens of the United States,” DEA Atlanta Special Agent in Charge Rodney G. Benson said.  “Today's arrests show the continuing efforts by law enforcement to combat corruption and dismantle a major drug organization.”       

“This investigation involved a corrupt federal law enforcement officer at the airport who allegedly acted as a paid revolving door for drug money and criminal activity,” Ms. Yates said. “The amount of ecstasy in this case is staggering. It appears to be one of the largest such seizures in the country.  The criminal activity was allegedly so spread out that our law enforcement partners formed a task force just for this case. It ranges from large scale drug distribution to an illegal marriage fraud scheme.”

“Today's indictment reflects the outstanding law enforcement cooperation in this case that unmasked the illicit acts of a CBP officer,” said David P. D'Amato, Special Agent in Charge of the ICE Office of Professional Responsibility for the Southeast. “The law enforcement community here in Atlanta and around the country are committed to weeding out those whose acts tarnish the image of the many officers and agents who work tirelessly to keep our communities and country safe.”

In Jamaica, Assistant Police Commissioner Justin Felice of the Jamaican Constabulary Force, Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) said, “This case demonstrates the strong partnership between law enforcement agencies in the United States and Jamaica to combat corruption and bring those who would tarnish their public oaths to uphold the law to justice. The citizens of all countries need to know international cooperation between U.S. law enforcement agencies and the ACB is essential to reduce levels of transnational crime and maintain public confidence with law enforcement. Integrity is non-negotiable.”

“This investigation demonstrates the effectiveness and commitment of law enforcement agencies to prevent drugs from continuing to infiltrate our communities. The multi-jurisdictional cooperation exhibited in this investigation is evidence that pooled resources can make significant inroads in identifying and prosecuting individuals violating the law,”said DeKalb County Police Chief William O'Brien.

CBP Director of Field Operations Robert Gomez said, “Vigilance, Service to Country and Integrity are the core values central to carrying out our mission. One corrupt officer is too many. I applaud the great cooperation of all agencies who worked this case.”

IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Reginael D. McDaniel said,

“The indictments handed down on Operation Rude Beast are another testament to what can be accomplished when all levels of law enforcement work together.  Allegations involving the laundering of drug proceeds constitute a serious threat to our community,  to the integrity of our financial system, as well to our national security.”

For full story please visit us at www.DEA.gov.

DEA Investigation Leads to OFAC Designation of Lebanese-Based Drug Trafficking and Money Laundering Network

 

WASHINGTON – An ongoing DEA investigation led to actions by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) today designating Lebanese narcotics trafficker Ayman Joumaa, as well as nine individuals and 19 entities connected to his drug trafficking and money laundering organization as Specially Designated Narcotics Traffickers (SDNTs) pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act).

Ayman Joumaa has coordinated the transportation, distribution, and sale of multi-ton shipments of cocaine from South America and has laundered the proceeds from the sale of cocaine in Europe and the Middle East, according to investigations led by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Operating in Lebanon, West Africa, Panama and Colombia, Joumaa and his organization launder proceeds from their illicit activities – as much as $200 million per month – through various channels, including bulk cash smuggling operations and Lebanese exchange houses. As a result of today’s designations, U.S. persons are prohibited from conducting financial or commercial transactions with these individuals and entities and any assets the designees may have under U.S. jurisdiction are frozen. 

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Dateline DEA

DEA's Biweekly E-mail Informant

 

January 28, 2011

   

Top Stories from the Drug Enforcement Administration, January 15 to January 28, 2011

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Major Money Laundering/Drug Trafficking Network Designated Drug Kingpins

 

It was announced January 26 that an ongoing DEA investigation led the U.S. Treasury Department to designate Lebanese narcotics trafficker Ayman Joumaa, nine individuals, as well as 19 entities connected to him as Specially Designated Narcotics Traffickers pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act. This designation means that U.S. persons are prohibited from conducting financial or commercial transactions with these individuals and entities, and any assets they may have under U.S. jurisdiction are frozen.

 

According to DEA investigations, Ayman Joumaa coordinated the transportation, distribution, and sale of multi-ton shipments of cocaine from South America and the sale of vast quantities of cocaine in Europe and the Middle East over many years. In addition, from operations in Lebanon, West Africa, Panama and Colombia, Joumaa and his organization laundered proceeds from their illicit activities – as much as $200 million per month – through various channels, including bulk cash smuggling operations and Lebanese exchange houses.

 

“Ayman Joumaa and his organization can no longer hide behind front companies with their drug trafficking profits,” said DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart. “These are not legitimate businesses. These are illegal enterprises that fuel the drug trade and its violence and corruption. As we continue to follow the money trail, we starve these traffickers of their assets and eventually put their criminal networks out of business.”

 

Click Here to Read the DEA Press Release 

 

 

Operation Spider Web Snags Cocaine, Meth, Weapons, $1 Million in Atlanta

 

On January 20, federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), concluded search and arrest actions in Cobb County Georgia. As a result of this operation, which stemmed from a large scale investigation code-named Operation Spider Web, 15 individuals were indicted for alleged drug trafficking and firearms related crimes. The organization these traffickers were associated with allegedly coordinated the receipt and distribution of cocaine, methamphetamine, and marijuana throughout Atlanta and elsewhere, using firearms in furtherance of their activities. The indictment alleges that members of the organization hid, transported, and stored illegal drugs and drug money inside of tires that were then either placed on or inside drug delivery vehicles. As part of the takedown, agents seized 22 guns, several kilograms of cocaine and methamphetamine, a meth lab, over $30,000, and several vehicles. These seizures supplement the approximately $1,000,000, 75 kilograms of cocaine, over 11 pounds of methamphetamine, 16 firearms, and two grenade hulls already seized as part of the investigation.

 

Click Here to Read the DEA Press Release

 

 

Black Guerilla Family (BGF) Gang Leader Sentenced for Drug Trafficking

 

On January 20 Todd Duncan, a/k/a Donnie, age 36, of Baltimore, Maryland was sentenced to 14 years in prison for conspiracy to conduct and participate in the activities of the BGF, a racketeering enterprise. According to his plea agreement BGF is a nationwide gang operating in prison facilities and in major cities throughout the United States and conducts its affairs through a pattern of criminal activity, including narcotics trafficking, robbery; extortion; bribery; retaliation against a witness or informant; money laundering, and commercial robbery. From 2006 through June 2010, Duncan was a member of BGF and participated in the drug trafficking activities of the gang, acting as the overall city-wide commander of BGF, and at times as a source of supply of heroin to members of the BGF. The BGF under his leadership operated street level heroin shops; utilized individuals to store, process and sell heroin for his enrichment and for the enrichment of BGF; and arranged for the sale of bulk quantities of heroin to various wholesale customers.  

 

Click Here to Read the DEA Press Release

 

 

Los Angeles Street Gang Targeted in Federal Racketeering Indictment

 

On January 19 a joint federal-state law enforcement operation arrested 27 people linked to a Lennox 13 street gang that engaged in violent crimes, extortion, and narcotics trafficking.  Nearly 500 law enforcement personnel were involved in this operation, with the centerpiece of the investigation being an 11-count indictment alleging violations of the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.  Lennox 13 was formed in the mid-1960s by Mexican-Americans in the Lennox area of Los Angeles County. Lennox 13 now consists of approximately 650 members. The indictment alleges that drug sales comprised the bulk of the gang’s profits, engaged in extortion, and used the profits of its illegal activities to purchase weapons, drugs and to conduct other gang related activity.

 

Click Here to Read the DEA Press Release

 

Operation Four Horsemen Results in Millions Going Back to Law Enforcement Agencies

Millions Seized in Major Drug Case; Five Agencies to Share $8 Million

 

ATLANTA - In a brief presentation at the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Atlanta Division today, millions of dollars in seized assets from the two-year investigation code-named Operation Four Horsemen were distributed to law enforcement agencies who contributed hours and efforts in the case. The investigation was led by DEA and coordinated through the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force program.

“This investigation further reveals that the greater Atlanta area has become the hub of operations for Mexican cartel groups who seek to destroy lives by distributing a multitude of illegal drugs in the Eastern United States,” said DEA Atlanta Field Division Special Agent in Charge Rodney G. Benson. “The seizure of large sums of U.S. currency from this organization severely disrupted its operations. Today's sharing of these forfeited funds are a direct result of the great working relationship that DEA continues to have with its federal, state and local counterparts.”

Visit DEA.gov to read more.

Dateline DEA

DEA's Biweekly E-mail Informant

 

February 11, 2011

 

Top Stories from the Drug Enforcement Administration, January 29 to February 11, 2011

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Designation of Bank as Money Laundering Concern, Ties to Hizballah, Drug Trafficking

 

On February 10 DEA and the Department of the Treasury announced that the Lebanese-Canadian Bank SAL, together with its subsidiaries was now a financial institution of primary money laundering concern under Section 311 of the USA PATRIOT Act. This action also exposes the terrorist organization Hizballah’s links to LCB and its international narcotics trafficking and money laundering network.

 

Several individuals involved in this global drug trafficking and money laundering network hold or utilize cash deposit accounts at LCB to move hundreds of millions of dollars monthly from illicit drug sales into the formal financial system and coordinated the laundering of these funds through key foreign nodes of the network using LCB accounts. Drug Kingpin Ayman Joumaa and his Lebanon-based drug trafficking and money laundering network, along with several other individuals have used LCB to launder narcotics proceeds – as much as $200 million per month – as part of this international money laundering network. On January 26, Treasury designated Joumaa along with nine individuals and 19 entities in his network as Specially Designated Narcotics Traffickers pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act.

 

“The Lebanese Canadian Bank for years has participated in a sophisticated money laundering scheme involving used cars purchased in the United States and consumer goods overseas. Thanks to DEA-led operations, as well as today's Treasury action, we are exposing and disrupting this money laundering network and its connections to global drug trafficking and Hizballah,” said DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart.

 

Click Here to Read the DEA Press Release

 

International Internet Drug Distributor Sentenced in Operation Dutch Connection after Extradition to U.S.

 

GAINESVILLE, Ga. - L'Houssain Mahdioui, 37, of Amsterdam, Netherlands, was sentenced today by Senior United States District Judge William O’Kelley to federal prison on charges of conspiring to possess with the intent to distribute methamphetamine and the importation of LSD into the United States. Mahdioui, who was extradited to the United States to face sentencing today, was the final defendant to be sentenced in the case code-named Operation Dutch Connection. A second defendant involved in the drug scheme is already serving a federal prison sentence.

“This case speaks to the importance of international law enforcement cooperation. DEA has a robust foreign presence in a number of countries,” said Rodney G. Benson, Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Atlanta Field Division. “In this case, that cooperation led to the successful extradition and prosecution of this international poly-drug trafficker.”

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