15 Arrests in an Alleged International Online Drug Probe

April 16, 2012

Associated Press on April 16, 2012 released the following:

“By ROBERT JABLON

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A sophisticated online drug marketplace that sold everything from marijuana to mescaline to some 3,000 people around the world has been cracked with the arrests of 15 people in several countries, U.S. authorities announced Monday.

An indictment unsealed in federal court in Los Angeles claims eight men ran “The Farmer’s Market,” which allowed suppliers of drugs – including LSD, Ecstasy and ketamine – to anonymously sell their wares online. They hooked up with buyers in 34 countries and accepted various forms of payment, including cash, Western Union and PayPal transactions, the indictment claims.

From 2007 to 2009 alone, the marketplace processed more than 5,000 orders for drugs valued at more than $1 million, federal officials contended. It began operations as far back as March 2006, authorities said.

The market “provided a controlled substances storefront, order forms, online forums, customer service, and payment methods for the different sources of supply” and charged the suppliers a commission based upon the value of the order, according to a statement from the U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles.

“For customers, the operators screened all sources of supply and guaranteed delivery of the illegal drugs,” the statement said.

The alleged ringleader, Dutch citizen Marc Willems, 42, was arrested Monday at his home in Lelystad in the Netherlands, officials said.

Michael Evron, 42, a United States citizen living in Buenos Aires, Argentina, was taken into custody on Sunday in Bogota, Colombia, authorities said.

The other six men were arrested at their homes. They are identified as Jonathan Colbeck, 51, of Urbana, Iowa; Brian Colbeck, 47, of Coldwater, Mich.; Ryan Rawls, 31, of Alpharetta, Ga.; Jonathan Dugan, 27, of North Babylon, N.Y.; George Matzek, 20, of Secaucus, N.J.; and Charles Bigras, 37, of Melbourne, Fla.

It was not immediately clear whether the men had obtained lawyers.

The 12-count indictment charges all eight men with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and money laundering conspiracy. Some of the men also are charged with distributing LSD and taking part in a continuing criminal enterprise.

All could face a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted of conspiracy.

In addition, seven other people were arrested on suspicion of drug crimes Monday in the Netherlands, Georgia, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey, and authorities seized hallucinogenic mushrooms, hashish, LSD, marijuana and Ecstasy, the U.S. attorney’s office said.

The investigation led to those arrests, but authorities still were trying to determine their connections to the online marketplace, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin S. Rosenberg.

The two-year investigation, dubbed “Operation Adam Bomb, “involved law enforcement agents from several U.S. states and several countries, including Colombia, the Netherlands and Scotland, the U.S. attorney’s office said.

The case was filed in Los Angeles because some of the customers and an undercover agent who bought drugs through the marketplace are from the area, Rosenberg said.

“Illegal narcotics trafficking now reaches every corner of our world, including our home computers,” U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte Jr. said in the statement. “But the reach of the law is just as long. … We want to make the Internet a safe and secure marketplace by rooting out and prosecuting those persons who seek to illegally pervert and exploit that market.”

The marketplace “was distributing dangerous and addictive drugs to every corner of the world, and trying to hide their activities through the use of advanced anonymizing online technology,” said Briane M. Grey, acting special agent in charge of the Los Angeles Field Division for the Drug Enforcement Administration.

The marketplace allegedly used the Tor network, which spreads website and email communications through a volunteer network of servers around the world in order to mask Internet address information.

Tor originally was developed at a project of the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory to protect government communications. The free software and open network is used to prevent websites from tracking users, getting access to websites blocked by Internet providers, and providing anonymity for online users and online publishers. It is used by “normal people, the military, journalists, law enforcement officers, activists, and many others,” according to the Tor Project website.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Drug Trafficking Conspiracy Indictment Expanded

January 27, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on January 26, 2012 released the following:

“ANCHORAGE— United States Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced today, January 26, 2012, that on January 20, 2012, an Anchorage grand jury expanded a previously charged drug trafficking conspiracy involving Kostas Nikolaos Bairamis, Melissa Dawn Cue, BJ Griffith, William Gilbert, and Justin Clayton Ray Lane to charge three additional defendants: Homer resident Timothy Daniel Cissney, age 33; Christopher Sean Kendrick, age 36, from California; and Aaron O’Kito Dyson, aka “Punchy,” age 37, from Washington. The indictment alleges one count of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 846, 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(C).

According to the indictment presented to the court, defendants conspired to distribute oxycodone and methadone between at least June 17, 2010, and October 5, 2010. Bairamis has been convicted of conspiring to distribute methamphetamine during a different time period and has been sentenced to served 11 years on that separate charge. Both Cue and Griffith have been previously indicted by a grand jury in the District of Nevada. Those charges remain pending.

Assistant United States Attorney Kimberly Sayers-Fay, who presented the case to the grand jury, advised that the maximum penalties for conspiring to distribute oxycodone and methadone are 20 years’ imprisonment, a $1,000,000 fine, three years’ supervised release, and a $100 special assessment.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and Alaska State Troopers conducted the investigation the led to the indictments in this case.

An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government must prove guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

————————————————————–

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Keith Alan Hasson (a.k.a. Psyche) Added to the U.S. Marshals 15 Most Wanted as a Suspected Federal Criminal Drug Kingpin

June 7, 2011

The U.S. Marshals Service on June 6, 2011 released the following press release:

“U.S. Marshals Add Drug Kingpin To 15 Most Wanted

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Marshals have added a suspected drug kingpin to their 15 Most Wanted fugitive list. Keith Hasson is wanted on a 2005 open indictment from the New Mexico U.S. District Court for conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, continuing criminal enterprise and conspiracy to launder money.

Hasson, 45, is considered to be the leader of a criminal enterprise responsible for large- scale distribution of cocaine and marijuana throughout the United States. His organization operated from 1999 to 2005, generating more than $20 million in cash and assets.

Hasson’s brother, Anthony Hasson, received more than 24 years in prison for his conviction in the same criminal case.

Hasson has an extensive criminal history dating back to 1981, including arrests for attempted murder, robbery, assault with a deadly weapon, vehicle theft, burglary and possession with intent to distribute. Hasson is also wanted for questioning in two gang murders. He has a previous federal conviction for conspiracy to deliver cocaine.

“Only a handful of fugitives have as far-reaching a criminal enterprise, or such an extensive, continued history of violent behavior as Keith Hasson,” said Geoff Shank, Assistant Director of Operations for the U.S. Marshals Service. “We are committed to bringing him in and ending his three-decades-long history of criminal behavior.”

Hasson has family ties and associates across the United States including Arizona, California, Nevada, Texas, Missouri, New York, North Carolina and Georgia.

Investigators believe Hasson has access to significant financial resources and likely continues to organize criminal enterprise.

“Today, the Marshals Service in the District of New Mexico has become a force multiplier, with the law enforcement resources of the Marshals Service from throughout the entire 94 federal districts, coalesced with a unified goal of identifying the whereabouts of this extremely dangerous 15 Most Wanted fugitive,” said Conrad E. Candelaria, U.S. Marshal for the District of New Mexico. “A unified goal so that fugitive Hasson can be taken into custody and held accountable and answer to the many horrendous crimes that he has committed. I would also encourage each and every citizen to be watchful of fugitive Hasson as he is a danger to our community and in all likelihood is committing and endangering our communities and citizens with criminal and violent behavior.”

Hasson is 6 feet tall and weighs 175 pounds. He has black hair and brown eyes. He has tattoos on both arms and is known to use the aliases Keith Osborne, Dennis Osborne Phillips, Kevin Russell, Larry John Morrison, Taylor Jackson, Anthony Hasson, Tony Hasson and Dewayne Hasson.”

Attached is Keith Hasson’s Indictment

To find additional federal criminal news, please read The Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN List Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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