“Sentencing Commission in sweeping review of prison terms for drug dealers”

August 16, 2013

The Guardian on August 15, 2013 released the following:

By: Dan Roberts in Washington

“The US Sentencing Commission has voted unanimously to begin a sweeping review of federal sentences for drug dealers in a move that could herald long-awaited reductions in America’s prison population.

Just days after attorney general Eric Holder called for a new approach to the so-called “war on drugs”, the commission met in Washington to agree a new policy priority that potentially goes far further than the Department of Justice can in lowering sentences.

As anticipated, the independent government agency, which issues sentencing guidelines to federal judges, will now spend the next few weeks reviewing its “drug quantity table” – the grid that determines prison lengths for dozens of different categories of offence – before publishing new recommendations in January.

A reduction in sentencing guidelines could still be blocked by Congress, but Holder’s speech on Monday has coincided with a new mood of reform in Washington that reverses decades of political pressure to increase penalties for drug dealers. His comments were welcomed by Senate judiciary committee chair Patrick Leahy and leading Republicans such as senator Rand Paul.

Currently the guidelines in the commission’s drug quantity table can result in first-time offenders facing sentences of 19 to 24 years, with no parole, for possession of the maximum quantities of heroin, crack or methamphetamine. Even dealers caught with 100g of cocaine can face between 27 and 33 months, according to the table.

A number of specific offences are also subject to mandatory minimum sentences prescribed by Congress, although Holder instructed US prosecutors on Monday to begin circumventing such automatic terms by changing the way they bring charges.

The seven commissioners who voted on the sentencing panel, including five senior judges, are now thought likely to go much further than this by formulating across-the-board changes to the recommended sentences.

Speaking afterwards, Dabney Friedrich, a former associate counsel in the Bush White House who sits on the commission, told the Guardian she thought that pressure in Congress to control the cost of the US prison system would be a key factor in ensuring political support for such a move.

The Department of Justice also issued a supportive statement on Thursday, which welcomed the commission’s progress.

“As the attorney general expressed earlier this week, we think there is much to be done to improve federal sentencing and corrections,” said DOJ official Jonathan Wroblewski. “Moreover, we think the US Sentencing Commission has a very big role to play in shaping that reform.”

In a statement issued after its meeting, the commission noted that drug offenders account for nearly half of all federal inmates, and that “an adjustment to the drug quantity tables in the sentencing guidelines could have a significant impact on sentence lengths and prison populations.”

“With a growing crisis in federal prison populations and budgets, it is timely and important for us to examine mandatory minimum penalties and drug sentences, which contribute significantly to the federal prison population,” added Judge Patti Saris, chair of the commission.

“The Commission is looking forward to a serious and thoughtful reconsideration of some of the sentencing guidelines which most strongly impact the federal criminal justice system,” she said. “I am glad that members of Congress from both parties and the Attorney General are
engaged in similar efforts.”

The Commission also pledged to work with Congress to reduce the “severity and scope of mandatory minimum penalties and consider expanding the ‘safety valve’ statute which exempts certain low-level non-violent
offenders from mandatory minimum penalties”. It will pass its final amendments to Congress in May.

Political reaction to the recent sentencing developments has been broadly positive. Senator Leahy said was pleased at Holder’s call for a review of mandatory minimum sentences.

Although he believes long sentences are appropriate in some cases, but the veteran Democrat said it believes judges should be given more flexibility rather than relying on mandatory requirements.

Others have expressed concern however at the new mood sweeping Washington.

William Otis, a former federal prosecutor at Georgetown University, said stiffer sentences in recent decades had contributed to lower crime rates.

“Two generations ago, in the 1960s and 1970s, our country had the wholly discretionary sentencing system Holder admires. For our trouble, we got a national crime wave,” he wrote in a USA Today op-ed.

“We have every right to instruct judges that some offenses are just too awful to allow an overly sympathetic jurist to burst through a congressionally established floor.””

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

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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 Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

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.


“Dominican national arrested at Houston airport for allegedly importing cocaine by ingesting pellets”

May 15, 2013

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on May 14, 2013 released the following:

“HOUSTON — A citizen of the Dominican Republic was arrested at the airport Saturday for allegedly importing cocaine by ingesting 53 pellets of the drug, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson, Southern District of Texas.

The investigation leading to these charges was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

Mikkail Antonio Nolasco Jimenez, 27, was arrested at Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) after it was determined he had allegedly ingested 53 pellets containing cocaine.

The criminal complaint filed Tuesday alleges that on May 11 Jimenez arrived aboard a flight from Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago bound for New York. HSI special agents became suspicious when Jimenez provided inconsistent statements. Upon further investigation, they discovered anomalies in his body resembling pellets believed to contain a controlled substance. Jimenez was then transported and admitted to an area hospital.

Jimenez allegedly expelled a total of 53 pellets, containing a substance that field tested positive for cocaine, according to the complaint.

Jimenez made his initial appearance May 14 before U.S Magistrate Judge Stephen William Smith, at which time he was ordered into custody pending a May 16 detention hearing.

Upon conviction, Jimenez faces a mandatory minimum of five and up to 40 years in prison each for importing cocaine, and conspiracy to import cocaine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Stuart A. Burns, Southern District of Texas, is prosecuting the case.

A criminal complaint is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.”

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

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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 Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

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.


Federal Drug Charges Dropped Because of Too Much Evidence

August 16, 2012

CBS News on August 15, 2012 released the following:

“IOWA CITY, Iowa — A fugitive doctor charged in the nation’s largest prosecution of Internet pharmacies is getting off in part because there’s just too much evidence in his case: more than 400,000 documents and two terabytes of electronic data that federal authorities say is expensive to maintain.

Armando Angulo was indicted in 2007 in a multimillion dollar scheme that involved selling prescription drugs to patients who were never examined or even interviewed by a physician. A federal judge in Iowa dismissed the charge last week at the request of prosecutors, who want to throw out the many records collected over their nine-year investigation to free up more space.

The Miami doctor fled to his native Panama after coming under investigation in 2004, and Panamanian authorities say they do not extradite their own citizens. Given the unlikelihood of capturing Angulo and the inconvenience of maintaining so much evidence, prosecutors gave up the long pursuit.

“Continued storage of these materials is difficult and expensive,” wrote Stephanie Rose, the U.S. attorney for northern Iowa. She called the task “an economic and practical hardship” for the Drug Enforcement Administration.

The case started in 2003 with a raid of a small Iowa drugstore and eventually secured the conviction of 26 defendants, including 19 doctors. The investigation dismantled two Internet pharmacies that illegally sold 30 million pills to customers. Investigators also recovered $7 million, most of which went to Iowa police agencies that helped with the case.

When a major drug suspect flees the country, federal authorities often leave the charges pending in case the fugitive tries to sneak back into the U.S. or a country with a friendly extradition process. But in Angulo’s case, the volume of evidence posed a bigger burden.

The evidence took up 5 percent of the DEA’s worldwide electronic storage. Agents had also kept several hundred boxes of paper containing 440,000 documents, plus dozens of computers, servers and other bulky items.

Two terabytes is enough to store the text of 2 million novels, or roughly 625,000 copies of “War and Peace.”

Two-terabyte memory drives are widely available for $100, but the DEA’s data server must be relatively small and may need replacement, a costly and risky proposition for an agency that must maintain the integrity of documents, said University of Iowa computer scientist Douglas Jones.

“A responsible organization doesn’t upgrade every time new technology is available. That’s all they would be doing,” Jones said. “But the result is you end up in situations like this where the capacity they have is not quite up to the incredible volume of data involved.”

Randy Stock, who runs the website whatsabyte.com, which explains electronic storage, said he doubted that storing the data would have been that problematic for the government.

“I’m thinking that excuse is just their easy way out,” he wrote in an e-mail.

U.S. District Judge Linda Reade dismissed the case with prejudice, meaning it cannot be refiled.

Angulo, 59, was accused of improperly authorizing thousands of prescriptions for pain pills, diet medication and other drugs while working for Pharmacom International Corp., a Florida-based Internet company that operated from 2003 to 2004.

The company’s doctors approved prescriptions without examining patients, communicating with them or verifying their identities, prosecutors said. Three Pharmacom officials and a person who recruited doctors were sentenced to prison. Eight physicians pleaded guilty to conspiracy to illegally distribute controlled substances and launder the proceeds.

The investigation began after agents raided the Union Family Pharmacy in Dubuque and found evidence that it had illegally dispensed medication over a six-month period for Pharmacom and another Internet company, Medical Web Services, which pleaded guilty. Eleven of its physicians were also prosecuted.

Angulo fled to Panama around the time Florida regulators suspended his medical license for prescribing controlled substances to Medicaid patients “in excessive quantities and without medical justification.” An audit found his prescriptions cost Medicaid $6.5 million over six years and caused addiction and dangerous health risks.

Investigators know Angulo’s whereabouts in Panama, which has an extradition treaty with the U.S. to return fugitives. But a spokeswoman for the Panamanian Embassy in Washington said the country never received a formal extradition petition for Angulo and that the country’s constitution bars the extradition of Panamanian citizens.

The dismissal of the charges does not mean Angulo is free to return to the U.S. He is still listed as one of Florida’s most wanted criminals and is being sought for separate Medicaid fraud and narcotics charges in that state.”

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

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

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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 Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

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.


FBI Agents Search Robert Gentile’s Home in Connecticut

May 10, 2012

Fox News on May 10, 2012 released the following:

“Agents swarm reputed mobster’s home in Conn.

Associated Press

HARTFORD, Conn. – FBI agents on Thursday searched the property of a reputed Connecticut mobster who is suspected of withholding information about an infamous unsolved art heist in Boston.

Dozens of agents dug in the yard and removed boxes of evidence from the ranch-style Manchester home of 75-year-old Robert Gentile, who has been detained since February on federal drug and weapons charges.

A lawyer for Gentile, A. Ryan McGuigan, said the FBI was searching his client’s property for a second time because the agency had a new warrant allowing the use of ground-penetrating radar to look for buried weapons. McGuigan said he believes agents are really looking for stolen paintings but will find no such thing.

“This is nonsense,” McGuigan said. “This is the FBI. Are you trying to tell me they missed something the first time? They’re trying to find $500 million of stolen artwork. … All they’re going to find is night crawlers.”

A federal prosecutor said in March the FBI believes Gentile had some involvement with stolen property related to the 1990 heist at Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the largest art robbery in history. Thieves stole masterworks by Rembrandt, Vermeer, Degas and Manet worth more than a half-billion dollars.

McGuigan said Gentile doesn’t know anything about the art heist.

A U.S. attorney’s office spokesman declined to comment. A message left with an FBI spokesman was not immediately returned.

Gentile was arrested three months ago on a charge of selling illegally obtained prescription painkillers. Federal agents say they seized three revolvers, numerous rounds of ammunition and home-made silencers during a Feb. 10 search of Gentile’s home.

Gentile was arraigned last month on weapons charges. He leaned on a cane as he slowly rose before a judge in federal court in Hartford to plead not guilty to three charges.

McGuigan has said prosecutors were “piling on” with the gun charges.

Gentile was convicted of larceny in 1996. Convicted felons may not possess firearms or ammunition that have been transported across state lines or from overseas. Federal law also prohibits possession of a silencer unless it’s been registered.

Each of the three charges carries a maximum prison term of 10 years and a fine of up to $250,000.

Authorities say FBI agents have had unproductive discussions with Gentile about the art theft.”

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

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

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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 Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

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.


U.S. Agents Aided Mexican Drug Trafficker to Infiltrate His Criminal Ring

January 9, 2012
Harold Mauricio Poveda-Ortega, an accused Colombian drug trafficker - DEA
(Photo: Reuters) Harold Mauricio Poveda-Ortega, an accused Colombian drug trafficker, in custody in 2010.

The New York Times on January 9, 2012 released the following:

“By GINGER THOMPSON

WASHINGTON — American drug enforcement agents posing as money launderers secretly helped a powerful Mexican drug trafficker and his principal Colombian cocaine supplier move millions in drug proceeds around the world, as part of an effort to infiltrate and dismantle the criminal organizations wreaking havoc south of the border, according to newly obtained Mexican government documents.

The documents, part of an extradition order by the Mexican Foreign Ministry against the Colombian supplier, describe American counternarcotics agents, Mexican law enforcement officials and a Colombian informant working undercover together over several months in 2007. Together, they conducted numerous wire transfers of tens of thousands of dollars at a time, smuggled millions of dollars in bulk cash — and escorted at least one large shipment of cocaine from Ecuador to Dallas to Madrid.

The extradition order — obtained by the Mexican magazine emeequis and shared with The New York Times — includes testimony by a Drug Enforcement Administration special agent who oversaw a covert money laundering investigation against a Colombian trafficker named Harold Mauricio Poveda-Ortega, also known as “The Rabbit.” He is accused of having sent some 150 tons of cocaine to Mexico between 2000 and 2010. Much of that cocaine, the authorities said, was destined for the United States.

Last month, The Times reported that these kinds of operations had begun in Mexico as part of the drug agency’s expanding role in that country’s fight against organized crime. The newly obtained documents provide rare details of the extent of that cooperation and the ways that it blurs the lines between fighting and facilitating crime.

Morris Panner, a former assistant United States attorney who is an adviser at the Center for International Criminal Justice at Harvard, said there were inherent risks in international law enforcement operations. “The same rules required domestically do not apply when agencies are operating overseas,” he said, “so the agencies can be forced to make up the rules as they go along.” Speaking about the

Drug Enforcement Agency’s money laundering activities, he said: “It’s a slippery slope. If it’s not careful, the United States could end up helping the bad guys more than hurting them.”

Shown copies of the documents, a Justice Department spokesman did not dispute their authenticity, but declined to make an official available to speak about them. But in a written statement, the D.E.A. strongly defended its activities, saying that they had allowed the authorities in Mexico to kill or capture dozens of high-ranking and midlevel traffickers.

“Transnational organized groups can be defeated only by transnational law enforcement cooperation,” the agency wrote. “Such cooperation requires that law enforcement agencies — often from multiple countries — coordinate their activities, while at the same time always acting within their respective laws and authorities.”

The documents make clear that it can take years for these investigations to yield results. They show that in 2007 the authorities infiltrated Mr. Poveda-Ortega’s operations. Mr. Poveda-Ortega was considered the principal cocaine supplier to the Mexican drug cartel leader Arturo Beltran Leyva. Two years later, Mexican security forces caught up with and killed Mr. Beltran Leyva in a gunfight about an hour outside of Mexico City.

As for Mr. Poveda-Ortega, in 2008 he escaped a raid on his mansion outside Mexico City in which the authorities detained 15 of his associates and seized hundreds of thousands of dollars, along with two pet lions. But the authorities finally captured him in Mexico City in November 2010.

According to the newly obtained documents, Mexico agreed to extradite Mr. Poveda-Ortega to the United States last May. But the American authorities refused to say whether the extradition had occurred.

“That’s how long these investigations take,” said an American official in Mexico who would speak only on the condition that he not be identified discussing secret law enforcement operations. “They are an enormously complicated undertaking when it involves money laundering, wires, everything.”

The documents, which read in some parts like a dry legal affidavit and in others like a script for a B-movie, underscore that complexity. They mix mind-numbing lists of dates and amounts of illegal wire transfers that were conducted during the course of the investigation.

One scene described in the documents depicts the informant making deals to launder money during meetings with traffickers at a Mexico City shopping mall. Another describes undercover D.E.A. agents in Texas posing as pilots, offering to transport cocaine around the world for $1,000 per kilo.

Those accounts come from the testimony by a D.E.A. special agent who described himself as a 12-year veteran and a resident of Texas. There is also testimony by a Colombian informant who posed as a money launderer and began collaborating with the D.E.A. after he was arrested on drug charges in 2003. The Times is withholding the agent’s and the informant’s names for security reasons.

In January 2007, the informant reached out to associates of Mr. Poveda-Ortega and began talking his way into a series of money-laundering jobs — each one bigger than the last — that helped him win the confidence of low-level traffickers and ultimately gain access to the kingpins.

A handful of undercover D.E.A. agents, according to the documents, posed as associates to the informant, including the two who offered their services as pilots and another who told the traffickers that he had several businesses that gave him access to bank accounts that the traffickers could use to deposit and disperse their drug money.

In June 2007, the traffickers bit, asking the informant to give them an account number for their deposits. And over a four-day period in July, they transferred tens of thousands of dollars at a time from money exchange houses in Mexico into an account the D.E.A. had established at a Bank of America branch in Dallas.

According to the testimony, the traffickers’ deposits totaled $1 million. And on the traffickers’ instructions, the informant withdrew the money and the D.E.A. arranged for it to be delivered to someone in Panama.

Testimony by the informant suggests that the traffickers were pleased with the service.

“At the beginning of August 2007, Harry asked my help receiving $3 million to $4 million in American money to be laundered,” the informant testified, referring to one of the Colombian traffickers involved in the investigation. “During subsequent recorded telephone calls I told Harry I couldn’t handle that much money.” Still, the informant and the D.E.A. tried to keep up. On one occasion, they enlisted a Mexican undercover law enforcement agent to pick up $499,250 from their trafficking targets in Mexico City. And a month later, that same agent picked up another load valued at more than $1 million.

The more the money flowed, the stronger the relationship became between the informants and the traffickers. In one candid conversation, the traffickers boasted about who was able to move the biggest loads of money, the way fishermen brag about their catches. One said he could easily move $4 million to $5 million a month. Then the others spoke about the tricks of the trade, including how they had used various methods, including prepaid debit cards and an Herbalife account, to move the money.

The next day, the informant was summoned to his first meeting in Mexico City with Mr. Poveda-Ortega and Mr. Beltran Leyva, who asked him to help them ship a 330-kilogram load to Spain from Ecuador. The documents say the shipment was transported over two weeks in October, with undercover Ecuadorean agents retrieving the cocaine from a tour bus in Quito and American agents testing its purity in Dallas before sending it on to Madrid.

The testimony describes the informant reassuring the traffickers in code, using words like “girlfriend” or “chick” to refer to the cocaine, and saying that she had arrived just fine. But in reality, the testimony indicates, the Spanish authorities, tipped off in advance by the D.E.A., seized the load shortly after its arrival, rather than risk losing it.”

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

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

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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.


FBI arrests 13 on federal drug charges in Fallsburg, Liberty and Monticello

December 13, 2011

Times Herald-Record on December 13, 2011 released the following:

“An FBI-led task force arrested 13 people on federal narcotics charges during coordinated raids at homes in Fallsburg, Liberty and Monticello late Monday night and early Tuesday morning.

Around 100 members of the Hudson Valley Safe Streets Task Force, whose members include FBI agents and local and state police, took part in the raids. Task force members were still looking for a 14th suspect as of 7 a.m.

“These folks are not nickel-and-dime dealers,” said Monticello Police Chief Doug Solomon. “They’re a little bit higher up the food chain.”

The suspects were driven to the FBI’s regional office in Goshen. They are expected to be arraigned later Tuesday in federal court in White Plains.

The suspects are believed to be members or associates of the Bloods gang. Their arrests cap a two-year investigation into narcotics trafficking and gang activity by the task force

“The likely prison sentences that these defendants are going to be facing is going to make everyone think twice,” said Solomon. “I’ll be on Social Security when some of these guys get out.””

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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.


Thirty-Six Defendants with Alleged Ties to Hells Angels Motorcycle Club Charged in Federal Drug Conspiracy Investigation

September 30, 2011

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on September 29, 2011 released the following:

“Keith Slotter, Special Agent in Charge of the San Diego FBI office, announces the arrest of 26 people with ties to the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club. Six defendants were already in custody and four are considered fugitives at this time.

On Thursday, September 29, 2011, over 250 law enforcement officers, deputies, and agents from San Diego County participated in arrests and searches of individuals and locations with ties to the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club.

Twenty-six people were arrested today on federal drug charges, and 19 locations searched. The searches resulted in the seizure of thousands of dollars in U.S. currency, 10 firearms, and quantities of drugs.

The charges in this matter stem from a two-year investigation conducted by the FBI’s Violent Crime Gang Task Force. The investigation focused on the methamphetamine trafficking and violent crimes committed by the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club (San Diego Charter) and their criminal partners. As set forth in the complaint, the defendants are members and associates of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club. During this investigation agents and detectives prevented a kidnapping.

The complaint charges the following defendants with Title 21, United States Code, Section 841(a)(1), 846-Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine.

  • Michael Edward Ottinger Jr. (1)
  • David Raymond Garcia (2)
  • Ernesto Verdugo Jr. (3)
  • Jonathan Alfredo Garcia-Jara (4)
  • Robert Cota Jr. (5)
  • Martin Francisco Moreno (6)
  • Jaime Mota-Marquillo (7)
  • Hugo Gomez Flores (8)
  • Rory Cruz Flanigan (9)
  • Jason Alex Scanlon (10)
  • Stephan Paul Vukelich (11)
  • Eduardo Andres Sarquiz (12)
  • Juan Antonio Mendez (13)
  • Philip John Castagnola (14)
  • Billy Manuel Castellano (15)
  • Daniel Joseph Seiler (16)
  • Grant Eugent Bisel Jr. (17)
  • Cynthia Marie Stephan (18)
  • Matthew Joseph Mooney (19)
  • Cheryl Marie Frega (20)
  • Darrel Lee Cooper (21)
  • Robert Blaine Hodges (22)
  • Mercedes Nina Cohen (23)
  • Bruce Kevin Lambert (24)
  • Jason Michael Bradford (25)
  • Douglas Edward Witcher (26)
  • Phalen Farber (27)
  • Tina Marie Bray (28)
  • Derek Ralph Low (29)
  • Mary Elizabeth Saber (30)
  • Martin Thomas Forschner (31)
  • Quinton Lynn Koonce II (32)
  • Anthony James Medvec (33)
  • Andre Guy Almarez (34)

Charged in a separate complaint were Patrick James Haggerty and Leo David Garcia, Jr. Both were charged with Title 21, United States Code, Section 841(a) (1), 846-Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine.

Members of the FBI Violent Crime Gang Task Force are as follows: San Diego Police Department, San Diego Sheriff’s Department, Bureau of Prisons, National City Police Department, Chula Vista Police Department, Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Attorney’s Office, San Diego District Attorney’s Office, and San Diego County Probation Department.

Those arrested in today’s operation have been booked into the Metropolitan Correctional Center and will have their initial appearance before a U.S. Magistrate Judge on Friday, September 30, 2011. This case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

An arrest itself is not evidence that the defendants committed crimes charged. The defendants are presumed innocent until the government meets its burden in court of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.”

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.

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