FBI: “Twenty-Six People Indicted in Drug Trafficking Conspiracy in Toledo”

August 25, 2014

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on August 21, 2014 released the following:

“Twenty-six people were indicted for their roles in a conspiracy to bring large amounts of heroin, cocaine and marijuana to Toledo from Arizona, California, Illinois and Mexico, law enforcement officials said.

The 55-count federal indictment was announced by Steven M. Dettelbach, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, Stephen D. Anthony, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Cleveland office, Toledo Police Chief William Moton and Lucas County Sheriff John Tharp.

“Heroin abuse is an epidemic in our community that takes lives and destroys families,” Dettelbach said. “We will continue to target drug traffickers while also working to reduce demand and get treatment for those who need it.”

“This is another example of the international drug trafficking connections that are plaguing our communities with danger and heroin,” Anthony said. “The FBI will continue collaborative law enforcement efforts to combat these violent organizations.”

“Through the working relationship that has been developed between the Toledo Police Metro Drug Task Force and the Federal Bureau of Investigation we have become more efficient in targeting the mid- and upper-level heroin dealers in Toledo and surrounding communities,” said Toledo Police Chief William Moton. “These arrests are a byproduct of this successful collaboration. The City of Toledo and surrounding areas are the benefactors of these efforts as the spread of heroin has the potential to deteriorate the standard of living in our community.”

Those indicted are from Toledo unless otherwise noted. They are:

Alejandro Garcia, 44; Regina Navarro, 36; Osvaldo Perez, 60; Sean Machaterre, 31; Dicki Isom, 33; Federico Perez, 25; Daryl Mickles, Jr., 31; Keith Hubbell, 30; David Berrera, Jr., 40; Santos Flores, 34, of Oregon, Ohio; Juan Montano, 35; Daniel Montano, 26; Yousvani Gacita, 34; Davi Mata, 32; Willie Edward Smith, 38; Juan Rivera, 34; Paulo Gonzalez, 27; Abdul Shabazz, 39; Davalon Brown, 28; James Munoz, 37; Victoria Santellana, 31; Daniel Barboza, 38; Anthony Rudess, 42, of Curtice, Ohio; Eric Mays-Clausen, 41; Randolph Kemp, 53, and Jacqueline Jaquez, 40.

The defendants conspired between 2010 and this month to bring large shipments of heroin, cocaine and marijuana to Toledo for distribution. Garcia obtained the drugs from suppliers in Arizona, California, Illinois and Mexico and then distributed the drugs to mid-level dealers in the Toledo area. Those dealers, in turn, distributed the drugs to other dealers, according to the indictment.

The indictment details scores of transactions and drug sales that took place in Toledo, including locations at Ravine Park Village, Graham Street, Berry Street, North Ontario Street, Bronson Street, Sylvania Avenue, Westfield Park Mall, Main Street, Starr Avenue, Heatherdowns Road and other locations.

Three people—Garcia, Kemp and Isom—face additional charges of being felons in possession of firearms.

Prosecutors are also seeking to forfeit more than $6,800 in cash, six firearms, nine automobiles and homes at 1509 Navarre Avenue and 625 Parker Avenue in Toledo.

This indictment is the result of an investigation by the FBI and the Metro Drug Task Force, made up of members of the Toledo Police Department and the Lucas County Sheriff’s Office. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Thomas P. Weldon and Michael Freeman.

If convicted, the defendants’ sentences will be determined by the court after a review of the federal sentencing guidelines and factors unique to the case, including the defendant’s prior criminal record (if any), the defendant’s role in the offense and the characteristics of the violation.

An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt 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

Federal Mail Fraud Crimes

Federal Crimes – Appeal

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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.


12 Charged in Alleged Panamanian Drug Trafficking Conspiracy

December 23, 2011

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on December 22, 2011 released the following:

“WILMINGTON, Del. – Twelve individuals from the Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland – and the country of Panama – have been charged in a 20-count indictment alleging international drug trafficking. The charges result from an extensive investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The nearly three-year investigation involved federal and local law enforcement agencies in the United States and Panama.

U.S. Attorney Charles M. Oberly, III, District of Delaware, announced that each defendant faces two counts of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine and one kilogram or more of heroin. The indictment also charges them with conspiracy to smuggle five kilograms of cocaine and one kilogram or more of heroin into the United States.

“This investigation is a terrific example of how federal, state and local law enforcement, with support from our partners abroad, were able to successfully dismantle a major narcotics smuggling organization,” said John P. Kelleghan, special agent in charge of ICE HSI in Philadelphia. “HSI will continue to utilize its broad authorities to target those individuals that pose direct threats to our communities.”

For each of the offenses, the defendants face a maximum term of life in prison, with a mandatory minimum term of 10 years in prison.

Charged in the indictment are:

  • Efrain Dixon, 31, of Colon, Panama;
  • Ronaldo Edmund, 36, of Wilmington;
  • Kelvin Cook, 33, of Newark, Del.;
  • Julio Archer, 39, of Philadelphia;
  • Benjamin Carpenter, of Colon, Panama;
  • Roumik K. Banerjee, 24, of Kennett Square, Pa.;
  • Mia Poteat, 21, of New Castle, Del.;
  • Tina Simmons, 23, of Wilmington;
  • Sharon Butera, 51, of Elkton, Md.;
  • Dynisha J. Revel, 22, of Newark, Del.;
  • Raabia H. Munjir, 27, of Lansdowne, Pa.; and
  • Tessa Kay Snyder, 46, of North East, Md.

According to the indictment and court statements, U.S.-based defendants Edmund, Cook and Archer recruited primarily female couriers to travel to Panama to smuggle multiple kilograms of heroin and cocaine from Panama to the United States. Once in Panama, the couriers met with Panama-based defendants Carpenter and Dixon, where they were outfitted with cocaine and heroin. Most of the couriers smuggled the drugs in small compartments sewn into Lycra shorts in an effort to avoid law enforcement detection. After a number of couriers using that method were arrested, the organization began concealing the drugs within hair weaves and wigs. Regardless of the smuggling methods, once the couriers received the drugs they traveled by bus or airplane to Mexico, where they ultimately crossed or attempted to cross the U.S. border in Texas border towns.

“This case shows how international drug traffickers have a direct and significant impact upon our local communities, such as Wilmington, Delaware and Cecil County, Maryland,” said DEA Acting Special Agent in Charge Vito Guarino. “Due to the cooperative efforts of the DEA and its law enforcement partners, a major regional smuggling organization has been identified, and its members brought to justice. In this instance, the defendants used well-planned techniques to smuggle large amounts of cocaine and heroin into the region over an extended period. However, their efforts failed due the combined efforts of the participating law enforcement agencies. DEA will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to arrest those individuals responsible for distributing illegal controlled substances in the region.””

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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.


37 Alleged Members and Associates of an International Ethnic-Albanian Organized Crime Syndicate Arrested

July 13, 2011

The U.S. Attorney’s Office Eastern District of New York on July 13, 2011 released the following press release:

Defendants Charged with Trafficking Cocaine, Marijuana, MDMA and Prescription Drugs, and Laundering Tens of Millions of Dollars in Narcotics Proceeds

An indictment was unsealed today in federal court in Brooklyn, New York, charging 37 members and associates of an international drug trafficking syndicate led by ethnic Albanians located in the United States, Canada and Europe (the “syndicate”).[1] According to the indictment and a detention letter filed today by the government, the syndicate comprises several inter-related ethnic Albanian family clans (also known as “fis”) with hundreds of associated members, workers and customers spanning three continents. In operation for more than a decade, the syndicate is allegedly responsible for organizing the importation and distribution of tens of thousands of kilograms of hydroponic marijuana from Canada and Mexico, substantial quantities of MDMA from the Netherlands and Canada, hundreds of kilograms of cocaine from Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela and Peru, and large quantities of diverted prescription pills, such as oxycodone. The drugs were distributed in various locations in the United States, including New York, California, Georgia, Colorado and Florida, as well as in Canada and Europe.

Most of the defendants were arrested earlier today in Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, Manhattan, Long Island, Westchester, Putnam, Rockland, Orange, Albany, New Jersey, Colorado and Florida. Federal agents also executed search warrants this morning on seven different syndicate-controlled stash houses and residences, recovering 18 firearms and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. Two defendants were arrested last month following a drug-related shooting, and several others are already in custody for previously charged crimes. One of the alleged ringleaders was arrested by law enforcement agents in Albania, and the United States has requested his extradition. Those defendants arrested today in the New York City metropolitan area will be arraigned later this afternoon before United States Magistrate Andrew L. Carter at the U.S. Courthouse, 225 Cadman Plaza East, in Brooklyn.

The charges were announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; John P. Gilbride, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, New York (DEA); James T. Hayes, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), New York; Raymond W. Kelly, Commissioner, New York City Police Department (NYPD); Charles R. Pine, Special Agent-in-Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, New York (IRS); and Joseph A. D’Amico, Superintendent, New York State Police (NYSP). The investigation into Albanian organized crime groups operating throughout the world was led by the New York Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Strike Force,[2] Homeland Security Investigations and the New York State Police, in coordination with the Attorney General’s Organized Crime Committee (AGOCC), International Organized Crime Intelligence and Operations Center (IOC2), as well as DEA’s Special Operations Division.

According to the indictment and other court filings submitted by the government, the four-year investigation revealed that most of the marijuana smuggled from Canada and Mexico was concealed in tractor trailers, typically in hundred pound quantities, with some shipments weighing as much as 1,200 pounds. The marijuana shipments were stored in warehouses and stash locations throughout Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx, before distribution. Kilogram quantities of cocaine were obtained from sources in the United States and exported to Albania and other locations in Europe concealed in hidden compartments inside luxury automobiles – ostensibly under the auspices of legitimate car dealerships which were actually controlled by syndicate members. At the time of the arrests today, the syndicate was allegedly involved in negotiations to obtain hundreds of kilograms of cocaine from sources in South America for transport through the United States to Canada and Europe, including (1) a shipment of 100 kilograms of cocaine from Colombia to New York, which the defendants planned to break down into smaller shipments and smuggle into Canada in exchange for high-grade hydroponic marijuana; (2) a 100 kilogram shipment of cocaine from South America to Albania; (3) regular shipments of cocaine from Florida to New York; and (4) ongoing efforts to establish a pipeline to supply 40 kilograms of cocaine per month for distribution in Spain. According to the government’s pleadings and other court filings, the syndicate was also involved in obtaining large shipments of oxycodone, a highly addictive prescription medicine used to treat severe pain, and during the past year distributed thousands of oxycodone pills in New York which had been diverted from pain clinics in Florida.

The government’s investigation further revealed that the syndicate employed the services of a Canadian-based money laundering organization, which was allegedly responsible for laundering more than $15 million of the syndicate’s narcotics proceeds in a single year. Typically, the launderers picked up drug money in New York and transported it to Canadian and Mexican drug suppliers. The syndicate also sent millions of dollars in marijuana sale proceeds to co-conspirators on the West Coast of the United States to purchase cocaine from Mexican drug cartels. The cocaine was then allegedly transported across the border into Canada for distribution, with the proceeds to be used to fund subsequent marijuana purchases.

According to the government’s detention memorandum, several defendants are believed to have committed drug and organized-crime-related violence, including kidnaping and attempted murder. For example, on June 4, 2011, an escalating dispute between syndicate members over the payment of a drug debt led to a shooting outside a Bronx restaurant-bar, and a potential drug-related shooting was narrowly averted in October 2010, when law enforcement agents intercepted a syndicate member with a loaded firearm en route to rob a drug customer who owed him money from a prior drug deal.

As part of the government’s investigation of the syndicate, in separate incidents law enforcement seized:

943 pounds of marijuana imported from Mexico,

$209,000 in drug proceeds being transported to Mexico,

$140,000 in drug proceeds intended to be used as a down payment for a 200-kilogram cocaine deal,

20 pounds of marijuana during a car stop in Dutchess County,

290 pounds of marijuana from a Brooklyn warehouse operated by syndicate associates,

$1,271,394 in drug proceeds in Manhattan,

24 kilograms of liquid cocaine in Lima, Peru,

20 pounds of marijuana during a car stop in New Jersey,

a loaded handgun and $29,000 in drug proceeds from a residence in the Bronx,

$180,000 in drug proceeds in Manhattan,

a loaded firearm from a syndicate member in Yonkers, New York,

more than 150 marijuana plants from grow houses in Georgia and Florida operated by syndicate associates,

$1,041,990 in drug proceeds in Boston,

$155,000 in drug proceeds from a syndicate member in the Bronx, New York,

$497,955 in drug proceeds in California,

160 pounds of marijuana from a Brooklyn warehouse operated by syndicate associates,

$672,755 in drug proceeds in Los Angeles,

$210,280 in drug proceeds, 1 kilogram of cocaine and numerous firearms from a stash house in California operated by syndicate associates,

70 pounds of marijuana from a tractor trailer being driven from Toronto, Canada,

30 pounds of marijuana during a car stop in New Jersey,

$300,000 in drug proceeds on Long Island, and

70 pounds of marijuana from a tractor trailer being driven from Vancouver, Canada.

“As charged in the indictment, this syndicate spread its tentacles across continents, sending its ruinous product worldwide and reaping enormous profits. Its ten-year run has now come to an end,” stated United States Attorney Lynch. “We and our partners in law enforcement are committed to investigating and prosecuting international drug traffickers and seizing the proceeds of their crimes. We remain relentless in this pursuit.” Ms. Lynch expressed her grateful appreciation to the DEA Special Operations Division, DEA Newark Division, DEA Denver Division, DEA Miami Division, DEA Albany District Office, DEA Rome Country Office, the HSI attache in Vienna, HSI attache in Toronto, HSI Albany Office, HSI Denver Office, HSI Newark Office, HSI Miami Office, the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Monmouth County (New Jersey) Prosecutor’s Office, the Westchester District Attorney’s Office and the New York Attorney General’s Office for their assistance.
DEA Special Agent-in-Charge Gilbride stated, “This alleged organized crime syndicate oversaw a drug distribution organization that operated across the globe. With a reach from Albania to Canada to New York and numerous cities throughout, law enforcement identified this criminal conspiracy as well as the violent acts committed in order to continue its drug distribution network. DEA’s Strike Force and our federal, state and local law enforcement partners were successful in dismantling the Thaqi organization and making an impact on the illicit drug trafficking across the nation.”

ICE/HSI Special Agent-in-Charge Hayes stated, “This alleged international drug ring was intent on filling the streets of America with poison. The arrests here and overseas serve as an example of the reach of the long arm of the law. HSI, working with its attaches and international and federal law enforcement partners, has contributed to the disruption of a crime syndicate that has allegedly lined its pockets with drug smuggling money for more than a decade.”

NYPD Commissioner Kelly stated, “The long reach of this criminal syndicate injected illegal drugs, including highly addictive oxycodone painkillers, into thousands of lives and subjected neighborhoods to violence ranging from kidnapings to attempted murder. With these arrests, we say good riddance.”

IRS Special Agent-in-Charge Pine stated, “IRS Criminal Investigation is committed to fighting the war on illegal drugs with our federal, state and local partners on the New York Organized Crime Strike Force. We are proud to lend our financial expertise to help disrupt drug trafficking organizations.”

NYSP Superintendent D’Amico stated, “I am proud of the dedicated investigative efforts of our agency personnel and law enforcement partners which have culminated in the indictment of these individuals, sizeable seizures of drugs and currency, and have effectively ended this syndicate’s operations.”

If convicted, the three alleged leaders of the syndicate, Gjavit Thaqi, Arif Kurti and Gjevelin Berisha, charged with operating a continuing criminal enterprise and using firearms in furtherance of their drug trafficking crimes, face a 25-year mandatory minimum sentence and a maximum penalty of life imprisonment; the defendants charged in Counts Two through Seven, Ten and Eleven face a maximum penalty of life imprisonment and mandatory minimum sentences of 10 years (Counts Two through Seven), 15 years (Count Ten) and 20 years (Count Eleven); and the defendants charged in Counts Eight and Nine face a maximum penalty of 20 years’ imprisonment.

The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Steven Tiscione, Richard Tucker, Gina Parlovecchio, Michael Yaeger and Claire Kedeshian.

The Defendants:

GJAVIT THAQI
Age: 40

ARIF KURTI
Age: 41

GJEVALIN BERISHA
Age: 31

CARLOS ALVAREZ
Age: 28

SHKELQIM BAKRAQI
Age: 25

ROBERT BONURA
Age: 32

JOHN CEKAJ
Age: 41

MARTINO CEKAJ
Age: 33

GIOVANNI DIFUCCIA
Age: 38

BRIAN DUBLYNN
Age: 34

ARVY EBRAHIME
Age: 29

HECTOR FLORES
Age: 39

ANGELO GERMANO
Age: 37

JETON GJIDIJA
Age: 33

LEE KARAQI
Age: 36

ROBERT KARAQI
Age: 39

HASAN KURTI
Age: 40

IBRAHIM KURTI
Age: 38

BAJRAM LAJQI
Age: 36

SELMAN LAJQI
Age: 39

ALESSANDRO LATINO
Age: 35

LAURETTA LOKAJ
Age: 40

NIKOLA LUKAJ
Age: 39

NICHOLAS MASI
Age: 49

DAVID MCLEAN
Age: 45

FATMIR MEHMETI
Age: 33

FAIK MEHMETI
Age: 36

NEFAIL MEHOVIC
Age: 27

VALTER MEMIA
Age: 28

ALBERTO MERCADO
Age: 41

MAGDALENA NIKOLLAJ
Age: 38

MAL REXHA
Age: 49

ROBERT RUDAJ
Age: 37

LANCE SCHONER
Age: 27

LESTER ZABORSKI
Age: 38

AGRON ZENELAJ
Age: 32

DARIUS RIVERA
Age: 38

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1 The charges contained in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

2 The Strike Force comprises agents and officers of the DEA, NYPD, ICE/HSI, NYSP, IRS, United States Marshals Service and the United States Attorney’s Office. The Strike Force is partially funded by the New York/New Jersey High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA), which is a federally funded crime fighting initiative.”

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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