Federal Authorities Announce 11 Cases Charging Alleged Drug Dealers with Providing Opioids that Led to Fatal Overdoses | USAO-CDCA

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          LOS ANGELES – Federal authorities immediately introduced 11 legal circumstances in opposition to alleged drug sellers who bought or offered narcotics to customers who suffered deadly overdoses from opioids reminiscent of fentanyl or fentanyl analogues.

          On account of the operation led by the Drug Enforcement Administration, every of the 12 defendants named within the 11 circumstances is charged with distribution of narcotics leading to loss of life. If convicted, every defendant would face a minimum of a 20-year obligatory minimal jail sentence and a possible most sentence of life with out parole in federal jail.

          “These fees are the primary steps in bringing justice to the households of victims who usually died with out understanding they had been ingesting a few of the world’s strongest opioids,” mentioned Performing United States Lawyer Tracy L. Wilkison. “The conduct alleged in these circumstances demonstrates the grave menace folks face now that fentanyl is widespread and is usually hidden in quite a lot of illicit narcotics. The hazard posed by opioids is actual – each for unwitting customers who threat loss of life and for the sellers who face many years in jail for spreading lethal poison in our communities.”

          “The collaborative work to construct these circumstances demonstrates our shared dedication to go after people who push fentanyl inside our communities and additional the opioid disaster, devastating households throughout the nation,” mentioned DEA Particular Agent in Cost Invoice Bodner. “Drug sellers who market and promote counterfeit drugs through on-line market and social media platforms might imagine they will disguise behind expertise and are absolved from duty, however they aren’t. Whereas our actions can’t carry again a liked one, we hope that we will save different lives by placing these people behind bars to allow them to’t proceed to distribute harmful opioids locally.”

          The circumstances are the results of investigations by the DEA’s Overdose Justice Process Pressure, which was created to deal with opioid-related deaths within the higher Los Angeles space, most of that are brought on the artificial opioid fentanyl. Below the Overdose Justice program for the DEA’s Los Angeles Area Division, DEA brokers collaborate with native regulation enforcement to investigate proof to find out if there are circumstances that may result in a federal legal prosecution, and, if that’s the case, proactively goal the drug trafficker. Because the begin of the Overdose Justice program in 2018, the DEA has labored with an ever-expanding record of native police businesses to acquire roughly one dozen federal indictments that particularly cost loss of life ensuing from narcotics trafficking. The 11 circumstances introduced immediately add to that record of prosecutions. The Process Pressure is at present investigating different incidents and expects to file extra legal circumstances in federal court docket.

          The 11 circumstances introduced immediately embody seven new circumstances that had been filed this week and one case wherein prosecutors this week filed particular allegations that might result in a compulsory sentence of life with out parole in federal jail if the defendant is convicted. The circumstances are summarized under.

          U.S. v. Fulton

          William Vaughn Fulton, 39, of Torrance, was named in a five-count indictment filed Tuesday that accuses him of distributing fentanyl that brought on two deaths on consecutive days in Redondo Seaside lodge rooms. Along with the 2 fees of distributing fentanyl leading to loss of life, Fulton is charged with possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, possession with intent to distribute fentanyl, and being a felon in possession of ammunition.

          The indictment alleges that Fulton distributed fentanyl on October 10, 2020 to an individual who died, and the subsequent day he allegedly distributed fentanyl at one other lodge the place one other particular person died after ingesting the drug. When he was arrested on October 13 by the Redondo Seaside Police Division, Fulton allegedly possessed greater than two ounces of fentanyl and over 2.5 ounces of methamphetamine. Police additionally seized two 9mm “ghost weapons” and 12 rounds of ammunition Fulton allegedly illegally possessed as a result of, from 2004 by way of 2017, he beforehand had been convicted of 24 felony offenses.

          Fulton is at present in state jail after pleading responsible to associated fees. The US is in search of a writ to carry him into federal custody.

          The DEA and the Redondo Seaside Police Division are investigating this matter. Assistant United States Lawyer Jenna Williams of the Worldwide Narcotics, Cash Laundering, and Racketeering Part is prosecuting the case.

          U.S. v. Wilson

          Alexander Declan Bell Wilson, 20, of Rolling Hills, was arrested Wednesday after being indicted on Tuesday on one depend of distributing drugs containing fentanyl that led to the loss of life of a 15-year-old boy on Could 15, 2020. Legislation enforcement reviewed Snapchat conversations between the 2 that present the sufferer thought he was shopping for oxycodone, a generally used and broadly abused semi-synthetic opioid.

          Wilson is scheduled to be arraigned on the indictment this afternoon.

          The DEA and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Division are investigating this matter. Assistant United States Lawyer Marina A. Torres of the Worldwide Narcotics, Cash Laundering, and Racketeering Part is prosecuting the case.

          U.S. v. McLaughlin

          Sean Robert McLaughlin, 47, of Aliso Viejo, the previous safety supervisor on the American Junkie nightclub in Newport Seaside, was arrested this morning pursuant to an eight-count indictment alleging he distributed furanyl fentanyl, an analogue to fentanyl that has a virtually equivalent chemical make-up. Throughout the early morning hours of November 18, 2016, the indictment alleges, McLaughlin offered a powdered drug to nightclub friends that resulted in three overdoses, one among which was deadly.

          Within the indictment filed Wednesday, McLaughlin is also charged with possessing hydrocodone, cocaine, methamphetamine and ecstasy for distribution on the identical night time because the overdoses. McLaughlin is additional charged with distributing cocaine in September 2016.

          McLaughlin was initially charged in December 2017 by Orange County District Lawyer’s Workplace, which has agreed to permit the USA Lawyer’s Workplace to take over the prosecution.

          The DEA and a activity pressure officer from the Seal Seaside Police Division are investigating this matter. The Newport Seaside Police Division referred the case to federal authorities final yr. Assistant United States Lawyer Bradley E. Marrett of the Santa Ana Department Workplace is prosecuting the case.

          U.S. v. Soheili

          Jason Amin Soheili, 26, of Laguna Hills, was arrested Wednesday pursuant to a legal grievance filed Tuesday in federal court docket in Santa Ana. Soheili is charged with mailing fentanyl to a person in Fillmore, Utah, who died after taking the medication on February 21.

          The affidavit in assist of the grievance outlines proof that Soheili despatched a parcel containing fentanyl “blues” to his pal, who moved to Utah from Orange County to take part in a drug rehabilitation program. Legislation enforcement recovered the precise package deal with Soheili’s fingerprints on the sufferer’s residence. A search of Soheili’s house on April 20 resulted within the seizure of things indicating drug trafficking exercise, together with varied narcotics, a number of of which examined constructive for fentanyl, the grievance states.

          At his preliminary court docket look Wednesday afternoon, Soheili was ordered held with out bond, and an arraignment was scheduled for June 1.

          The US Postal Inspection Service, which labored with the Orange County Sheriff’s Division and the Millard County (Utah) Sheriff’s Workplace, is investigating this matter. Assistant United States Lawyer Vib Mittal of the Santa Ana Department Workplace is prosecuting the case.

          U.S. v. Boukhanian

          Michael Boukhanian, 42, of Northridge, was arrested late this morning after a grand jury named him in a one-count indictment filed on Wednesday. Boukhanian allegedly bought counterfeit oxycodone drugs containing fentanyl on August 27, 2020 to a Woodland Hills man who died quickly after receiving them. Boukhanian is predicted to be arraigned Friday afternoon in federal court docket in Los Angeles.

          The DEA and the Los Angeles Police Division are investigating this matter. Assistant United States Lawyer Jehan M. Pernas of the Worldwide Narcotics, Cash Laundering, and Racketeering Part is prosecuting the case.

          U.S. v. Wooden

          Tobin Oliver Wooden, 49, of Costa Mesa, was arrested on April 7 pursuant to a grand jury indictment that fees him with distributing fentanyl that brought on the overdose loss of life of a 32-year-old San Clemente man, who died on the morning of October 2, 2018. Wooden allegedly posted an advert on Craigslist providing “Roxy board brief,” which is a road time period for oxycodone drugs.

          Wooden, who has pleaded not responsible and is free on bond, is scheduled to go on trial on March 22, 2022.

          The DEA, the Huntington Seaside Police Division and the Costa Mesa Police Division are investigating this matter. Assistant United States Lawyer Maxwell Okay. Coll of the Basic Crimes Part is prosecuting the case.

          U.S. v. Chi

          Calvin Chi, 28, of Hacienda Heights, has agreed to give up Friday morning to face fees associated to the loss of life of a 29-year-old girl who overdosed on oxymorphone on October 10, 2018. Investigators uncovered textual content communications between Chi and the sufferer that allegedly present Chi bought the oxymorphone, together with alprazolam (also referred to as Xanax), to the sufferer hours earlier than her loss of life. The sufferer was discovered lifeless, slumped over within the entrance seat of her automotive, parked a few half mile from Chi’s San Gabriel Valley residence. Chi was indicted by a federal grand jury on Tuesday.

          Within the fall of 2019, Chi was convicted in state court docket of unrelated drug trafficking fees and sentenced to probation. In July 2020, deputies with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Division performed a probation compliance verify of Chi’s residence and located proof of drug gross sales, together with scales, baggies, quite a lot of drugs, and greater than 5 grams of methamphetamine. Along with the cost of distribution of narcotics leading to loss of life, Chi is charged with possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine.

          The DEA and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Division are investigating this matter. Assistant United States Lawyer Maria Jhai of the Basic Crimes Part is prosecuting the case.

          U.S. v. Lopez

          Edwin Lopez, 21, of Riverside, was arrested this morning on a grand jury indictment that fees him with one depend associated to a Could 17, 2020, transaction wherein he allegedly bought counterfeit oxycodone drugs containing fentanyl to a 20-year-old Fontana man who suffered a deadly overdose two days later. The proof within the case signifies that Lopez used Snapchat to barter the drug deal, and probably different transactions, with the sufferer.

          Lopez is scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon in United States District Courtroom in Riverside.

          The DEA and the Fontana Police Division are investigating this matter. The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Division has offered help. The Riverside Department Workplace is prosecuting the case.

          U.S. v. Nobar and Ziafathy

          Saied Ziafathy Nobar, 57, of the Rancho Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, and his nephew, Amir Ziafathy, 33, of Granada Hills, face fees of distributing fentanyl that resulted in an overdose loss of life on December 30, 2019. The defendants allegedly bought the sufferer two counterfeit oxycodone drugs that contained fentanyl. Nobar and Ziafathy had been arrested on this case on March 16, and they’re at present scheduled to go on trial on July 27.

          The FBI, the DEA and the Los Angeles Police Division are investigating this matter. Assistant United States Lawyer Ali Moghaddas and Kathrynne Seiden of the Basic Crimes Part are prosecuting the case.

          U.S. v. Rodriguez

          Marcos Isaac Rodriguez, a.ok.a. “Kumar,” 27, who resided in Costa Mesa, however lately relocated to Escondido, was arrested immediately pursuant to a two-count indictment that alleges distribution of fentanyl leading to loss of life and distribution of fentanyl. The indictment, which was filed on April 28, fees Rodriguez with distributing fentanyl in two transactions, the second of which resulted within the loss of life of a 33-year-old Costa Mesa man on December 26, 2019. Rodriguez allegedly bought the sufferer counterfeit oxycodone drugs that contained fentanyl.

          Rodriguez is predicted to be arraigned this afternoon in United States District Courtroom in Santa Ana.

          The DEA and the Costa Mesa Police Division are investigating this matter. Assistant United States Lawyer Jake D. Nare of the Santa Ana Department Workplace is prosecuting the case.

          U.S. v. Shepley

            Final yr, a Westlake Village man was indicted on federal fees of taking part in a conspiracy that allegedly distributed heroin to a Ventura County man who suffered deadly overdose, and this week federal prosecutors filed a brand new doc that might carry a compulsory life sentence if he’s convicted.

          Bradley Shepley, 35, is charged with distribution of heroin leading to loss of life and with taking part in a heroin trafficking conspiracy in relation to the overdose of a 26-year-old man who died in his Oak Park residence on November 6, 2017. On Tuesday, prosecutors filed a two-count data alleging that Shepley was convicted in Los Angeles Superior Courtroom in June 2017 of two felony narcotics offenses. If convicted in federal court docket of the heroin cost, and if prosecutors can show he was beforehand convicted of narcotics offenses, Shepley would face a compulsory minimal sentence of life with out parole in federal jail.

          Shepley, who’s being held in custody with out bond, has pleaded not responsible to the offenses alleged within the indictment, and he’s at present scheduled to go on trial on November 2.

          The DEA and the Ventura County Sheriff’s Division are investigating this matter. Assistant United States Lawyer Keith D. Ellison of the Worldwide Narcotics, Cash Laundering, and Racketeering Part is prosecuting the case.

          Indictments and legal complaints comprise allegations {that a} defendant has dedicated a criminal offense. Each defendant is presumed harmless till and except confirmed responsible past an affordable doubt.

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