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DEA drug smuggling sting nabs online drug dealers

A multi-agency, multi-country law enforcement effort successfully broke-up and shut down the “Farmer’s Market” website. The international online drug trafficking organization sold a wide variety of illicit narcotics to U.S. and international customers.

Authorities say the “secret” online website moved illegal drugs using the postal service to more than 3,000 customers in 50 states and 24 countries. This week authorities arrested eight people in connection with the criminal drug business; all face federal drug trafficking and money laundering charges.

The ringleader, Marc Willems, a resident of the Netherlands, was arrested in his home and charged as the lead defendant. Colombian authorities tracked down and arrested U.S. citizen Michael Evron who was in the process of fleeing the country before Bogota Police captured him. The remaining suspects, Jonathan Colbeck, Brian Colbeck, Ryan Rawls, Jonathan Dugan, George Matzek and Charles Bigras were apprehended at their respective homes in Iowa, Michigan, Georgia, New York, New Jersey and Florida.

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The Los Angeles Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) field office led the two-year, multi-agency “Operation Adam Bomb” investigation.

“The drug trafficking organization targeted in ‘Operation Adam Bomb’ was distributing dangerous and addictive drugs to every corner of the world, and trying to hide their activities through the use of advanced anonymizing on-line technology,” said Briane M. Grey, DEA Acting Special Agent in Charge. “Today’s action should send a clear message to organizations that are using technology to conduct criminal activity that the DEA and our law enforcement partners will track them down and bring them to justice.”

Smuggling drugs in a global market require law enforcement agencies partner with foreign organizations to keep one step ahead of criminals and shut down their unlawful entities.

“Illegal narcotics trafficking now reaches every corner of our world, including our home computers,” said U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California André Birotte Jr., whose office is handling the prosecution of the case. “But the reach of the law is just as long, and the Department of Justice will work with its partners, both nationally and internationally, to bring narcotics traffickers to justice, wherever they may hide. Working together, 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.”

All the defendants were charged with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances worldwide. The online marketplace allowed independent contractors to anonymously advertise and sell illegal drugs on public airwaves. The unsealed indictment revealed that online business owners used online forums to sell their controlled substances. The “Farmer’s Market” also offered a customer service program as well as various payment options for their illegal drug-seeking consumers. The indictment alleges that customers and operators screened suppliers to guarantee delivery of drugs and even collected a commission from the transactions.

This marketplace offered a wide variety of controlled substances including, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), MDMA (ecstasy), fentanyl, mescaline, ketamine, DMT and high-end marijuana. The DEA said the online drug dealers handled approximately 5,256 online orders and earned $1,041,244 during January 2007 and October 2009.

The multi-agency task force said the drug dealers used a TOR program with encrypted connections that can be downloaded on most home computers. “TOR allows websites and electronic mail communications to mask IP address information by spreading communications over a series of computers, or relays, located throughout the world,” the DEA explained. “The online marketplaces have accepted Western Union, Pecunix, PayPal, I-Golder, and cash as payment for illegal drug sales.”

Federal authorities said, “All the defendants were charged with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, which carries a maximum sentence of imprisonment for life, and money laundering conspiracy, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years imprisonment.”

The lead defendants Willems, Evron, Jonathan Colbeck, Brian Colbeck, and Rawls are also charged with the distribution of LSD, which carries a maximum sentence of imprisonment for life. Finally, “defendants Willems and Evron are charged with participating in a continuing criminal enterprise, which carries a maximum sentence of imprisonment for life and a 20-year mandatory minimum sentence.”

Authorities arrested seven other individuals for their connection to the illegal drug website.

The DEA received substantial assistance from the Netherlands Regional Police Force Flevoland, the International Legal Assistance Center North East Netherlands prosecutors, U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs, the DEA’s country office in Hague, and the U.S. Postal Service.

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© Copyright 2012 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.

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US freeze assets of top drug cartel leader with ties to Los Zetas

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) designated Guatemalan national Horst Walter Overdick Mejia, as a narco trafficker with dangerous ties to Colombian and Mexican Los Zetas drug cartels.

The action taken by the U.S. government falls under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act) that prohibits U.S. citizens from managing any financial or commercial transactions with Mr. Overdick Mejia and moved to freeze any assets within U.S. jurisdiction.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated Guatemalan national a kingpin after the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York unsealed Overdick Mejia’s indictment for narcotics trafficking, money laundering as well as firearms activities.

The Guatemalan authorities arrested Overdick Mejia on April 3. Authorities charged the leader of Guatemalan’s principal drug trafficking organization with multiple drug-related crimes.

A statement from the DEA alleges Overdick Mejia was “a veteran spice buyer, that he used his local contacts and his business acumen to smuggle thousands of kilograms of cocaine to Mexico and on into the United States.” Informants and officials contend Overdick Mejia was responsible for introducing Los Zetas into Guatemala sometime in 2008. Authorities also revealed the kingpin wanted to eliminate a fellow drug trafficker who became Guatemala’s most influential ally. The drug kingpin is also suspected of laundering millions of U.S. dollars in illicit narcotics sales generated by both of his cartel affiliations.

U.S. federal agencies have stepped up their drug cartel enforcement and added new tools that will enable federal agents to indict kingpins and confiscate their assets. This drug trafficker exhibited a knack for moving drugs between countries easily and laundering funds effectively.

“By designating Overdick Mejia, OFAC is demonstrating its support for the Guatemalan government in its struggle against the threats and violence posed by these international drug gangs,” said OFAC Director Adam J. Szubin. “Overdick Mejia’s drug trafficking activities and close ties to the Los Zetas makes him a dangerous and critical figure in the Central American narcotics trade.”

The high-value drug cartel designation/sanction was attributed to the cooperation between the DEA and OFAC agencies. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York also played a role in the successful apprehension of Overdick Mejia.

“Today’s action is part of ongoing efforts pursuant to the Kingpin Act to apply financial measures against significant foreign narcotics traffickers and their organizations worldwide,” the DEA explained. “The Treasury Department has designated more than 1,000 individuals and entities pursuant to the Kingpin Act since June 2000.”

Under Title 18 of the United States Code for criminal violations of the Kingpin Act, financial penalties can be $1.075 million per violation. The criminal penalties for corporate cartel officers include a 30-year prison sentence and fines up to $5 million. Criminal fines for corporations knowingly working with drug cartels can reach $10 million and other individuals involved with narco traffickers face up to 10 years in prison.

Click here for a chart of the Mejia network:

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© Copyright 2012 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.

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Swimsuit model charged for selling illicit drugs worldwide

A magazine swimsuit model, Simone Farrow (stage name Simone Starr), wanted in the U.S. for drug trafficking was caught in an Australia beach community.

Farrow escaped capture from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and Australia authorities for more than a month. However, the blonde swimsuit model was located and extradited to Sydney, Australia and will face multiple drug trafficking charges.

According to the DEA, the model ran a worldwide drug ring from her Hollywood apartment using 19 different aliases and moved crystal meth to a number of countries using the United States Post Office and FedEx.

Authorities in Australia apprehended Farrow at a motel without incident. The model claimed that she fled law enforcement officers because cartel leaders wanted her dead.

“The only reason I’ve done this is because someone was trying to murder me,: Farrow said to Australia’s Sunday Telegraph. “I’ve been in… relationships with numerous underworld figures or whatever you want to call them and I feel that maybe they feel threatened by my situation.”

The DEA contends the 37-year-old model divvied up large amounts of crystal meth in her Sunset blvd. apartment and disguised the drugs by using a variety of bath salts or fountain kits. The DEA also collected drugs and documents proving the model was trafficking drugs in her apartment.The Australian Sunday Telegraph also reported that a known associate of a drug syndicate recently committed suicide in Hollywood after U.S. law enforcement officials contacted the man’s involvement with Farrow.

Farrow is best known for her Ed Hardy swimsuit advertisements, Penthouse “pet” status and FHM’s three-year run on their “Sexist Women in the World” list.

Farrow faces numerous drug trafficking charges and is due in court this week.

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© Copyright 2012 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.

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Mexican soldiers seize large “pot-throwing” catapults from cartels

With the nation’s southern border facing more scrutiny than ever before, it was the Mexican military that found large catapults typically used to sling illicit drugs over the border fence near Douglas, Arizona.

A statement released yesterday by Mexican authorities indicated they followed an anonymous tip to a border city neighborhood. Military troops entered an Agua Prieta house and located one catapult in a truck and another in the residence.

A search of the home led to the Mexican soldiers seizing 1.4 tons of marijuana that was headed to U.S. cities. Earlier this year, law enforcement agents said they nabbed two other drug-like catapults.

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© Copyright 2011 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.
To reach Kimberly Dvorak email; kimberly.dvorak@hotmail.com

Drug seizures in San Diego continue with Border Patrol

Interior Border Patrol checkpoints continue to slow drug smugglers progress and capture illicit drugs before they hit the streets. Yesterday, a Mexican national male, was apprehended when he tried to smuggle nine bundles of cocaine into the U.S.

“A Border Patrol K-9 team alerted to a blue 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee and agents subsequently discovered 21.2 pounds of cocaine hidden inside the vehicle’s spare tire with an estimated street value of $211,200,” according to Scott Simon, Border Patrol Agent from San Diego.

The alleged-drug smuggler and the cocaine were taken into custody and handed off to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to face charges.

Border Patrol Agents from interior checkpoints busted several U.S. citizens for trafficking marijuana this week. The agents found approximately 150 pounds of marijuana worth an estimated $200,000. All the alleged-drug smugglers were arrested and booked into county jail. Border Patrol Agents detained the marijuana and vehicles.
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Since October 1, 2010, the San Diego Sector Border Patrol has seized approximately 2,331 pounds of cocaine, 578 pounds of methamphetamine and 68,722 pounds of marijuana.

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© Copyright 2011Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.

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Mercedes loaded with cocaine seized north of San Diego

Border Patrol Agents seized a Mercedes Benz loaded with 26 pounds of cocaine at the Interstate 5 border checkpoint just north of San Diego.

A K-9 team alerted agents to the trunk of the Mercedes where Border Patrol found a large black duffel bag containing 10 brick-shaped packages of cocaine. “The total estimated street value of the narcotics was $266,110,” according to a CBP press release.

A 31-year-old male American citizen was arrested and turned over to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) for suspicion of drug smuggling.

In a separate smuggling attempt, Border Patrol Agents apprehended a 23-year-old male Mexican national trying to smuggle 28 bundles of cocaine. Once agents sent the nervous driver to the secondary inspection area, K-9’s sniffed out the drugs worth approximately $285,000, in the wheel well of a Dodge Ram pickup.

The Mexican national, who was in the country legally, was taken into custody and subsequently turned over to the DEA for further investigation. The U.S. Border Patrol impounded both vehicles.

According to Border Patrol, since October 1, 2010, San Diego Sector agents have confiscated more than 1,800 pounds of cocaine.

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© Copyright 2011 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.

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DEA breaks up San Diego cross-border drug smuggling ring

As part of the Drug Enforcement Agency’s (DEA) “Project Delirium” San Diego agents arrested 24 suspected cross-border drug traffickers.

Those arrested were in procession of hundreds of pounds of illegal drugs and authorities said the smugglers belonged to brutal Mexican drug cartels.

The suspected traffickers were transporting large quantities of methamphetamine and other controlled substances into San Diego County. The seizure of the drugs prevented them from being distributed across the U.S., said William R. Sherman, acting special agent-in-charge of the San Diego DEA.

“When you take the arrests made here in San Diego and couple them with the coordinated nationwide effort this week against this violent organization, you see that we have disrupted their whole distribution chain, from the street seller to the middle man to the leaders of the organization in Mexico,” Sherman said.

The agents in San Diego seized more than 200 pounds of meth, 200 pounds of marijuana, one pound of cocaine and three pounds of heroin, Sherman said.

Today, the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office filed multiple charges against 12 suspects for possession of methamphetamine, transport of drugs and hiring an under-aged minor to transport controlled substances.

The biggest offenders snagged in the DEA raid included; Francisco Saucedo, 46, Mayra Arroyo, 24, and Roberto Buenrostro Duran, 23, -all pleaded not guilty to the drug charges and held on $500,000 bond.
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One search warrant recovered more than 18 pounds of crystal meth buried in the backyard of Arroyo. In another arrest agents nabbed Buenrostro transporting a backpack filled methamphetamine during a traffic stop.

Deputy District Attorney Allison Fomon said her office arraigned three other defendants on Friday and the rest will face a judge later in the week.

The prosecutor said the suspects face just five to eight years of jail time if convicted.

Officials said the year-and-a-half long sting targeted suspects in America with ties to the vicious Mexican drug trafficking organization La Familia, located in Michoacan, Mexico.

Last week federal authorities reported the U.S. arrested 1,980 perpetrators and seized $60 million in cash. The agents also confiscated nearly 2,770 pounds of methamphetamine, 6,000 pounds of cocaine, 1,000 pounds of heroin, 14,000 pounds of marijuana and $3.8 million in assets.

For more stories; http://www.examiner.com/homeland-security-in-national/kimberly-dvorak

© Copyright 2011 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved

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U.S. government allegedly selling guns to Mexican drug cartels

In an alarming turn of events, ATF’s Project Gunrunner “Fast and Furious” included more programs located El Paso, Texas, Columbus, New Mexico as well as “Operation Castaway” in Miami, Florida. However, the new alleged U.S. gun-smuggling rings are larger and include the sale of military-grade weapons directly to the Mexican Los Zetas cartel.

Reports from two former CIA agents conclude the U.S. government has set up shop in stash houses located in New Mexico and Texas. Former Director of Drug Enforcement Agency’s (DEA) Intelligence Center in El Paso, Phil Jordan alleges the Obama Administration knew about the sale of weapons to Mexican drug cartels.

The other CIA agent turned reporter Robert Plumlee said the U.S. government maneuvered weapons using an unnamed company and working with the U.S. Direct Commercial Sales program. He also believes the Los Zetas cartel has purchased property along the U.S./Mexico border to house the military-grade weapons.

To make matters worse, the U.S. Direct Commercial Sales program hails from the U.S. State Department run by Hillary Clinton. The Directorate of Defense Trade Control Program oversees private U.S. companies that sell defense weapons.

Under the Direct Commercial Sales program, the U.S. State Department regulates and licenses businesses to sell weapons and defense services and training for export. Last year, the program provided Mexico with $416.5 million worth of firearms, equipment, and military-grade weaponry.

Plumlee told the El Paso Times “From the intel, it appears that a company was set up in Mexico to purchase weapons through the U.S. Direct Commercial Sales program, and that the company may have had a direct link to the Zetas.”
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“They’ve found anti-aircraft weapons and hand grenades from the Vietnam War era,” Plumlee said. “Other weapons found include grenade launchers, assault rifles, handguns and military gear including night-vision goggles and body armor.”

The door is still open to connect the small-town of Columbus, N.M. that witnessed the town’s Mayor and Police Chief arrested in March. Plumlee contends the U.S. authorities were aware of the weapons trafficking along the border before the “Columbus 11” scandal.

It appears the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) played a big role in this gunrunning raid.

“This investigation, along with the countless others that ATF and HSI have pursued jointly over the past several years, provides further proof that the trafficking of firearms to Mexico continues to be a significant problem,” said William Newell, special agent in charge of the ATF Phoenix Field Division. Newell is set to testify this week in Washington on Fast and Furious. “The good news is that all the agencies involved in this investigation were fully committed to joining forces to stop this activity, and the results speak for themselves,” according to the El Paso Times.

Assuming these reports are true, DEA, ATF, and Department of Justice (DOJ) are complicit in arms trafficking. If the U.S. government is complicit in trafficking weapons to Mexico, then family members of the 36,000 murder victims could sue America for wrongful deaths.

For more stories; http://www.examiner.com/homeland-security-in-national/kimberly-dvorak

© Copyright 2011 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.

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DOJ working fast and furious to cover its gun walking program

A July 4 meeting between the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) front man Kenneth Melson and Congressional investigators revealed the Department of Justice has actively engaged in a “cover-up” and “remain silent” campaign concerning the controversial firearm program that allowed U.S. weapons to cross into Mexico in the hands of criminals.

The hush, hush meeting revealed a couple of things, first, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder knew a lot more about this operation than he has previously admitted and Melson will not be the Obama Administration fall guy.

This investigation began when senior Republican Congressional lawmakers embarked on quest to find out why Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was murdered in December of last year with a gun that traced back to an ATF program. However, Agent Terry’s family and lawmakers were met with roadblocks from ATF leaders.

That all changed with the Fourth of July meeting between lawmakers and investigators when Melson exposed that it was the Department of Justice (DOJ) who silenced ATF leaders.

“If his account is accurate, then ATF leadership appears to have been effectively muzzled while the DOJ sent over false denials and buried its head in the sand,” Rep. Darrell Issa, (R-CA) chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, wrote in a letter Tuesday to AG Eric Holder. “That approach distorted the truth and obstructed our investigation.”

“According to Acting Director Melson, he became aware of this startling possibility only after the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and the indictments of the straw purchasers.” (Straw purchasers are criminals who buy weapons for other known criminals who cannot legally buy firearms)

The secret meeting also produced admissions that ATF “made many mistakes” with the controversial gun walking program “Fast and Furious.” In fact Melson’s private attorney, Richard Cullen, a former federal prosecutor was present at the July 4 meeting with investigators to protect the acting director.

Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) who also sits on the Government Oversight Committee said this scandal has quickly lent itself to a “he said, she said” scenario.

Chaffetz also cited his concern about AG Holder’s knowledge of the reckless ATF program. “We received page after page of redacted ATF documents. And in May Holder said he only learned about the gun walking program, even though we have questionable ATF memos that date back to January of this year.”
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Another concern with ATF’s “Fast and Furious” program is wire-tapping. “Wire tapes require senior administration approval and we still don’t know who authorized them for this program,” Chaffetz finished.

Lawmakers also learned over the holiday weekend that the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) were involved in buying guns with taxpayer money using an informant in order to target Mexican drug cartels.

The informant in question happened to be a high-ranking drug dealer the DEA used as an informant before deporting him for undisclosed reasons. His name resurfaced after the FBI reportedly hired the drug dealer as a counter-terrorism informant who claimed he could offer intelligence that al Qaeda suspects were traveling back and forth along the southern border.

Once the FBI activated the former-DEA informant a new DEA wiretap overheard a questionable conversation and alerted the ATF.

Adding insult to injury are claims from a high-ranking Los Zetas leader that the U.S. sanctioned firearm sales. The Los Zetas leader was arrested over the weekend in connection with the murder of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Agent Jamie Zapata earlier this year.

Mexican federal police say, Jesus Rejon Aguiler boasted that all the weapons his cartel uses are bought in the U.S. The cartel leader even accused the American government of participating in the sale of weapons, something U.S. officials adamantly deny.

While the exact number of weapons that have walked to Mexico is not known, the disastrous result is violent cartel members are now in procession of these guns and they will turn up at crime scenes on both sides of the border for years to come.

The question Americans’ must demand from lawmakers is “why?” Why were guns allowed to be purchased by known criminals? Why was Mexico kept in the dark about the failing program? Why did DOJ allow this program flourish and carry on?

The level of incompetence surrounding this program is very telling. It appears that the U.S. government’s intelligence agencies have failed to learn the tragic 9/11 lesson; it is imperative that three-letter acronym agencies must share information.

As the country approaches the 10-year anniversary of 9/11, America and her enemies now recognize that agencies like the DOJ, FBI, DEA and ATF are not sharing intelligence and continue to put intra-agency politics ahead of national security.

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© Copyright 2011 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.

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