Colombian National Pleads Guilty to Operating an International Fentanyl Trafficking Organization from a Canadian Prison

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https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/colombian-national-pleads-guilty-operating-international-fentanyl-trafficking-organization

A Colombian fentanyl trafficker, who was scheduled to go to trial on Oct. 1, 2019, pleaded guilty earlier today to drug trafficking and money laundering charges as the leader and organizer of an international continuing criminal enterprise while incarcerated in Quebec, Canada.  The enterprise involved distributing fentanyl and other similar substances from Canada and China into the United States where some of those drugs resulted in 15 overdoses including 11, which caused serious bodily injuries, and four, which resulted in fatal overdoses.

At the plea hearing, Vivas Ceron admitted that between 2013 and 2017, Chinese sources of supply shipped several hundred pounds of fentanyl and fentanyl analogues to the United States and Canada.  Vivas Ceron and members of his conspiracy imported these opioids into the United States and distributed them to their customers around the country. Vivas Ceron ran his drug trafficking organization from a jail cell in Canada, and he concealed his identity to facilitate the conspiracy by using aliases, encrypted WICKR accounts, and numerous email addresses. Vivas Ceron and his co-conspirators’ distribution in Canada and the United States resulted in 15 overdoses in North Dakota, Oregon, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Rhode Island, including four fatal overdoses, one of which was Grand Forks resident 18-year-old Bailey Henke.

From a Canadian jail cell, Daniel Vivas Ceron directed a deadly drug ring that fueled the opioid epidemic and took the lives of four Americans,” said Assistant Attorney General Benczkowski.  “Today’s guilty plea brings some measure of justice for the victims and families that fell prey to Vivas Ceron’s dangerous organization and its tragic track record of spreading addiction and abuse. At a time when our country desperately tries to free itself from the painful grip of the opioid crisis, criminals like Ceron and his more than 20 co-defendants are seeking to profit off addiction and death.  

Additional defendants charged in federal court in this investigation include:

District of North Dakota

Jian Zhang, aka Hong Kong Zaron, 40, of China; Jason Joey Berry, aka Daniel Desnoyers, 36, of Quebec, Canada; Xuan Cahn Nguyen, aka Jackie and Jackie Chan 39, of Quebec Canada; Marie Um, aka Angry Bird, 38, of Quebec, Canada; Vannek Um, 41, of Quebec, Canada; and Linda Van, 27, of Quebec, Canada were charged by a superseding indictment returned on Jan. 18, 2018, with drug trafficking conspiracy. Also charged with international money launder conspiracy were Na Chu, 38; Yeyou Chu, 37; Cuiying Liu, 63; and Keping Zhang, 63, all Chinese nationals;

In a separate indictment returned on March 22, 2018, Steven Barros Pinto, aka Yeaboy, 38, of Pawtucket, Rhode Island, was charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribute controlled substances and controlled substance analogues resulting in serious bodily injury and death, conspiracy to import controlled substances and controlled substance analogues into the United States resulting in serious bodily injury and death and continuing criminal enterprise. On Nov. 28, 2018, a superseding indictment was filed adding the charges of obstruction of justice and money laundering conspiracy;

Brandon Corde Hubbard, 44, of Portland, Oregon, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute controlled substances resulting in serious bodily injury and death, distribution of a controlled substance resulting in death and money laundering conspiracy. He was sentenced on July 13, 2016, to serve life in federal prison;

Ryan Jon Jensen, 24, of Grand Forks, North Dakota, pleaded guilty on Feb. 27, 2015, to conspiracy to distribute controlled substances resulting in serious bodily injury and death, one count of distribution of a controlled substance resulting in death, two counts of distribution of a controlled substance resulting in serious bodily injury and money laundering conspiracy. He was sentenced on Feb. 1, 2016, to serve 240 months in federal prison;

Joshua Tyler Fulp, 24, of Grand Forks, pleaded guilty on June 23, 2015, to conspiracy to distribute controlled substances resulting in serious bodily injury and death. He was sentenced to serve 144 months in federal prison;

Kain Daniel Schwandt, 23, of Grand Forks, pleaded guilty on July 24, 2015, to conspiracy to distribute controlled substances. He was sentenced on Jan. 25, 2016, to serve 42 months in federal prison;

David Todd Noye Jr., 18, of Grand Forks, pleaded guilty on May 4, 2015, to conspiracy to distribute controlled substances. He was sentenced on Jan. 25, 2016, to serve 39 months in federal prison;

Jameson Robert Sele, 24, of Grand Forks, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute controlled substances. He was sentenced on July 27, 2015, to serve 36 months in federal prison;

Ronnie Lee Helms, 34, of Acworth, Georgia, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance and controlled substance analogue resulting in serious bodily injury and death. His sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 1, 2019;

Braden James Foley, 32, of Olympia, Washington, pleaded guilty on Aug. 11, 2016, to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribution of controlled substances. He was sentenced to serve 30 months in federal prison on Nov. 21, 2016;

Anthony Santos Gomes, 34, originally of Rhode Island and Davie, Florida, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribute controlled substances and controlled substance analogues resulting in serious bodily injury and death and money laundering conspiracy. In addition to pleading guilty, Gomes agreed to forfeit a residence located in Davie, Florida; $162,836.00 in cash; 2007 Maserati Quattroporte; 2017 Polaris Sportsman XP ATV; and assorted jewelry valued at $64,725.00. His sentencing has been set for Nov. 15, 2019;

Amanda Schneider, 29, of Port S. Lucie, Florida, pleaded guilty on Sept. 17, 2018, to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribution of controlled substances. She was sentenced on Jan. 17, 2019, to serve 15 months in federal prison;

Keveen Nobre, 29, of Providence, Rhode Island, pleaded guilty on Oct. 10, 2018, to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribution of controlled substances. He was sentenced on April 17, 2019, to serve 30 months in federal prison;

Robinson Gomez, 36, of Charlotte, North Carolina, pleaded guilty on Jan. 10, 2019, to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribution of controlled substances. He was sentenced on April 17, 2019, to serve 180 months in federal prison;

David Campbell, 58, of Plantation, Florida, pleaded guilty on Jan. 10, 2019, to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribution of controlled substances. He was sentenced on April 17, 2019, to serve 120 months in federal prison;
Louis Bell, 31, of Port St. Lucie, Florida, pleaded guilty on Nov. 8, 2018, to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribution of controlled substances. He was sentenced on April 18, 2019, to serve 201 months in federal prison;

Elizabeth Ton, 28, of Davie, Florida, pleaded guilty on June 18, 2018, to money laundering conspiracy. She was sentenced on March 8, 2019, to serve 41 months in federal prison; and

Danny Gamboa, 22, of Pawtucket, Rhode Island, pleaded guilty on Jan. 10, 2019, to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribution of controlled substances. He was sentenced on April 17, 2019, to serve 25 months in federal prison.


District of Oregon

Channing Lacey, 32, of Portland, Oregon, pleaded guilty on March 28, 2017, to one count of distribution of a controlled substance resulting in serious bodily injury to three individuals and one count of distribution of a controlled substance resulting in death. She was sentenced on Aug. 28, 2017, to serve 135 months in federal prison;

Steven Fairbanks Locke, 43, of Portland, pleaded guilty on June 14, 2017, to use of a communication facility to facilitate a drug offense. His sentencing is set for Nov.18, 2019; and

Carissa Marie Laprall, 27, of Portland, pleaded guilty on March 28, 2017, to three counts of distribution of a controlled substance resulting in serious bodily injury. Her sentencing is set for Dec. 2, 2019.

 

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