State v. Ms. R (DMC No. 12851) – Felony Illegal Control of an Enterprise/RICO ($143,000), Fraudulent Schemes & (4 Counts) Trafficking in Stolen Property – Reduced to Solicitation with 2.5 Years in Prison – Maricopa County Superior Court (Case No. CR2014-002286).
During a four month period of time, six grocery stores had reported a high incident of retail theft revolving around baby formula. Baby formula is used by drug dealers to cut other types of drugs (such as cocaine) in order to increase the actual volume/weight of the drug, which increases the sales volume. The six stores that were being targeted were Walmart, Fry’s, Bashas’, Albertson’s, WinCo, and Food City. Surveillance was set up on one of the stores, and one of the thieves was observed loading a shopping cart with empty bags, he then entered the store and began loading those bags with baby formula. The person then ran directly for the exit door to jump in a waiting getaway car. The Police swooped in and arrested this individual.
This individual was questioned, and then became a “Confidential Informant” for the Police Department. He ended up leading Police to Ms. R. and a Search Warrant was obtained for her house. When the house was searched, 6,000 cans of baby formula were discovered with a value of $143,000. She was then taken into custody and questioned. During questioning, she admitted that she was selling all of the baby formula to one particular lady in California, who would then have her ship it to New Jersey and New York. She admitted she suspected it was for drug dealers, who used it to cut cocaine.
We became involved in the case, and cooperated with Detectives in order to have the case transferred to prosecuting and investigating agencies in California, New Jersey, and New York. We also presented significant Mitigation on behalf of Ms. R. This included the fact that she had no prior criminal history and had 14 year old twins who lived at home. Ultimately, we were able to secure an offer which included 2.5 years of prison. Originally, Ms. R. was facing the possibility of two decades in prison. She had originally been charged with Illegally Conducting an Enterprise per ARS 13-2308(A)(1), Felony Fraudulent Schemes per ARS 13-2310(A), and 4 Counts of Trafficking in Stolen Property per ARS 13-2307(B). With the final disposition of 3 Counts of Solicitation, this allowed her to receive a much lower sentence. Initially, Prosecutors wanted to give her a much harsher sentence due to the amount of actual cocaine that ended up on the streets, which was thereby affecting thousands of people.