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Category Archives: 84 Drug Sales/Transportation Reduced

U.S. v. Mr. T (DMC No.14567) – Federal Felony Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering ($175,000), Felony Conspiracy to Distribute a Controlled Substance (5kg of Steroids/383,000 Dosage Units), Felony Conspiracy to Import a Controlled Substance, and Related Forfeiture Issues – Reduced to 1 Count Conspiracy with Intent to Distribute Steroids with Probation and 7 Months of Incarceration and  Forfeiture Amount Reduced from $175,000 to $25,000 – United States District Court, District of Arizona (Case No. CR-15-01044-002-PHX-DLR).

Investigators in Phoenix became aware of seizures of packages at the Port of Entry in San Francisco, which were destined for Phoenix and contained both anabolic steroids and synthetic male hormones. One package contained 400 tablets of counterfeit Cialis, and 200 tablets of counterfeit Viagra. Although they are not controlled substances, they are frequently used in conjunction with anabolic steroids to counter impotency.

An investigation unwound in which Mr. T and his co-defendant were seen on a weekly basis traveling to a commercial warehouse in Phoenix. They would then go to various post offices and postal stores to mail parcels to destinations outside of Arizona. The Agents confirmed that the packages contained anabolic steroids and other controlled substances. Investigators also discovered that Mr. T and the co-defendant would travel to multiple Safeway stores and Fry’s stores that advertised Western Union services. They would do multiple wire transfers for $925. Any Western Union money transfer over $999 requires identification. By keeping the number under $999, they were able to avoid detection per that requirement.

During the investigations with the Postal Inspectors, they discovered that over a three-year period Mr. T had sent wire transfers to Israel and China totaling more than $75,000. Other wire transfers were discovered and eventually an arrest warrant was issued. Mr. T was found to be holding $25,000 in cash, over 300,000 dosage units of steroids, and multiple pieces of equipment for manufacturing steroids from analog chemical components. Agents seized approximately $125,000 of Mr. T’s cash, along with a Toyota Prius.

We became involved in the case and began working with the Assistant U.S. Attorney and the investigating Agents. Mr. T demonstrated a complete acceptance of responsibility through cooperation with Agents, whereby they were provided information on sources of steroids that come in from different countries including Israel, Turkey, Moldovia, Bosnia, and China. Ultimately, the Assistant US Attorney agreed to extend an offer which included 1 year in prison.

Mr. T was ultimately charged with Felony Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering, per 18 U.S.C. 1956(h); Conspiracy to Distribute a Controlled Substance – 5kg of Steroids/383,000 Dosage Units, per 21 U.S.C. 846; Felony Conspiracy to Import Controlled Substances, per 21 U.S.C. 963; and a Forfeiture Action was filed regarding $175,00 in cash and a Toyota Prius, per 18 U.S.C. 981, 21 U.S.C 853 and 881, and 28 U.S.C. 2461(c). At the time of Sentencing, we were able to present significant mitigation to the Judge and have the sentence reduced to a mere 7 months. In addition, at the Forfeiture Proceedings involving this case, the amount was reduced from $175,000 down to $25,000, thereby saving Mr. T approximately $150,000 of his money. Potentially, Mr. T could have spent well over a decade in prison if there had been no mitigation and cooperation proffered in his case.

U.S. v. Ms. G (DMC No. 14158) – Federal Felony Mortgage Fraud ($1,100,000), Federal Felony Bank and Wire Fraud, Felony Fraudulent Schemes, and Felony Forgery – Not Charged – Large National Bank Investigated.

Ms. G and her husband were going to purchase a large house for approx. $1,000,000. The appraisal information was sent from the loan originator, and the loan originator specifically asked if any funds were going to be pulled from a retirement account, to which Ms. G and her husband said “no.” Ultimately, discrepancies were found in the closing documents, and in order to close on the house, Ms. G had the house purchased in her husband’s name only. This was accomplished through a Special Warranty Deed signed by the husband “as a married man as his sole and separate property.” Ms. G signed a Disclaimer Deed disclaiming any interest in the property. Also, they both signed a Warranty Deed conveying property from husband’s sole and separate property to husband and wife.

The potential problem was that the Disclaimer Deed signed by Ms. G indicated that none of her assets or community assets were used in the purchase of the home. This is not accurate as a joint check was used for the purchase. In addition, the intent was always to use community assets to buy the home. After the closing, the bank discovered discrepancies and began investigating. A potential concern was that Forgery was committed, along with allegations of Fraudulent Schemes, and Mortgage Fraud per Arizona Revised Statue 13-2320. Lastly, a  potential for Federal Bank and Wire Fraud was also possible due to the federal loan documents which were signed.

We were able to show although Ms. G did not sign the document indicating the property was purchased with separate funds of the spouse, that it must be read in conjunction with the other documents signed by Ms. G at the same time. Specifically, that Mr. G. received title through the Special Warranty Deed the day before the Disclaimer Deed, and that he signed the Warranty Deed at the same time as the Disclaimer Deed, thereby suggesting that they were meant to function together to promote the buyers’ intent (as outlined in both the purchase contract and the loan pre-qualification form).

We were able to show that none of the documents were indicative of any intent to defraud. The only real issue had to do with community property issues down the road should they become divorced. Initially, Ms. G was facing the potential of multiple years in prison, but we were able to convince the bank not to turn this into a criminal matter and get the authorities involved.

State v. Mr. D (DMC No. 13039) – Felony Money Laundering ($1,100), Felony Conspiracy to Commit Sale or Transportation of Narcotics; Felony Sale or Transportation of Marijuana, Felony Use of a Wire Communication or Electronic Communication Device in a Drug Related Transaction and (3 Counts) Felony Aggravated Assault – Reduced to Facilitation, Assisting a Criminal Street Gang and Class 6 Aggravated Assault – All with Probation and a Total of 1 Year in DOC– Maricopa County Superior Court (Case No. CR2015-105571 and CR2015-114161).

The Phoenix Police Department was conducting an investigation into the North Side Mexican Brown Pride 21st Street Gang (MBP 21). This was done after they observed numerous hand to hand drug transactions between various gang members. The police had also documented purchases of heroin, rifles, shotguns and/or stolen vehicles between some of the gang members. At that point, they initiated a traffic stop in connection to an armed robbery suspect and discovered a stolen vehicle and $1,100 in cash. Upon questioning the driver, he stated that Mr. D had sold him some marijuana.

When Mr. D was detained, he admitted to selling marijuana to the juvenile just prior to the traffic stop. He was ultimately charged with Felony Money Laundering, Felony Conspiracy to Commit Sale or Transportation of Narcotic Drugs and Felony Use of a Wire Communication or Electronic Communication Device in a Drug Related Transaction.

Approximately 11 months after this incident with the police, he was also contacted regarding a claim by his then girlfriend that he had assaulted her. The allegations were that he pushed her onto a bed, held a hand over her mouth and grabbed her neck, which caused her air supply to be cut off for approximately 30 seconds. The girlfriend also claimed that he grabbed her by the throat a second time, kept her from leaving the apartment, and that he punched her in the arm. He was charged with 2 Counts of Aggravated Assault for the choking, and 1 Count of Misdemeanor Assault.

We became involved and were able to wrap up all the charges while Mr. D was being held as non-bondable for approximately 5 months in the county jail. We wrapped up the case with 1-year prison sentence, with credit for the 5 months he had already served. In addition, he received a two-month early kickout at the prison, which meant he spent another 5 months in custody before being released. He originally was facing a potential of over 15 years in prison if he were to be convicted of all charges and sentenced consecutively.

State v. Ms. H (DMC No. 13022) – Felony Money Laundering ($162,622), Felony Possession of Marijuana and Felony Possession of Drug Paraphernalia – Reduced to Solicitation and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, both Class 6 Open/Misdemeanors with Probation and Zero Days in Jail – Yavapai County Superior Court (Case No. CR2015-00506).

Ms. H was riding as a passenger in her husband’s truck along the I-40 when they were observed by a Yavapai County Sheriff’s Deputy. The deputy stated that the truck’s temporary license plate was flopping up and down, and that several items that were on the dashboard and the windshield of the truck were causing an obstructed view. Based upon this very questionable observation, the officer stopped Ms. H and her husband. When stopped, Ms. H’s husband stated that he borrowed the truck from a friend. The officer then claimed he smelled an odor of marijuana.

Ms. H’s husband said they were traveling from Kansas to Las Vegas, and when asked about the marijuana, he said he had an eighth of an ounce and a medical marijuana card. It was then discovered that he had an extraditable felony warrant out of Maricopa County for Possession of Marijuana and he was placed under arrest. The officer then began to question Ms. H and search the vehicle.

Discovered inside the vehicle, was three jars filled with marijuana that totaled 3.3 ounces. In addition, there was a purse which contained $75,000 in cash; a backpack which contained $86,000 in cash; and Ms. H’s purse which contained $37,000 in cash. This totaled $162,000. Ms. H and her husband were placed under arrest, and their 5-year old and 10-month old children were turned over to DCS workers

During questioning, Ms. H’s husband said that he was the one selling marijuana, and that his wife had no knowledge. Ms. H admitted to knowing there was marijuana in the bag and that she knew she had $37,000 in her purse. We were able to argue that the stop was a pretext stop (most likely as a result of a confidential informant), and that due to the fact English was a second language, her interrogation could have been misconstrued, plus the fact that her husband had stated that she had no knowledge. Because of all of this, we were able to secure a plea to 1 Count of Facilitation to Commit Money Laundering and 1 Count of Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, both as Class 6 Open/Misdemeanors. This included Probation with zero days in jail. Also included was an agreement to forfeit the $162,000 and the 2012 Chevy Silverado which they were driving at the time. Originally Ms. H was facing well over a decade in prison if convicted of all charges and sentenced to the maximum, instead she successfully completed probation and only has a misdemeanor on her record.

State v. Mr. W (DMC No. 13884) – Felony Money Laundering ($14,000), Felony Transportation of Marijuana For Sale and Felony Possession of Drug Paraphernalia – Reduced to Facilitation Class 6 Open/Misdemeanor with Probation and 2 Days in Jail – Navajo County Superior Court (Case No. CR2015-00846).

A Sergeant with the Navajo County Sheriff’s Office claimed that he was on the side of the road doing paperwork when he saw a car drive by with beads and a triangular air freshener hanging from the rearview mirror. He claimed that it was obstructing the driver’s view, so he then followed and pulled over the driver and the two passengers. The Sheriff’s Sergeant claimed that he smelled marijuana, and then did a search, and found a backpack containing three jars of marijuana and a glass pipe. When the three co-defendants were questioned, they all began blaming each other. Eventually, a deal was struck where one of the co-defendants told the Sergeant that Mr. W was also driving a different car that contained marijuana and a large amount of cash. That co-defendant was then released from custody.

When Mr. W was driving down the road, another officer received a radio call asking to stop a car matching Mr. W’s description. Mr. W was stopped, he was not Mirandized, and a search took place of his vehicle. A container with green residue of marijuana was contained in his backpack, along with $14,000 in cash. Mr. W had a medical marijuana card from California and the amount of marijuana found was well within the legal amounts authorized by the AMMA. Once we became involved in the case, we were able to show the Prosecutor that the stop was very questionable. After interviewing the arresting Officer, he could not even remember whether he saw any driving violations or why he was instructed to stop Mr. W. Because of the threat to file a Motion to Suppress All Evidence, the Prosecutor agreed to instead offer a Facilitation plea to a Class 6 Open/Misdemeanor Distribution with only two days in jail. Mr. W was even allowed to do the jail time in the state of Kansas (where he was from). Although he was initially facing a potential of 10 years or more in prison if convicted of all counts and sentenced to consecutive terms, he ended up ultimately completing probation and having only a misdemeanor on his record.

CONSPIRACY to TRANSPORT DANGEROUS DRUGS (Meth) for SALE and TRANSPORTATION of DRUGS for SALE REDUCED to POSSESSION of DRUG PARAPHERNALIA (Class 6 Open/Misdemeanor) with PROBATION and ZERO DAYS in JAIL- State v. Ms. S (DMC No. 7531) (Apache County Superior Court CR2006-280): Ms. S was a drug addict who also had bipolar disorder who was staying at her aunt’s just prior to checking into rehab. Her drug addict boyfriend showed up and convinced her to get in a car in order to travel to New Mexico. While driving they were stopped by the Police for minor traffic infraction and a large amount of cash and packaged methamphetamine was found in the vehicle. Both Ms. S and her boyfriend were arrested and charged.

We became involved and filled multiple Motions regarding the questionable nature of the stop. We also pointed out that it would be difficult for the state to prove Ms. S had knowledge of what was in her boyfriend’s car. Ultimately we secured a Plea Agreement which gave Ms. S Probation with zero days in jail. Unsuccessful completion of Probation, her case was designated a Misdemeanor and she had no Felony convictions on her record. Her ex boyfriend was not as lucky.

POSSESSION of MARIJUANA for SALE (15 SEPARATE BAGGIES) REDUCED to PROBATION with ZERO DAYS in JAIL– State v. Mr. A (DMC No. 6916) (Maricopa County Juvenile Court No. JV544394): Police were called to a Circle K regarding 2 suspicious vehicles that were in the parking lot. When Police arrived, they walked up to Mr. A’s vehicle and smelled the odor of burnt Marijuana. They ultimately spotted a pipe on the floors, ordered everyone out of the car and conducted a search. 15 separate baggies of Marijuana, a ledger, and scales were found. Mr. A was charged with Possession of Marijuana for sale, a class 4 Felony. He was also charged with Misconduct Involving Weapons and Under Aged Consumption. Although Prosecutors originally wanted to put Mr. A in jail, we were able to convince the judge to include no time in jail is part of Mr. A’s Supervised Probation. Because the case was kept in Juvenile Court, Once Mr. A turned 18 there was no conviction on his record.

THIRD OFFENSE POSSESSION of MARIJUANA for SALE (205 Pounds) REDUCED to PROBATION with ZERO DAYS in JAIL- State v. Mr. M (DMC No. 6948) (Pinal County Superior Court CR2003-01769):  Mr. M was pulled over by DPS Officers for allegedly following a vehicle too closely, and having a plastic license plate cover which obscured his license plate. Police noticed a blanket was covering some items in the back seat of his camper shell, and they began pressuring Mr. M for consent to search then area. Ultimately, he gave consent and 205 Pounds of Marijuana was found in his vehicle. Officers also determined that Mr. M had prior Felony convictions for Trafficking in Marijuana in a different state.

Mr. M had separate counsel before he retained our services, and the best offer they could receive was 6 1/2 years in Prison. We followed up with Motions to Suppress for an Unreasonable Stop, and Coerced Search. Ultimately the Prosecutor offered a lower Prison deal which we rejected. Finally, they offered a plea which included Probation and zero days in jail. Mr. M was originally facing well over a decade in Prison should be have gone to trial and had been convicted.

POSSESSION of MARIJUANA (327 Pounds) for SALE REDUCED to CONSPIRACY to POSSESS (Class 6 Open/Misdemeanor) with PROBATION and ZERO DAYS in JAIL- State v. Mr. D (DMC No. 8653) (Maricopa County Superior Court CR2008-151152): Mr. D was an “Over the Road” trucker who was passing through Phoenix, Arizona who was stopped for an alleged safety inspection. He was also questioned by Officers and was not free to leave, and he was not read his Miranda rights. It also appears he was coerced into given consent to the search of his vehicle, in which 329 pounds of Marijuana was found. He invoked his Right to Remain Silent and he was immediately charged with Possession and Transportation of Marijuana. We spotted issues and filed Motions regarding No Reasonable Suspicion to Stop, Coerced Search, and Pre-Text stop. With negotiations with the Prosecutor, they agreed to reduce the charge down to Conspiracy to Possess (Class 6 Open/ Misdemeanor) which included Probation and zero days in jail. Mr. D was on Probation for 2 years, successfully completed his Probation and his case became a Misdemeanor. He has no Felony convictions on his records. He originally was facing mandatory Prison time.

POSSESSION with INTENT to DISTRIBUTE 500 GRAMS OR MORE of COCAINE (with prior conviction for distributing 5 kilos of Cocaine) REDUCED to PROBATION with 1 YEAR and a DAY in PRISON – U.S. v. Mr. P (DMC No. 7645) (United States District Court, District of Arizona CR05-00520-001-PHX-ROS): Mr. P had done prior prison time for selling 5 kilos of Cocaine and also producing Crack Cocaine for sale. Although he had done well in prison and was drug free when he got out, he slid back into a drug addicted life style. A package he had sent containing over a half of kilo of Cocaine through the United States mail was intercepted and Mr. P was charged. We were able to negotiate a plea with the Prosecutor and present large amounts of Mitigation. Originally Mr. P was facing 4 years to life in prison, and then up to 5 years in prison per the plea agreement. We were able to have the first Judge removed from the case due to a Conflict of Interest, and the second Judge sentenced Mr. P to Probation with 1 year and a day in prison. He is now out of prison and living a successful life with his wife and children.

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