Two Defendants Plead Guilty to Importing 300 Kilograms of Cocaine into the U.S. from the Bahamas
AUG 21 -- Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration, Jeffrey H. Sloman, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Anthony V. Mangione, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Office of Investigations in Miami, Michael J. Folmar, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Miami Field Office, Randy Donnelson, Director of Air Operations for Miami Air and Marine Branch, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Frank J. Kitzerow, Chief, Jupiter Police Department, Daniel C. Alexander, Chief, Boca Raton Police Department, and Ric L. Bradshaw, Sheriff, Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, announce the guilty pleas of defendants Mark Pinder and Parson Exana to conspiracy to import cocaine into the U.S., in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 963.
Sentencing for Pinder has been scheduled for October 29, 2009. Sentencing for Exana has been scheduled for November 5, 2009. At sentencing, they face a minimum sentence of ten years to life and a fine of $4,000,000.
On May 25, 2009, Special Agents conducted an undercover operation on the high seas, and received approximately 297 kilograms of cocaine from defendant Pinder in a vessel-to-vessel transfer. The cocaine was thereafter transported to Palm Beach County. On May 26, 2009, law enforcement conducted a controlled delivery of the 297 kilograms of cocaine to defendants Pinder and Exana in Jupiter, FL. Pinder, a Bahamian citizen, and Exana, a United States citizen, were arrested at that time.
Mark Pinder pled guilty before U.S. District Court Judge Donald M. Middlebrooks on August 12, 2009. Parson Exana pled guilty before U.S. District Court Judge Donald M. Middlebrooks on August 18, 2009.
The seizure and arrests were the result of a combined operation involving DEA, ICE’s Office of Investigations in West Palm Beach, FBI - West Palm Beach Division, Ft. Lauderdale, Customs and Border Protection, Jupiter Police Department, Boca Raton Police Department and the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office. The combined investigation targeted individuals who use maritime vessels to smuggle drugs into South Florida from the Bahamas.