SEP 10 (WILMINGTON, Del.) - Charles M. Oberly, III, United States Attorney for the District of Delaware, announced today that Ronaldo Edmund, age 38, of Wilmington, Delaware, was sentenced on September 9, 2013, to a term of imprisonment of 15 years for his role as a leader of an international drug trafficking conspiracy.
According to facts introduced in prior hearings, Edmund was the leader of an organization which recruited multiple drug couriers to travel to Panama in order to smuggle cocaine and heroin into the United States. Edmund, a Panamanian national, facilitated and coordinated the travel of the couriers to Panama, and he maintained and managed contact with the Panamanian sources of supply. Agents identified a total of at least 19 couriers who took smuggling trips to Panama on behalf of the organization, and who smuggled, or attempted to smuggle, more than 13 kilograms of cocaine and five kilograms of heroin from Panama to Wilmington.
The investigation also uncovered a separate source of supply, Saleem A. Sharif, a former West Point graduate and Captain in the United States Army, who shipped multiple kilograms of heroin from Kabul, Afghanistan, to the United States. Sharif and three other individuals – Charles Richardson, Darrold Thomas, and Sayeed A. Behrooz – have pleaded, or are scheduled to plead guilty, to offenses relating to the shipment of heroin from Afghanistan.
To date, the government has charged 23 individuals in the United States with drug trafficking offenses as a result of the investigation. All but four of those defendants – each of whom remain abroad in Panama – have pleaded guilty, or have agreed to plead guilty, to drug-related offenses.
United States Attorney Charles M. Oberly, III, stated, “I commend the hard work and relentless dedication of our law enforcement partners over the past four years in dismantling two major drug trafficking organizations that imported cocaine and heroin from Panama and Afghanistan into the United States. The fact that these drugs made it onto the streets of Wilmington and our surrounding communities demonstrates the reach of international drug trafficking organizations – and the importance of utilizing all necessary resources to stop them. The sentence imposed on Mr. Edmund is significant, reflects his leadership role in the offense, and should serve as a serious deterrent for others in the community who would consider getting involved in international drug smuggling.”
The investigation was led by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Department of Homeland Security – Homeland Security Investigations, the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation Division, and the Wilmington Police Department.
Investigators also received invaluable assistance from the Panamanian National Police; the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas; the United States Marshals Service for the District of Delaware; the Newark (Delaware) Police Department; the Delaware State Police; the New Castle County Police Department; the Delaware Department of Corrections, Probation and Parole; the Cecil County (Maryland) Drug Task Force; the Pennsylvania State Police; the Maryland State Police; and the Elkton (Maryland) Police Department.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Robert F. Kravetz. For further information, contact Press Information Officer Kimberlynn Reeves at (302) 573-6277, ext. 16287.