MAY 30 (OAKLAND, Calif.) – An eleven-count federal Indictment charging nine people with participation in a conspiracy to manufacture and distribute Xanax pills and other drugs was returned by the Grand Jury on May 22, 2014, and unsealed today in federal court, announced United States Attorney Melinda Haag; Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Jay Fitzpatrick; Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, Special Agent in Charge José M. Martinez; U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Inspector in Charge Rafael E. Nunez; U.S. Food and Drug Administration Office of Criminal Investigations, Special Agent In Charge Lisa Malinowski; and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Acting special Agent in Charge Tatum King.
View a list of the Defendants and the charges.
According to the Indictment, Donagal, a/k/a “Xanax King,” of Martinez, Calif., is alleged to have manufactured, distributed, and possessed with intent to distribute counterfeit alprazolam (Xanax) pills and other drugs. The Xanax pills at issue were manufactured to resemble alprazolam pills made by Pfizer, Inc., including stamping the Pfizer “Xanax” trademark on the pills. Donagal is also charged with two counts of international money laundering related to wire transfers of cash to China, both to promote the drug operation and to avoid the reporting requirements associated with such wires. Finally, Donagal is charged with structuring those wires in a way to avoid the $3,000 reporting requirement for such transactions, such as by arranging for multiple wires of below $3,000 to be sent to China from different Western Union locations in the Bay Area, all on the same day.
Lindberg, Kirk, Gonzalez, Elliott, Tomada, and Neely are charged with aiding Donagal in that enterprise.
Donagal, Lindberg, Mitts, Elliott, Tomada, and Neely were arrested yesterday in a joint law enforcement operation that took place in Martinez, Concord, Pleasant Hill, San Pablo, Pinole, Pacheco, Oakley, and Pittsburg, Calif. One additional defendant, Koskiniemi, was arrested in Fresno. Defendant Kirk is still at large, and Gonzalez is in state custody on another charge. The defendants in federal custody made their initial appearance in federal court in Oakland this morning, with the exception of Koskiniemi, who appeared in federal court in Fresno yesterday afternoon. Donagal, Lindberg, Mitts, Elliott, Tomada, and Neely were arraigned before the Honorable Donna M. Ryu, United States Magistrate Judge. Defendants Donagal, Lindberg, Elliott, Tomada, and Neely are currently in custody at North County Jail in Oakland, while Mitts was released on a bond in the amount of $50,000.
Donagal’s next scheduled appearance is at 9:30 a.m. on June 5, 2014, for a detention hearing before the Honorable Kandis A. Westmore, United States Magistrate Judge. Mitts, Tomada, and Neely will appear before Judge Ryu tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. for identification of counsel. Elliott will appear before Judge Westmore on June 2, 2014, for identification of counsel, and Lindberg will appear before Judge Westmore on June 3, 2014, for a detention hearing.
An Indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If convicted, the defendants face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of $1 million on the drug charges, 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine for the money laundering charges, and 10 years in prison and a $500,000 fine on the structuring charges. However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.
Kevin Barry and Katie Medearis are the Assistant U.S. Attorneys who are prosecuting the case with the assistance of Assistant U.S. Attorney David Countryman of the Asset Forfeiture Unit. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the DEA, assisted by IRS Criminal Investigations, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Office of Criminal Investigations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Homeland Security Investigations, the Concord Police Department, the Martinez Police Department, the Pittsburg Police Department, the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office, the South San Francisco Police Department, the Oakland Police Department, the Oakland School Police Department, the Livermore Police Department, the Walnut Creek Police Department, the San Ramon Police Department, and the Pleasant Hill Police Department.This case is the product of an extensive investigation by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, a focused multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional task force investigating and prosecuting the most significant drug trafficking organizations throughout the United States by leveraging the combined expertise of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.