California Man Indicted For Using The Internet And US Mail To Illegally Sell Controlled Substances
Worcester, MA A California man was arraigned today in federal court for allegedly operating an Internet/Mail Order enterprise, which illegally distributed thousands of dollars worth of pharmaceutical controlled substances, the majority of which were Ketamine and anabolic steroids, throughout the United States. It is alleged that a Northborough, Massachusetts resident overdosed on Ketamine purchased from the defendant.
Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, New England Field Division, Kenneth R. Jones, Postal Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in New England; and United States Attorney Michael J. Sullivan, announced today the arraignment of MANUEL L. PACHECO, age 33, formerly of Reseda, California on a six count felony indictment charging him with conspiring to distribute steroids and Ketamine, a veterinary tranquilizer commonly abused by individuals who frequent "rave clubs", and related violations.
"This indictment should send a clear message to those who seek to conceal their drug dealing activity by using the Internet," said U.S. Attorney Sullivan. "Whether on a street corner or in cyberspace, local, state and federal law enforcement is watching. We will find you and prosecute you."
According to papers filed in Court, PACHECO set up an Internet website using a clandestine "Ziplip" account, over which he advertised the sale of anabolic steroids, Ketamine, and assorted prescription drugs purchased in Mexico and smuggled into the United States. Customers from across the U.S. placed orders on-line with PACHECO who used the Internet alias "The Doc", and paid for the drugs in advance by mailing cash and U.S. Postal Money Orders to PACHECO at addresses and commercial mail receiving agency accounts he controlled
It is alleged that PACHECO's business extended to Massachusetts, where, according to papers, a Northborough man who purchased Ketamine from PACHECO, overdosed on the drug and slipped into a coma. The man was hospitalized in Worcester for several days before he was revived.
"The anonymity of the Internet is not going to protect the distributors of these predatory drugs," said DEA Special Agent in Charge Trouville. "Traffickers should be on notice that cyberspace will not provide a safe haven from arrest."
The papers also indicated that in a single day in October 2001, Postal Inspectors in California seized 40 packages that PACHECO's organization had mailed to customers. All of the parcels contained steroids with a combined "retail" value of over $9,000, destined for PACHECO's various customers.
"For over 200 years, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service has been enforcing laws that protect U.S. Postal Service employees and customers," said Inspector in Charge Kenneth Jones. "We continue to focus substantial efforts on dangerous narcotics. Today's arraignment should be clear message to anyone who would use the U.S. Mail to commit crimes."
If convicted, PACHECO faces up to 5 years in prison, to be followed by 2 years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine conspiracy and each of the two drug distribution counts in the indictment. PACHECO faces a maximum sentence of 4 years in prison, to be followed by 1 year of supervised release and a $30,000 fine on each of the two counts charging him with use of the mails to commit a felony. The sixth count of the indictment seeks the forfeiture of a 2001 Plymouth Prowler, a diamond ring and a diamond tennis bracelet. Federal law allows for the forfeiture of any monies and property that are derived from criminal activity.
PACHECO was arrested on March 20, 2002, in Los Angeles, California on a Nassau County, New York complaint charging him with a 1984 Homicide. On May 5, 2002, PACHECO was indicted by Nassau County on the homicide charge and he was subsequently returned to New York State on June 7, 2002 on a Governor's warrant. Federal authorities, in connection with these federal charges, took custody of PACHECO on October 17, 2002 to be brought to Massachusetts for his arraignment today. Following his federal arraignment, PACHECO will be returned to the custody of officials in Nassau County, New York to first face the homicide charges there.
The arrest was the product of a long-term investigation conducted by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and Special Agents assigned to the Central Massachusetts Drug Enforcement Administration/High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force in Worcester, Massachusetts, with assistance from the Postal Inspection Service in California, the Los Angeles Police Department, the Massachusetts State Police, and Police Detectives from Nassau County, New York. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney David Hennessy in Sullivan's Worcester Office. The assets forfeiture portion of the case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Shelbey Wright.
Please direct any inquire to Special Agent Anthony J. Pettigrew, Public Information Officer, New England Field Division at 617-557-2138.