Last Defendant Sentenced In Operation ‘Big Mac & Fries’
JUN 19 -- (Muskogee, OK) - Sheldon J. Sperling, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Oklahoma, announced today that JACK RICE, age 62, of Pittsburg County, Oklahoma, was sentenced on conspiracy to travel in interstate commerce to carry on unlawful activities, in violation of Title 18 U.S.C., Section 371 and Title 18 U.S.C., Section 1952(a)(3). RICE is the last defendant to be sentenced of the 13 co-defendants indicted on July 19, 2007, by a federal grand jury. He pled guilty to the charges on October 26, 2007.
“RICE was sentenced to 60 months imprisonment, 24 months supervised release, and ordered to pay a special assessment fee of $100.00,” stated U.S. Attorney Sheldon J. Sperling.
“The Honorable Ronald A. White, District Judge in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma, presided over today’s sentencing. The Court ordered the defendant to report to the U.S. Marshal Service by noon on July 1, 2008, to begin serving his sentence.”
“Eleven men and two women were charged with a McAlester - area drug conspiracy that has been under investigation since 2003,” U.S. Attorney Sperling reported. “The charged conspiracy involves large quantities of methamphetamine distribution. Federal sentences of imprisonment are not subject to parole.”
“Charges arose from an investigation by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Narcotics, Drug Enforcement Administration, District Attorney Drug Task Forces 18 & 22, Hughes and Pittsburg County Sheriff’s Departments, McAlester Police Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Internal Revenue Service, Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, Oklahoma Department of Corrections, Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Oklahoma National Guard, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.”
“The conspirators engaged in financial transactions in criminally derived property to further drug business and conceal the true source of assets. The co-defendants used a portion of money derived from the sale of methamphetamine to purchase additional methamphetamine. Additionally, they invested a portion of the proceeds of their illegal drug sales in assets in such a manner to obscure and hide the true source of the money. As part of the conspiracy they purchased assets using currency in such an amount, quantity and form so that the true source of the funds used to purchase the assets were hidden from law enforcement. It was further part of the conspiracy that they titled purchased assets in the names of nominee owners to avoid potential exposure to forfeiture provisions of drug and money laundering statutes in an effort to preserve their ill gotten gains,” continued U.S. Attorney Sperling.
“All other defendants in this case have begun serving their sentences,” U.S. Attorney Sperling reported.
“Warrants remain outstanding for APOLONIO MENDOZA, age 42, and FERNANDO VAZQUEZ, age 26, both of Dallas, Texas, who are considered fugitives. MENDOZA is charged with Conspiracy, in violation of Title 21 U.S.C., Section 846, Use of a Communication Facility in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime, in violation of Title 21 U.S.C., Section 843(b) and Interstate Travel in Aid of Racketeering, in violation of Title 18 U.S.C. § 1952(a)(3). VAZQUEZ is charged with Conspiracy, in violation of Title 21 U.S.C., Section 846 and Interstate Travel in Aid of Racketeering, in violation of Title 18 U.S.C., Section 1952(a)(3). Anyone having information on their whereabouts should contact the U.S. Marshal Service or your local law enforcement,” U.S. Attorney Sperling concluded.
“Assistant United States Attorney Rob Wallace represented the United States at today’s sentencing.”
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