Guilty Verdicts for Nevada to Hawaii Meth Ring
SEP 5 - (LOS ANGELES) Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Timothy J. Landrum announced today that a federal jury returned guilty verdicts on September 2, 2008, against Benjamin Acuna, Anabel Valenzuela and Eddy Olguin, all of Las Vegas, Nevada, for conspiracy to distribute and possess, with intent to distribute, 50 grams or more of methamphetamine. Acuna and Valenzuela were also found guilty of conspiracy to commit money laundering. Acuna and Valenzuela are alleged to be the leaders of a large drug trafficking organization which shipped thousands of pounds of methamphetamine from Las Vegas, Nevada to Hawaii from approximately 2002 to 2005.
On September 3, 2008, the same jury returned additional special verdicts against Acuna and Valenzuela finding that their interests in five real properties located in Las Vegas, Nevada, the contents of five bank accounts and a safety deposit box also held in Las Vegas, Nevada along with an $8,000,000 money judgment should be forfeited to the Government because they were obtained with, or contained, cash proceeds generated from the drug trafficking conspiracy and were involved in, or traceable to, the money laundering offenses committed by Acuna and Valenzuela. The money judgment was derived from the organization's profit from the sale and distribution of 2,000 pounds of methamphetamine within the District of Hawaii.
Another co-conspirator in the case, Antonio Santos, age 40, of Waipahu, Hawaii, was sentenced September 2, 2008, by United States District Judge J. Michael Seabright to 240 months (20 years) in prison for conspiring to distribute and possess, with intent to distribute, 50 grams or more of methamphetamine. According to information produced in connection with court proceedings, Santos was part of the above-described conspiracy wherein he received pound quantities of methamphetamine which were mailed from Las Vegas, Nevada and were then distributed within the District of Hawaii. Santos, in turn, mailed parcels containing cash proceeds from the sale of methamphetamine to Las Vegas and, ultimately, to Acuna and Valenzuela. Santos was convicted after a jury trial in November, 2007.
Acuna and Valenzuela are scheduled to be sentenced January 5, 2009, by United States District Judge Susan Oki Mollway who will also sentence Olguin on December 15, 2008.
The case was the culmination of a three-year investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service's Criminal Investigation Division - Las Vegas, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and the Honolulu Police Department.
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