Kingpin Henk Rommy Sentenced In Manhattan
JOHN P. GILBRIDE, the Special Agent in Charge of the New York Division of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (the “DEA”) and MICHAEL J. GARCIA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York and announced that United States District Judge JED S. RAKOFF today sentenced the Netherlands-based Ecstasy kingpin HENK ORLANDO ROMMY, known as “the Cobra,” to 20 years’ imprisonment, the maximum sentence permitted by law. ROMMY was convicted in September 2005 by a Manhattan federal jury on charges of conspiring to import more than $20 million worth of Ecstasy into the United States.
“This sentencing proves that the DEA is focused on targeting and bringing to justice those individuals who are responsible for bringing poison to the streets of America. The DEA and the United States Attorney’s Office have diligently worked on making certain that Henk Orlando Rommy never again has the opportunity to import drugs into our communities.” Mr. Gilbride commended the United States Attorney’s Office, Southern District of New York for their work on this case.
At the sentencing proceeding, Judge RAKOFF found that the amount of ecstasy involved in the conspiracy was at least 1.7 million pills. In imposing the maximum sentence allowed by law, Judge RAKOFF characterized ROMMY as a “hardened, sophisticated career criminal,” and noted ROMMY’s “stream of prior convictions.” (ROMMY was convicted of at least 21 separate criminal offenses in Europe.) Judge RAKOFF further noted that ROMMY organized “international drug deals whose scope and sophistication is outweighed only by their intrinsic evil.”
Indeed, Judge RAKOFF indicated that if the law permitted it, he would “very seriously consider a sentence of life imprisonment.”
The evidence at ROMMY’s trial showed that he was a powerful international narcotics trafficker who moved millions of dollars worth of Ecstasy, as well as large quantities of cocaine and hashish, throughout Europe and into the United States.
ROMMY controlled Ecstasy laboratories in Holland and bragged about the potency of the Ecstasy produced in his labs. The evidence also established that ROMMY conspired to bring approximately one million Ecstasy pills to the United States in 2000, and participated in another 800,000 Ecstasy pill shipment in 2001.
The Government also offered evidence of ROMMY’s participation in a 2003 undercover meeting in Bermuda, which was videotaped, and during which ROMMY agreed with an undercover DEA agent to deliver 300,000 Ecstasy pills. The aggregate street value of all of the Ecstasy pills ROMMY conspired to import would have been at least $20 million.
ROMMY was arrested by Spanish authorities at the request of the United States in 2003, and extradited to the Southern District to face trial in January 2005.
In addition to incarceration, Judge RAKOFF also imposed a forfeiture judgment against ROMMY in an amount of $1,000,000. Mr. GARCIA praised the investigative efforts of the DEA and thanked law enforcement officials in the Netherlands, Spain, and Bermuda for their assistance in the investigation, arrest, and prosecution of this important international target.
The ROMMY prosecution is being handled by the Office’s International Narcotics Trafficking Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys KEVIN R. PUVALOWSKI and SCOTT L. MARRAH are in charge of the prosecution.