Operation Cyber Chase Defendants Found Guilty
Two key defendants from Operation Cyber Chase were found guilty of drug trafficking in federal court today. Operation Cyber Chase, which culminated in April of 2005, is a DEA-led Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation that targeted international Internet pharmaceutical traffickers operating in the United States, India, Asia, Europe and the Caribbean. These e-traffickers distributed drugs world-wide using “rogue” Internet pharmacies.
Operation Cyber Chase is part of the DEA’s “Virtual Enforcement Initiative (VEI).” This DEA cyber initiative acknowledges that criminals in the drug trade are embracing the use of 21st century technology to peddle their poisons into U.S. communities.
Ahkil Bansal and Fred Mullinex were found guilty of charges including conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and conspiracy to import controlled substances. Bansal was also found guilty of operating a Continuing Criminal Enterprise. Sentencing will be announced at a later date.
According to Special Agent in Charge James M. Kasson of the DEA Philadelphia Field Division, “Justice was served today through the conviction of Ahkil Bansal and Fred Mullinex. This ground breaking investigation, prosecution and conviction of these defendants and their international based pharmaceutical drug trafficking organization was the first of its kind in this country. The Bansal organization distributed drugs worldwide using rogue internet pharmacies and website operators to dispense controlled substances directly to the customer without a valid doctor/patient relationship. Through today’s guilty verdict, a loud message is being sent to any and all potential violators… that law enforcement will pursue cyber criminals, prosecutors will bring charges, and juries will convict. We have permanently logged these illegal drug traffickers off the Internet.”
Operation Cyber Chase began after the DEA Philadelphia Division identified a Philadelphia-based international Internet drug trafficking organization, allegedly headed by Indian nationals Brij Bhusan Bansal and Akhil Bansal. The Bansal Organization allegedly repackaged controlled substances smuggled into the United States from India and other countries and distributed them throughout the U.S. and the world.