News Release
Date: February 24, 2012
Contact: Special Agent Ramona Sanchez
Number: 602 664-5725

More Than 21 Years for Queen Creek, Arizona Man: Heroin, Cocaine, and Marijuana Trafficking
Defendant fled to Europe to avoid prosecution and extradited to Arizona to face charges

FEB 24 - (Phoenix, AZ) – Ernest Marek Chrzaszcz of Queen Creek, Ariz., was sentenced on Feb. 21, 2012, by U.S. District Judge James A. Teilborg to 21 years, 10 months in prison and 5 years of supervised release. On Dec. 8, 2011, after a six-day trial, Chrzaszcz was found guilty of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin, cocaine, and marijuana; possession with intent to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin; possession with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine; and possession with intent to distribute 100 kilograms or more of marijuana.

“The drug trade has become a losing proposition for traffickers,” said DEA Acting Special Agent in Charge Doug Coleman. “Ernest Marek Chrzaszcz and his organization poisoned too many of our neighborhoods, and DEA and our partners will not relent until our streets are safe and these criminals are behind bars.”

Acting U.S. Attorney Ann Birmingham Scheel stated, “This conviction and sentence should put drug traffickers on notice that, should they choose to use Arizona as a trans-shipment corridor, not only will they be vigorously prosecuted, but they will also be held responsible and punished accordingly.”

Internal Revenue Service Special Agent in Charge Dawn Mertz stated, “Because narcotic organizations need to get their illegal drug profits into the economy by purchasing assets or making illegal proceeds appear to be from a legal source, IRS-CI works together with other federal and local agencies to follow the money trail to financially disrupt and dismantle significant narcotics trafficking organizations.”

Evidence presented at trial showed that Chrzaszcz worked for a drug distribution cell that transported large amounts of drugs in semi-tractor trailers from Mexican sources of supply to customers throughout the United States. The transportation cell moved millions of dollars in drugs throughout the United States from Nov. of 2006 until Jan. of 2010.  The transportation cell brought millions of dollars in drug proceeds back to Arizona for transfer to the sources of supply in Mexico.

Trial evidence also showed that on July 19, 2009, Chrzaszcz was stopped while driving his semi-tractor trailer near Payson, Ariz.  The semi-tractor trailer contained 55 kilograms of cocaine, 9 kilograms of heroin, and 135 kilograms of marijuana, valued at over $2 million dollars. Chrzaszcz fled to Europe to avoid prosecution and was extradited back to Arizona to face charges.

The investigation in this case was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Marshals Service, the Arizona Department of Public Safety, and the Scottsdale Police Department. The prosecution was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Brian G. Larson and Marni Guerrero, District of Arizona, Phoenix.

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