March 06, 2006
Contact: SA Susan Wolf
Phone Number: (202) 305-8500
Silver Spring Man Sentenced to More Than 12 Years in OCDETF Cocaine Conspiracy
Cocaine was Smuggled to US in Car Batteries
Shawn A. Johnson, Special Agent in Charge of DEA’s Washington Division announced that today U.S. District Court Judge Deborah K. Chasanow sentenced Franklin Alma, age 29, of Silver Spring, Maryland to 151 months in prison followed by 4 years of supervised release for possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine. At the conclusion of his jail sentence, Alma has been ordered to surrender to immigration authorities for possible deportation.
According to the statement of facts presented at his guilty plea on August 8, 2005, from 2001 through February, 2004 numerous individuals participated in a conspiracy to import, distribute, and possess with intent to distribute cocaine and heroin by procuring drugs from Guatemala for redistribution in and around Maryland and other states. Starting in 2001 and continuing into 2003, Alma obtained cocaine from members of this conspiracy for resale in the District of Maryland and other locations. Alma obtained the cocaine from Guatemalan individuals who were shipping the cocaine concealed inside of car batteries, and his sale of cocaine included sales to Peter Axarlis, age 25, of Wheaton, Maryland, Stefanos Kalivas, age 28, of Wheaton, Maryland, and Scott Bonesteel, age 30, of Herndon, Virginia.
On July 31, 2002, Alma participated in the sale of approximately 742 grams of cocaine to Scott Bonesteel. Alma provided Axarlis and Kalivas with a black bag containing the cocaine, and Axarlis then drove to the rear of a Safeway store in Kensington, Maryland to meet with Bonesteel. Bonesteel purchased the cocaine for $20,500, and Axarlis then repaid Alma $18,750, keeping the remainder to split between himself and Kalivas.
Bonesteel and Kalivas each pleaded guilty to drug charges in Montgomery County Circuit Court. Axarlis pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute cocaine in federal court and was sentenced to 78 months in prison to be followed by five years of supervised release.
The case was a cooperative effort under the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) program between the DEA Washington Division, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Montgomery County Department of Police. Assistant United States Attorney James M. Trusty prosecuted the case.