January 08, 2007
Contact: SA Susan Wolf
Phone Number: (202) 305-8500
Second Significant Sentence Handed Down in "Operation Director's Cut"
JAN 8 -- (Alexandria, VA) - Alexandre de Basseville, 36, of Los Angeles, California, and Geneva, Switzerland, was sentenced today to 240 months in prison and ordered to forfeit $528,500, after he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to distribute MDMA (“Ecstasy”). Chuck Rosenberg, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, made the announcement after sentencing by United States District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee.
De Basseville and his co-defendant, Bruno Cavelier d’Esclavelles, 45, of Los Angeles, were arrested as part of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s “Operation Director’s Cut” after a two-year undercover investigation into international money laundering. d’Esclavelles was sentenced to 180 months in prison and ordered to forfeit $125,000 on December 15, 2006. According to court documents, between July 2004 and June 2006, de Basseville and d’Esclavelles met repeatedly with undercover agents posing as international drug traffickers in various locations including: Arlington, Virginia; Los Angeles, California; Miami, Florida; Amsterdam; the Netherlands; and, Geneva, Switzerland. During these meetings, de Basseville and d’Esclavelles negotiated to launder more than $20,000,000 in drug proceeds and to import and distribute more than 500,000 Ecstasy pills. On two occasions, de Basseville and d’Esclavelles took cash, totaling $300,000, which they believed to be proceeds of drug trafficking and laundered it using their Los Angeles business, Limelight Films, Inc. In February 2006, de Basseville and d’Esclavelles arranged the shipment of a package containing 10,000 Ecstasy pills obtained in the Netherlands to the United States. De Basseville and d’Esclavelles were arrested on June 1, 2006, in Arlington, Virginia, while meeting with undercover agents.
"The trail of dirty money is very hard to conceal,” said United States Attorney Rosenberg. “Here, two drug dealers and international money launderers are going to jail for a long time because federal agents and prosecutors relentlessly pursued their transactions."
This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Internal Revenue Service; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Immigration and Customs Enforcement; Customs Border Patrol; Arlington County Police Department; and Metropolitan (D.C.) Police Department. The United States Attorney’s Office also received considerable assistance from law enforcement authorities in the Netherlands and Switzerland. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys James Trump and Daniel Grooms.