October 24, 2011
Contact: Timothy P. McMahon
Phone Number: (973) 776-1143
Leader Of Cocaine Smuggling Organization Sentenced To 10 Years In Prison For Conspiracy To Use Commercial Airlines To Smuggle Drugs From West Indies To England Through The United States
NEWARK, N.J. - Brian R. Crowell, the Special Agent in Charge of the New Jersey Division of the Drug Enforcement (DEA) and Paul J. Fishman, the United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey, announced the extradited leader of an organization that smuggled cocaine aboard commercial airlines from the West Indies to England via the United States was sentenced today to 120 months in prison.
Roger Folkes, 40, who was extradited from Jamaica in November 2010, previously pleaded guilty to a Superseding Indictment charging him with conspiracy to import and to export cocaine and was remanded to custody without bail. Folkes entered his guilty plea before U.S. District Judge Dennis M. Cavanaugh, who also imposed the sentence today in Newark federal court.
According to documents filed in this and related cases and statements made in court:
Roger Folkes admitted that directly or through intermediaries, he, his brother Romeo Folkes, 28, and Mervin Francis, 36, acquired cocaine in Jamaica and St. Lucia, concealed it in luggage, and provided that cocaine-filled luggage to drug couriers who transported it on commercial airlines to Great Britain after making intermediate stops in the United States.
Roger Folkes also admitted that he conspired to recruit and pay couriers, as well as to arrange payment for the smuggled drugs.
The charges arose from an international investigation into narcotics trafficking that resulted in multiple narcotics seizures and the guilty pleas of 13 individuals.
In addition to the prison term, Judge Cavanaugh sentenced Roger Folkes to five years of supervised release.
Francis pleaded guilty to the same charge and was sentenced in August 2011 to 40 months in prison. Romeo Folkes pleaded guilty in May 2011 and is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 31, 2011.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Andrew M. McLees; and the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New Jersey Division, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Brian R. Crowell - in coordination with police officers of the West Midlands Police Complex Casework Unit in Birmingham, England - for the investigation leading to today’s sentence. He also thanked U.S. Customs and Border Protection for its important role.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric W. Moran of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark.