April 09, 2013
Contact: Erica C. Curry
Phone Number: (602) 664-5600
Two Men Found Guilty Of Drug Trafficking Charges
PHOENIX - Robert Gene White, 45, of Chandler, Ariz. was found guilty of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana and less than 500 grams of cocaine, conspiracy to commit money laundering and three counts of transactional money laundering. Nadunt Chibeast, 61, of Tempe, Ariz. was found guilty of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana and less than 500 grams of cocaine, and conspiracy to commit money laundering. The case was tried before U.S. District Judge Susan R. Bolton from March 19 through April 4, 2013. Sentencing is set before Judge Bolton on July 8, 2013.
"DEA and its partners are successfully striking back at drug traffickers who use Arizona as a major transshipment point for their criminal operations,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Doug Coleman. “This collaborative investigation led to the successful dismantling of a drug trafficking organization and seizure of its drugs and money.”
“This investigation epitomizes the effectiveness of coordinated federal and local law enforcement agency efforts,” said United States Attorney John Leonardo. “Drug traffickers using legitimate and illegitimate means to move drugs and money will be found out, arrested and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”
“These guilty verdicts are the result of hard work and a true team effort. We are proud to be part of Operation Green Parcels. Our agents will continue to provide their expertise in narcotics cases by investigating money laundering - a skill that was crucial to the prosecution of these defendants” said Gabriel Grchan, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Phoenix Field Office of Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation.
The trial evidence showed that the drug trafficking (DTO) received drugs from Mexico via “backpackers,” repackaged the marijuana into parcels, then shipped it through United Parcel (UPS). White, who was a Phoenix UPS driver at the time, knowingly received the packages from the DTO and delivered them into the UPS mail-stream for delivery to customers in New York, Ohio and Virginia. In return, the DTO received parcels of money ranging from $20,000 to $30,000 from the buyers. To conceal who the money was being sent to, the DTO had buyers address returning money parcels to real addresses on White’s delivery route but with fictitious business names and suite numbers that did not exist. White then redirected them to the DTO. White shipped 200 to 300 pounds of marijuana each week for over a year, receiving as much as $50 for each pound of marijuana that went through his truck.
The trial evidence also showed that Chibeast assisted the DTO by driving a suspected drug load, assisting with marijuana packaging and conspiring to launder money. Chibeast allowed the DTO to direct its drug buyers to deposit money into his bank accounts in their home states and then he would transfer the money to the DTO’s bank accounts or withdraw cash to physically provide it to other DTO members.
A conviction for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana and less than 500 grams of cocaine carries a maximum penalty of life, a $10 million fine or both. A conviction for conspiracy to commit money laundering carries a maximum penalty of 20 years, a $500,000 fine or both. Each conviction for transactional money laundering carries a maximum penalty of 10 years, a $250,000 fine, or both.The investigation in this case was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Internal Revenue Service, and Pinal County Narcotics Task Force officers from the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office, the Coolidge Police Department, the Apache Junction Police Department and the Maricopa Police Department. The prosecution was handled by Glenn McCormick, Assistant U.S. Attorney, District of Arizona, Phoenix.