International Drug Dealer Sentenced To 15 Years
RALEIGH, N.C. - United States Attorney Thomas G. Walker announced that in federal court, Chief United States District Judge James C. Dever III sentenced Andrew Wayne Landells, 47, of Jamaica, to 180 months imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release.
Landells was named in a three count, Criminal Indictment filed on May 15, 2013 charging him with one count of Conspiracy to Launder Monetary Instruments and two counts of Money Laundering and Aiding and Abetting. On September 30, 2013, Landells pleaded guilty to Count 1, Conspiracy to Launder Monetary Instruments in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1956(h).
According to the investigation, Andrew Wayne Landells directed the activities of his estranged wife, and at least seven coconspirators to assist him in the trafficking of marijuana and laundering of drug proceeds from 2002 until April 2012. The investigation revealed that from 2002 to 2012, the defendant was involved in the trafficking of marijuana from Mexico throughout, New York, Florida, Virginia, Arizona, and North Carolina. The defendant then used the drug proceeds to purchase luxury vehicles and residences, and to rent residences in others’ names. Landells used numerous residences across the country to store the drugs. Additionally, he maintained storage units and United Parcel Service mail boxes in Raleigh, North Carolina; West Palm Beach, Florida; Cary, North Carolina; and Wellington, Florida, for purposes of storing illegal substances and furthering his illegal activities.
In order to disguise the source of the proceeds from his illegal activities, Landells also operated sham companies purporting to be in the candle manufacturing business. He established the following business fronts to facilitate the laundering of drug proceeds: Olufina Candle in Durham; LuGhan in Durham; Heru in Durham; and Botanica Olomi in Raleigh. To date, there is no evidence of any actual revenue from candle manufacturing. Landells used numerous aliases, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, driver’s licenses, and passports to avoid detection by law enforcement as he was wanted by authorities in multiple states, having escaped from a hospital in New York following an arrest for passport fraud when he was intercepted on a flight from England to the United States using a fraudulent passport in 1999. Landells had also been federally indicted in the Eastern District of Virginia on drug charges in 1989; however those charges were eventually dismissed due to the inability to locate Landells. Furthermore, he has pending charges in New York for felonious counts of Criminal Possession of a Weapon, Possession of a Loaded Firearm, and Reckless Endangerment. Agents recovered multiple alias identifications for Landells in two storage units in Raleigh. Co-conspirators in the scheme further reported that Landells obtained, used, and also provided them with false driver’s licenses, birth certificates, and Social Security numbers to facilitate the offense.
At sentencing, Landells was held accountable for the distribution of up to 1,000 kilograms of marijuana. He was held accountable for laundering money from drug proceeds through the straw purchase of at least seven pieces of real property, 13 motor vehicles, and four businesses, all with a combined value of over $1 million. Additionally, Landells possessed firearms during his drug-trafficking activities, maintained premises to store marijuana for the purpose of distribution and the Court found that he maintained an aggravating role in the offense by directing the activities of more than five participants to assist him in the trafficking of marijuana and laundering of drug proceeds from 2002 to April 2012.
As a result of this case, the Government has seized and forfeited a 2005 BMW motorcycle, 2004 BMW 645 automobile, 2006 Bentley Flying Spur, 2011 Mercedes Benz C300W, 2006 Rolls Royce Phantom, a home located at 12716 Richmond Run Drive in Raleigh, NC, custom candle-making equipment, a Yamaha Clavinova piano and over $51,700 in United States currency, which has allowed the United States to recover approximately $1,298,004.64 to date. As part of the sentence, the Court entered a money judgment against Landells in the amount of $1 million and forfeited his interest in several properties located in New Jersey and Florida.
Investigation of this case was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration and Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation as part of the High Intensity Drug Trafficking (HIDTA) initiative. The United States Marshals Service assisted with the forfeiture of assets.
DEA ASAC, William F. Baxley commented on the sentencing, “Drug traffickers utilize a multitude of sophisticated methods in which to hide their assets. One of DEA’s highest priorities is to relentlessly pursue and destroy these drug trafficking and money laundering organizations. This global drug trafficking and money laundering investigation was a success because of the local, regional, national, and foreign law enforcement partnerships and our commitment to bring this organization to justice in the United States.”
“Today’s sentencing illustrates that while the road to justice may sometimes be long, it is certain”, said Thomas J. Holloman, III, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation. “Landells operated as a high-level drug trafficker for many years, reaping the profits of his illegal activity, and now the time for him to pay for his crimes has arrived. The tireless efforts of the case agents and our law enforcement partners in bringing Landells to justice, and recovering the assets he obtained through his criminal activity are to be commended.”
Special Assistant United States Attorney Augustus Willis represented the government. Mr. Willis is a prosecutor with the District 3-B District Attorney’s Office encompassing Carteret, Craven and Pamlico Counties. District Attorney Scott Thomas has assigned him to the United States Attorney’s Office to prosecute federal Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force criminal matters. Mr. Wills’ position is funded through a grant provided by the Governor’s Crime Commission. Assistant United States Attorneys Joshua Royster and Steve West assisted with the forfeiture proceedings.
The DEA encourages parents, along with their children, to educate themselves about the dangers of legal and illegal drugs by visiting DEA’s interactive websites at www.justthinktwice.com, www.GetSmartAboutDrugs.com and www.dea.gov.