July 10, 2015
Contact: Jodie Underwood
Phone Number: (206) 553-5443
Gang Leader Sentenced To 50 Years For Prescription Drug Trafficking
SPOKANE, Wash. - Arvin Terrill Carmen, 39, of Los Angeles, California, and Spokane, Washington, was sentenced to 50 years in prison following a five-week jury trial. Carmen was found guilty of engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise, conspiracy to distribute oxycodone, and possession with intent to distribute oxycodone. In addition, Carmen was ordered to serve a life-term of court supervision following his release from federal prison and to pay a $50,000 fine. Carmen has been in custody since his arrest on February 28, 2013.
“It is clear that this organized criminal group contributed to the oxycodone and heroin epidemic in the Pacific NW. This lengthy sentence sends a clear message and should serve as a warning to all drug traffickers,” said DEA Acting Special Agent in Charge Douglas James. “I would like to commend the outstanding contributions by all investigative agencies who worked tirelessly on this case.”
Evidence presented during court proceedings showed that Carmen initiated a drug-trafficking scheme that involved dozens of other members and associates of the Eight Trey Gangster Crips, a street gang headquartered in Los Angeles County that operated this criminal enterprise between Los Angeles and Spokane. Carmen and others illegally obtained large quantities oxycodone prescription pills in Los Angeles and utilized female couriers to transport the pills to Spokane for distribution on the street.
At the onset of the investigation, the drug trafficking group acquired 80 mg. OxyContin pills for approximately $40 or less in Los Angeles and sold them for approximately $80 each in Spokane. When the manufacturers modified the structure of the 80 mg. pills to discourage illegal diversion and abuse, the price per pill rose to approximately $125 each in Spokane. When the 80 mg. pills became scarce, the group acquired 30 mg. Oxycodone pills in Los Angeles for approximately $10-$12 per pill. The group then sold the pills in Spokane, for approximately $20-$22 per pill. The cash proceeds from Spokane-area sales, often in excess of $100,000 per shipment, were transported back to Los Angeles, and hidden in the checked baggage of female couriers. Based on the investigation, investigators initially estimated that possibly as much as 10,000 illegal OxyContin pills were transported to, and distributed in, Spokane every week for years.
In total, 62 co-conspirators, nearly all with gang affiliations, were charged in an Indictment handed down by a grand jury in January, 2013. Approximately 50 search warrants were simultaneously executed in Los Angeles, Spokane, and Seattle, resulting in the seizure of supplies of oxycodone-based pills, numerous firearms, and cash. Fifty-one co-conspirators have pleaded guilty.
This investigation and prosecution case is part of the Federal Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF). The investigation was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration,
the Spokane Regional Drug Task Force, and the Los Angeles Police Department, 77th Precinct.