Drug Enforcement Administration

San Francisco

Christopher Nielsen, Special Agent in Charge

February 21, 2019

Contact: Casey Rettig

Phone Number: (415) 436-7994

Vallejo couple indicted for manufacturing methamphetamine pills at elder care facility

Six pill presses and 48 pounds suspected methamphetamine seized

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A federal grand jury returned a seven-count indictment today against Henry Benson, 37, and Roselle Cipriano, 35, of Vallejo, charging them with conspiracy to distribute and manufacture methamphetamine, distribution of methamphetamine, possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott and DEA Special Agent in Charge Chris Nielsen announced. Benson was also charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm.

According to court documents, Benson and Cipriano manufactured pills inside a building that also housed an eldercare facility that they owned and operated in Vallejo. They manufactured the pills in various colors and shapes, including the Kool-Aid smiling pitcher, a likeness of President Donald J. Trump’s face, the Tesla emblem, and minions. Although the pills were sold as MDMA, they were found to contain methamphetamine.

When the eldercare facility was searched on Feb. 7, 2019, agents seized a pill press, 31 pounds of methamphetamine pills, 17 pounds of suspected methamphetamine, various other powders and manufacturing equipment, and a shotgun within three feet of the pills. A search warrant executed the next day at a storage facility rented by Benson and Cipriano turned up five additional pill presses, hazmat clothing, and additional powder suspected of containing narcotics.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration. Assistant U.S. Attorney Cameron L. Desmond is prosecuting the case.

This case was part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force. The OCDETF program was established in 1982 to conduct comprehensive, multilevel attacks on major drug trafficking and money laundering organizations. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking and money laundering organizations and those primarily responsible for the nation’s drug supply.

Benson and Cipriano are in custody pending trial. If convicted, they each face 10 years to life in prison and a $1 million fine. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

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