News Release
November 5, 2002


photo-Rembrandt Print/FrameOn November 5, 2002, Anthony P. Placido, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration's New York Division announced the arrest of 20 defendants, 11 in New York and 9 in the Netherlands, involved in an international Ecstasy trafficking organization. Operating on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, the organization was comprised of Ecstasy traffickers who for the most part came originally from the Dominican Republic, but who now reside in either Amsterdam or New York City.

The defendants are charged with conspiring to smuggle approximately 30 kilograms of Ecstasy having a street value of over $2 million dollars into the United States. Among the methods used to smuggle the Ecstasy were concealing it in a print of a Rembrandt painting "The Nightwatch", in catalytic and tort converters used in automobiles and in a false bottomed suitcase carried by a human courier.

photo-press conferenceThe Drug Enforcement Administration received critical assistance from the United States Customs Service and the New York City Police Department and across the ocean by the Organized Crime Unit Southern Netherlands/Synthetic Drugs Unit, a Dutch unit formed primarily to combat Ecstasy trafficking.

Anthony Placido, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, New York Division, stated: "This case clearly demonstrates the vital importance of coordination and cooperation in combating transnational drug crime. In addition to the important role played by a variety of U.S. agencies, we also wish to thank our international law enforcement partners for their valuable assistance in this investigation."

Each of the defendants faces charges that carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

photo-press conference

Click here to hear Special Agent Placido address media at NY press conference>>

Complete transcript:

" I'd like to echo what the US Attorney has just said on this and I think one of the things I would really like to highlight and bring home is something that we at DEA have known for many many years. That coordination and cooperation are really the secret weapon, if you will, the cornerstone of our effort to protect the citizens of the United States and the City on New York from the threat of drug trafficking and abuse. Clearly- cooperation on this side of the Atlantic was critical. We had an undercover officer from the New York Police Department, working on the case, outstanding work by the Customs Service and of course our participation from DEA. But perhaps the more important than what makes this case unique is the fact that protecting Americans, protecting the public from drug trafficking abuse really requires international cooperation. Drug Trafficking is and always has been a transnational crime."


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