Four B.C. men face extradition to U.S. over cocaine, pot smuggling charges

May 2, 2012

Vancouver Sun on May 2, 2012 released the following:

“BY KIM BOLAN

Four B.C. men facing charges in Washington state in a multimillion-dollar cross-border drug smuggling case have been arrested on extradition warrants.

Colin Hugh Martin, Sean Doak, James Gregory Cameron and Adam Christian Serrano were picked up last month by the RCMP and have appeared in court in connection with the American extradition requests.

All four are alleged to be part of a major smuggling operation headed by Mar-tin involving hundreds of kilograms of marijuana and cocaine and at least two helicopters to transport their illicit product. In fact, the pilot of one of those helicopters, Sam Brown, hanged himself in a Spokane jail after being arrested in February 2009 in the midst of a cross-border run.

U.S. court documents allege Martin, 39, sent helicopters he leased for his company, Gorge Timber, full of pot and ecstasy (MDMA) to remote landing sites in Washington and Idaho. The gang is alleged to have brought back to B.C. as much as 300 kilograms a week of cocaine.

Both Martin and Doak, 37, have previous convictions for drug trafficking in B.C.

When the charges against the foursome were first made public in January 2010, U.S. authorities said they would seek extradition of the accused within weeks. But their arrests took place more than two years later and the extradition fight in Canadian courts could continue for several more years.

Delays in the extradition process can occur at several levels. Once a Canadian is charged in the U.S., the American jurisdiction gets its paperwork ready and ships it off to Washington, D.C. The U.S. capital then sends it off to Ottawa and eventually it makes its way to the court in the jurisdiction of the accused.

A growing number of B.C. residents charged in the U.S. are surrendering on their own in exchange for lesser sentences.

Just last Friday, Jus-tin Harris, a former Hells Angel prospect charged in Washington in another drug smuggling case, got just three months in jail after surrendering to U.S. authorities and pleading guilty to one of the counts he was facing.

In March, former Bacon brother associate Dustin Haugen was sentenced to time served in Spokane for cross-border marijuana smuggling, also by helicopter. The U.S. attorney submitted in sentencing documents that Haugen deserved a break on sentencing after agreeing to plead guilty and surrendering to U.S. authorities.

Last year, several of Harris’s co-accused were given extra credit at sentencing in Seattle for voluntarily crossing the border to plead guilty without exhausting the extradition process in Canada.

Figures provided this week by the Canadian Department of Justice show there are 11 cases before B.C. courts involving extradition requests by the U.S.

Three of those cases, Iyhab El-Jabsheh, Ali Ibrahim and Omid Tahvili, involve telemarketing fraud charges in California. (Tahvili escaped from North Fraser Pre-trial in November 2007 and has not resurfaced.) Five of the 11 cases involve drug conspiracy charges and the final three matters involve allegations of sexual exploitation, bank robbery and assault.

Another eight B.C. residents have been surrendered to the U.S. in the last two years in fraud cases, some voluntarily and some by court order after losing their appeals. And 11 accused traffickers or smugglers from B.C. have been surrendered to the U.S. since spring 2010 after the requests for extradition were made.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
International Extradition Lawyers Videos:

International Extradition – When the FBI Seeks Extradition

International Extradition – Wire Transfer – Email – Telephone Call

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We previously discussed the extradition treaty between the United States and Canada here.

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To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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Mexican Drug Cartel Leader Extradited to US to Face Drug Conspiracy Charges

August 23, 2011

On Monday, August 22, 2011 the Department of Justice released the following:

High-Ranking Member of Mexican Gulf Cartel Extradited to the United States to Face Drug Conspiracy Charges

Aurelio Cano-Flores, aka “Yankee” and “Yeyo,” a high-ranking member of the Mexican Gulf Cartel, has been extradited to the United States from Mexico to face drug conspiracy charges, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and Administrator Michele M. Leonhart of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

Cano-Flores, 39, made his initial appearance today before U.S. Magistrate Judge John M. Facciola in the District of Columbia, after being extradited to the United States on Aug. 19, 2011. Cano-Flores was ordered detained in federal custody pending trial. Cano-Flores had been in the custody of Mexican authorities pending extradition since his arrest on June 10, 2009.

Cano-Flores was charged, along with 19 other defendants, in a superseding indictment returned on Nov. 4, 2010. He is charged with conspiracy to manufacture and distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine and 1,000 kilograms or more of marijuana for importation into the United States.

“As charged in the indictment, Cano-Flores led the Gulf Cartel’s drug trafficking activities in Camargo, Mexico,” said Assistant Attorney General Breuer. “Cano-Flores was allegedly responsible for ensuring that multi-ton quantities of cocaine, heroin and marijuana were shipped into the United States, and that the illegal drug proceeds were subsequently funneled back into Mexico. Together with our counterparts across the border, the Justice Department is committed to bringing cartel leaders and associates to justice for their crimes, and the violence and destruction they cause.”

“Today we have brought to a court of law Aurelio Cano-Flores, a major drug trafficker connected to the extreme violence of the Los Zetas and Gulf Cartels and who allegedly is responsible for transporting multi-ton quantities of drugs into the United States,” said DEA Administrator Leonhart. “This is part of a concerted, combined, and coordinated effort by Mexico and the United States to target the command and control of the drug trafficking cartels. This extradition is another example of our enduring commitment to bring to justice violent criminals who deny justice to others, and whose drugs are a threat to both our nations.”

According to court documents, Cano-Flores was a high-ranking member of the Gulf Cartel when it worked in close partnership with Los Zetas, collectively known as “The Company.” The Gulf Cartel allegedly transported shipments of cocaine and marijuana by motor vehicles from Mexico to cities in Texas for distribution to other cities within the United States. The indictment alleges that Cano-Flores, his co-defendants and others organized, directed, and carried out various acts of violence against Mexican law enforcement officers and rival drug traffickers to retaliate against and to intimidate anyone who interfered with, or who were perceived to potentially interfere with, the cocaine and marijuana trafficking activities of the Gulf Cartel.

According to the indictment, from June 2006 until his arrest, Cano-Flores’s role was to oversee drug trafficking activities in Camargo, Nuevo Leon, Mexico, including procuring for distribution significant quantities of cocaine, heroin and bulk marijuana. Cano-Flores also is alleged to have coordinated the movement of illegal narcotics from Mexico into the United States as well as the repatriation of drug proceeds into Mexico. The Gulf Cartel controls most of the cocaine and marijuana trafficking through the Matamoros, Mexico, corridor to the United States. Los Zetas began as the enforcement wing of the Gulf Cartel, but has emerged in recent years as an independent drug trafficking organization.

On April 15, 2009, under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act, the President identified Los Zetas as a Significant Foreign Narcotics Trafficker. On July 20, 2009, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) also identified the leadership of Los Zetas, Heriberto Lazcano-Lazcano and Miguel Angel Trevino Morales, as Significant Foreign Narcotics Traffickers. Both men are named as co-defendants in the indictment charging Cano-Flores. On July 25, 2011, an executive order was issued that blocks the transfer, payment or export of property belonging to certain transnational criminal organizations, including Los Zetas.

The department expressed its gratitude and appreciation to the government of Mexico for its cooperation and assistance in the apprehension and extradition of Cano-Flores.

An indictment is merely an allegation, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

If convicted, Cano-Flores faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison and a maximum penalty of life in prison.

The case is being prosecuted by trial attorneys from the Criminal Division’s Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section. The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs provided significant assistance in the extradition. The investigation in this case was led by the DEA’s Houston Field Division and the DEA Bilateral Investigation Unit.

To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN List Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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Members of Alleged Israeli Crime Family Extradited to U.S.; Face Drug Trafficking and Racketeering Charges

January 14, 2011

Five people reputedly involved in one of Israel’s most powerful organized crime families appeared in federal court in Los Angeles yesterday to face drug trafficking and racketeering charges.

Itzhak and Meir Abergil, along with three other individuals, pleaded not guilty to charges related to their alleged roles in a massive Los Angeles-based Ecstasy ring described in a 2008 indictment. They were extradited from Israel and, escorted by U.S. marshals, arrived in the U.S. late Wednesday.

The Abergils and several associates were arrested in Israel in 2008 after being indicted by a federal grand jury in Los Angeles. An Israeli court ruled the men “extraditable” in July 2009, but they appealed. A court rejected their petition last month, paving the way for their extraditions.

The men will remain in custody at the Metropolitan Detention Center while they await trial. No bonds were set for any of the individuals because they were seen as a flight risk.

Itzhak Abergil, Meir Abergil, Sasson Barashy, Moshe Malul and Israel Ozifa were in shackles when they appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ralph Zarefsky. Each individual required the assistance of a Hebrew translator.

Zarefsky assigned the case to U.S. District Judge Christina Snyder. No date has been set for the trial, which U.S. attorneys estimated would last about two months.

If convicted, the men could face life in prison. They would serve their sentences in Israel under the U.S. extradition treaty.

Israel for decades had refused to extradite its citizens. But the country amended its laws in 1999 to grant extradition requests to nations that promised to return defendants who are convicted abroad to Israel to serve their sentences.

For further reading, view the original U.S. extradition treaty with Israel. The treaty was amended in 2005 by the Israeli extradition protocol, available here.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, Interpol Litigation, International Extradition and OFAC Litigation.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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