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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How Colombia is busting drug cartels

January 18, 2012

CNN on January 18, 2012 released the following:

“By William C. Rempel, Special to CNN

(CNN) — Gruesome and seemingly endless accounts of violence in Mexico have obscured one notable bright spot in Latin America’s high-stakes struggle with powerful drug gangs. In Colombia, once home to the world’s biggest cocaine cartels, new crime organizations are being picked apart with silent efficiency — aided by Bogota’s enthusiastic embrace of extradition.

In recent years, more than 1,300 of Colombia’s top crime bosses and their most dangerous enforcers have been sent north to face trafficking charges in the United States, a dramatic turnabout from the 1990s when extradition was outlawed under coercive pressure from the Medellin and Cali cartels.

Traffickers who might have continued to operate their drug organizations from luxury prison cells near their Colombian homes find themselves serving extended terms far away in U.S. penitentiaries without wall-to-wall carpets, big-screen TVs or easy phone access. Many offer to become witnesses hoping to reduce their sentences.

The result has been a steady erosion of organized crime’s capabilities in Colombia — a lesson for Mexico and other countries in the region threatened by drug gangs. Mexico’s historic reluctance to extradite its citizens to the United States should be reassessed in the face of Colombia’s success.

The beauty of extradition as practiced by Colombia is not its power to stop drug smuggling. There is scant evidence it has had much direct effect in that regard. But it continues to splinter the leadership of trafficking gangs, keeping them in a perpetual state of rebuilding. In short, extradition disorganizes organized crime.

And that’s what makes it such a winning strategy in a country once thoroughly compromised by cartel threats and bribes. In those days, barely 20 years ago, the Medellin and Cali cartels vied for power with the Bogota government that too often seemed to be a hostage to criminal forces. Extradition became the prize they fought over.

Pablo Escobar, once the most feared thug in the drug world, was so afraid of being carted off for trial in Florida or Texas or New York that he demanded an end to extradition. He famously insisted that he preferred “the grave in Colombia” to a prison cell in the States. But when his demands were unheeded, Escobar launched a terror campaign of political assassination, socialite kidnappings, and deadly bombings.

While Escobar went to war, rival Cali cartel bosses went to the bank. They spread favors of cash, women and Caribbean vacations to any and all receptive politicians. Democracy was no match for the combined forces of corruption and intimidation. Colombia capitulated to the drug kings and let cartel lawyers rewrite portions of the national constitution to outlaw extradition.

It was banned for more than six years until restored in December 1997. More recently, its use soared as part of former President Alvaro Uribe’s campaign to disarm and demobilize narco-trafficking paramilitary groups. And he put extradition processing on a fast track after discovering that imprisoned gangsters were still running criminal enterprises from their Colombian jails.

Colombia remains highly motivated today by fear of a return to the bad old days when criminal demands trumped national interests. And its success has been noticed. Mexico is showing more willingness to extradite Mexican nationals accused of major trafficking offenses in the U.S., but its numbers are small compared with Colombia’s.

About a dozen Mexican drug bosses are in various stages of extradition, a cumbersome and often frustrating process that can take two to five years. U.S. authorities complain that, among other things, Mexico requires excessive documentation before approving extradition applications — notably the identities of certain key witnesses that can jeopardize their safety.

Some of the lingering reluctance comes from national pride, from the conviction that Mexico should and can take care of its own crime problems. To that end, Mexican anti-narcotics units have been beefed up and security at its federal prisons improved. But that’s not enough.

“There’s no prison anywhere in Mexico or Colombia that puts these guys out of business like U.S. prisons,” says one American law enforcement official.

There is a cost, of course. Federal prosecutions and extended incarcerations are expensive. Yet, what are the alternatives? When Colombia was overrun by cartels, the U.S. poured in a billion dollars of aid to help a friend and ally fight back. Recently, Texas Gov. Rick Perry suggested sending U.S. troops to help Mexico, an option loaded with political as well as financial costs. It only underscores the point: Extradition is a bargain.

It’s also the most potent weapon against organized crime available in the region. Mexico and its Central American neighbors should embrace it with Colombian enthusiasm.”

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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 Colombia 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 and OFAC SDN Sanctions 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.