FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
TUESDAY, JUNE 21, 2005
TDD (202) 514-1888
FORMER FBI INFORMANT PLEADS GUILTY TO NINE FELONIES INCLUDING DRUG TRAFFICKING AND OBSTRUCTING JUSTICE
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Acting Assistant Attorney General John C. Richter of the Criminal Division and Inspector General Glenn A. Fine announced today that Myron Strong, a former informant for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, pleaded guilty for scheming to deceive the FBI during a 3 ½ year federal grand jury investigation in Detroit.
Strong, 34, entered the plea today at U.S. District Court in Detroit. He was indicted in July 2004 for obstruction of justice, witness tampering, theft of government property, retaliating against an undercover FBI agent, and distributing controlled substances several times during the investigation. Under today’s plea agreement, Strong pleaded guilty to eight counts of the original indictment: obstruction of justice, witness tampering, theft of government property, retaliating against a federal official and four counts of distribution of a controlled substance (two counts for marijuana, one count for heroin and one count for cocaine). Strong also pleaded guilty to an additional charge of obstruction of justice for crimes he committed from prison while awaiting trial on the earlier charges. U.S. District Court Judge John Corbett O’Meara scheduled sentencing for Sept. 27, 2005.
According to plea documents, Strong schemed to defraud law enforcement between September 2000 and February 2004 by inventing a fictitious international drug trafficking organization that he claimed was distributing cocaine, heroin and marijuana across the country through several purported drug dealers in the Detroit area, including “Fly” and “Zule Obawallah Shule.” During the alleged scheme, Strong falsely accused real individuals of being drug dealers and submitted drugs and other substances as alleged evidence of their crimes. He also recruited individuals to pose as drug dealers during scripted phone calls and staged drug deals with undercover agents. Strong and his associates netted approximately $240,000 in drug money and other investigative expenses, according to the documents filed in court.
Strong admitted that during the scheme, he recruited others to falsely incriminate the then-Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the FBI’s Detroit Field Office in phone calls that Strong knew were being monitored by the FBI. In those calls, it was falsely suggested that the purported drug dealers had an improper relationship with the FBI SAC and that the SAC had given them information about the FBI’s investigation into their drug trafficking. Strong also admitted that to add credibility to the story, and to ensure the continued theft of funds, he had associate Andre Boone pose as a drug dealer to falsely claim that he learned from the SAC the identity of an FBI undercover agent working on the case. Then, playing the drug dealer, Boone read scripts Strong prepared and threatened to kill the undercover agent.
Strong, in turn, offered to help find the drug dealer who made the threats, though he knew he was providing false information which led the investigators further away from the true identity of the supposed drug dealer.
Boone and another of Strong’s associates in these crimes, Robert Ready, pleaded guilty last August and have since cooperated with the government against Strong.
Following Strong’s false incrimination of the SAC, the Office of the Inspector General, the FBI, and the Public Integrity Section of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division began an investigation. The investigation exonerated the SAC of any wrongdoing and uncovered the extensive misconduct for which Strong was indicted. Then, while the criminal case against Strong was proceeding to trial, the investigators uncovered more crimes Strong committed while detained at the Milan, Michigan federal prison. Strong’s guilty plea today includes a charge of obstruction of justice for manipulating family members and fellow Milan inmates to give scripted exculpatory testimony at his trial and to otherwise obstruct his criminal case.
The charges of obstruction of justice, witness tampering, and theft of government property each carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The charge of retaliating against a federal official carries a maximum penalty of six years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The charges of distributing a controlled substance carry a combined maximum penalty of 40 years in prison and a $2,000,000 fine.
The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Kartik K. Raman and Daniel Schwager of the Public Integrity Section - headed by Section Chief Noel L. Hillman - with assistance from Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Allen of the Eastern District of Michigan. The investigation is being handled by the Chicago Field Office of the Office of Inspector General, Department of Justice, with assistance from the FBI’s Detroit Field Office.