News Release
For Immediate Release:
March 31, 2009
Contact: Special Agent Tony Pettigrew
Number: 617-557-2138

Canadian Citizen Sentenced to Federal Prison for Smuggling
U.S Currency

MAR 31 -- Steven W. Derr, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration for New England and Nora R. Dannehy, Acting United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that SOTERIOS TSELLOS, also known as “Michael,” 36, of Laval, Quebec, was sentenced today by United States District Judge Mark R. Kravitz in New Haven to eight months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release.  On December 15, 2008, TSELLOS pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to smuggle bulk U.S. currency out of the United States.

According to documents filed with the Court and statements made in court, TSELLOS was a member of a drug trafficking organization that was responsible for arranging shipments of high-quality hydroponic marijuana from Canada to others for distribution around southwestern Connecticut.  The investigation revealed that the organization imported and distributed approximately 30 pounds of marijuana per month at a wholesale cost of approximately $4,000 per pound, and that TSELLOS assisted in routing the proceeds of the marijuana distribution back to Canada or to other points.

During the course of the investigation, TSELLOS traveled from the U.S. to Canada while in possession of approximately $112,000 in U.S. currency.  A portion of that money had been used by an informant to pay the organization for the purchase of marijuana, a transaction that was supervised and directed by law enforcement.

In total, law enforcement seized nearly $700,000 in U.S. currency from the organization during the investigation.

TSELLOS has been detained since his arrest on September 18, 2008, when he crossed the U.S. border from Canada into New York.

Following service of his sentence, TSELLOS will be deported to Canada.

Acting U.S. Attorney Dannehy commended the investigation of this matter that was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Greenwich, Stratford, Stamford, Norwalk, and Naugatuck Police Departments.