Dutch Citizen Extradited To Face Ecstasy Smuggling Charges
DEC 6 -- PHOENIX – A Dutch national linked to a major Phoenix-area Ecstasy smuggling scheme made his initial appearance in federal court Wednesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Lawrence O. Anderson, following his extradition from the Netherlands late last week.
Marvin Burnet, 31, of Amsterdam, was one of six defendants indicted in connection with the scheme on charges of conspiracy to import MDMA, also known as Ecstasy. The charges stem from an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona Paul K. Charlton stated: “This extradition was worth waiting for, and shows the strong commitment by law enforcement officials around the world to keep dangerous drugs out of our communities. This extradition was only possible thanks to the hard work and cooperation by our federal investigative agencies and their counterparts overseas.”
Burnet’s extradition has been pending since September 2005, when he was arrested by police in Amsterdam based upon an international arrest and extradition warrant issued by the U.S. District Court in Arizona.
DEA Special Agent in Charge Timothy J. Landrum stated, “The arrest and extradition of Marvin Burnet is a major victory in our efforts to protect the public from the negative consequences of dangerous drugs. This achievement is a powerful example of the combined efforts of our partners in U.S. and Dutch drug law enforcement.”
“We owe our law enforcement counterparts overseas a tremendous debt for their cooperation and support on this case,” said Alonzo Peña, special agent in charge for the ICE Office of Investigations in Arizona. “We’ve been waiting for this day for a long time. This sends an important message that we will not allow our borders to be barriers to bringing criminals to justice.”
The other five defendants in the case, including former Maricopa County Attorney Alexander Wade, have already pleaded guilty and been sentenced. A seventh suspect in the scheme, a Deputy District Attorney from Dallas who attended law school with Wade, was prosecuted by French authorities after being arrested at a Paris airport in 2002 with a shipment of Ecstasy tablets. Following the Dallas prosecutor’s arrest, French authorities alerted U.S. investigators about the smuggling scheme.
According to ICE and DEA investigators, the defendants in the case conspired to import hundreds of thousands of Ecstasy tablets made in Holland. Investigators allege Burnet served as the ring’s chief supplier. Over the course of the probe, federal agents seized more than 180,000 Ecstasy tablets allegedly destined for the Phoenix area.
A trial date was set for February 6, 2007 at 9:00 a.m. before U.S. District Judge Susan R. Bolton.
If convicted, Burnet faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both. In determining an actual sentence, Judge Susan Bolton will consult the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide appropriate sentencing ranges. The judge, however, is not bound by those guidelines in determining a sentence.
An indictment is simply the method by which a person is charged with criminal activity and raises no inference of guilt. An individual is presumed innocent until competent evidence is presented to a jury that establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The prosecution is being handled by Mary Beth Pfister, Assistant U.S. Attorney, District of Arizona, Phoenix.
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