PHOENIX, AZ. – Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Acting Special Agent in Charge Doug Coleman and U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona, Dennis K. Burke, announced that Robert Jan Opacian, 31, of Bridgeview, Ill., was sentenced on Monday by U.S. District Judge James A. Teilborg to 30 months in prison and 36 months of supervised release for his role in laundering drug proceeds. Opacian pleaded guilty on April 7, 2011 to conspiracy to launder drug proceeds.
“For drug traffickers, it’s all about the money,” said DEA Acting Special Agent in Charge Doug Coleman. “To decimate the drug trade, we are following drug money back to its source, targeting the laundering networks, and eliminating the profits that fuel drug trafficking gangs. DEA and our law enforcement partners are working shoulder to shoulder to take apart drug cartels by bankrupting them and putting them behind bars.”
“This sentence demonstrates that those who support drug trafficking by providing financial services will be dealt with harshly under the law,” said Dennis K. Burke. “This prosecution – and others like it -- was focused on eliminating the incentive to traffic drugs by making it harder for criminals to obtain the fruits of their crimes.”
Opacian was stopped near Flagstaff in August 2008 and DPS officers and DEA agents found that he was carrying $99,600 in drug proceeds in his tractor-trailer. Law enforcement continued its investigation and determined that Opacian was working for an organization that delivered drugs to Illinois and other areas and returned the drug proceeds to Arizona. Law enforcement seized 135 kilograms of marijuana, 55 kilograms of cocaine and eight kilograms of heroin from this organization on July 19, 2009 being shipped out of Arizona. On August 9, 2009, New Mexico State Police stopped two co-conspirator truck drivers and seized 20 kilograms of cocaine from a tractor trailer being driven from Arizona to Illinois. Law enforcement later seized $1.17 million from the same organization.
The investigation in this case was conducted by DEA, Scottsdale Police Department and Arizona DPS. The prosecution was handled by Brian G. Larson, Assistant U.S. Attorney, District of Arizona, Phoenix.