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DEA and LAPD Conduct Massive West Coast OxyContin Sweep

FEB 28 (LOS ANGELES/SPOKANE, Wash.) – Early this morning, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Los Angeles Police Department, in conjunction with the Spokane Regional Drug Task Force (SRDTF), led a large-scale enforcement action targeting a criminal organization spanning from Los Angeles to Eastern Washington.  Hundreds of law enforcement officials, including federal agents and state and local officers executed 16 federal search warrants in Spokane, Washington, 30 in Los Angeles, California, and one in Mountlake Terrace, Washington.  As a result, 41 subjects were taken into custody on federal charges including 12 in Spokane, one in Mountlake Terrace, and 28 in Los Angeles (two of the 28 were already in California State custody). Additionally, three subjects were arrested by LAPD pursuant to California State arrest warrants in a separate but related investigation.

This enforcement action stems from a thirty-two count Federal Indictment that was handed down in the Eastern District of Washington in January, 2013.  The Indictment charges numerous individuals with criminal violation(s) relating to the distribution, possession and attempted possession of oxycodone hydrochloride, in violation of the Federal Controlled Substances Act.  Some of the individuals named in the Indictment face potential mandatory minimum sentences of 20 years in prison. In addition, the United States has filed a notice of criminal forfeiture seeking a money judgment in the amount of $20 million dollars, which amount is alleged to represent the amount of proceeds obtained as a result of the charged controlled substances offense(s).  

Michael C. Ormsby, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington said: “The tireless dedication and extraordinary efforts of the law enforcement officers involved in all aspects of this wide-ranging investigation are commendable.  Today’s enforcement action is an outstanding example of the robust and effective working partnership among federal, state, and local law enforcement officers both here in the Eastern District of Washington and in Los Angeles.”

“Members of this ring regularly circulate between Los Angeles and Spokane to fuel their customer’s insatiable appetite and pharmaceutical addiction,” said Seattle DEA Special Agent in Charge Matthew G. Barnes.  “For too long, their web of destruction has fed upon, and profited from the misery of many Washingtonians, only to leave a surplus of illegally obtained pain killers and ruined lives in their wake.  I would like to commend the ongoing cooperative efforts of our federal, state and local partners to keep our communities safe.”

“Today’s operation is another fine example of the outstanding partnerships that have been forged between agencies who are committed to ridding our communities of violent organized criminals who prey on our City” said Chief Charlie Beck.  “I am extremely proud of the Los Angeles Investigators who worked tirelessly on this case for the past year culminating in today’s arrests.” 

Today’s enforcement action is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force    (OCDETF) investigation.  The OCDETF program provides supplemental federal funding to the federal and state agencies involved in the investigation of drug-related crimes.  This OCDETF investigation is being conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Seattle and Los Angeles Field Divisions, the Spokane Regional Drug Task Force, and the Los Angeles Police Department.

The following agencies provided significant assistance for today’s enforcement action: Drug Enforcement Administration; Los Angeles Police Department; Spokane Regional Drug Task Force; Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department; Spokane County Sheriff’s Office; Spokane Police Department; Washington State Patrol; Fontana Police Department; Glendale Police Department; Pasadena Police Department; Gardena Police Department; Rialto Police Department; Inglewood Police Department; Long Beach Police Department; United States Marshals Service; Federal Bureau of Investigation; Riverside County Sheriff’s Department; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; Homeland Security Investigations; United States Border Patrol and Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation.

An indictment contains allegations that an individual has committed a crime.  Every individual is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

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