Florida Man Convicted On Pseudoephedrine Trafficking
OCT 28--Boston, MA .A Clermont, Florida man, formerly of Lowell, Massachusetts, was convicted yesterday in federal court of money laundering and conspiracy to possess and distribute pseudoephedrine to be used in the manufacture of methamphetamine.
Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in New England; and United States Attorney Michael J. Sullivan announced that Issa JABER, age 28, of Clermont, Florida, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Nancy Gertner to one count of conspiracy to possess and distribute pseudoephedrine having reasonable cause to believe it would be used in the manufacture of methamphetamine; six counts of actual distribution of pseudoephedrine; and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.
At yesterday's plea hearing, the prosecutor told the Court that, had the case proceeded to trial, the Government's evidence would have proven that in October, 1999, JABER established a business called "East Coast Wholesalers," located in Lowell, Massachusetts, which allegedly was to be a wholesale company for candies, cigarettes, and over-the-counter medicines. JABER obtained a DEA license to allow East Coast Wholesalers to deal in pseudoephedrine. Over a six-month period from January through June 2000 JABER and his associates, including Philip Momoh, a co-defendant in this case, ordered over 4 million tablets of pseudoephedrine from five different distributing companies. Rather that then selling the pseudoephedrine to drug stores, convenience stores and the like, JABER and his associates instead diverted it directly to customers, who, in turn, illegally distributed it to manufacturers of methamphetamine. Pseudoephedrine is necessary precursor drug in the manufacture of methamphetamine.
The evidence would have shown that JABER and his associates oftentimes removed the pseudoephedrine from its original packaging, scraped off the lot numbers and other identifying information, and the shipped it to their customers. On the money laundering charge, the evidence also would have proven that in order to continue the illegal scheme, JABER and his associates used their illegally gotten drug proceeds in order to purchase additional pseudoephedrine.
Judge Gertner scheduled sentencing for January 21, 2004. JABER faces up to 20 years' imprisonment, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine on each count.
Philip Momoh, age 43, Nashua, New Hampshire, pleaded guilty to the charges relating to his role in the scheme in June 2004, and is scheduled to be sentenced on November 6, 2004.