Investigation Nets Over 4 Million Pseudoephedrine Pills And $850,000
in United States Currency
DEC 5 --William J. Renton, Jr., Special Agent in Charge of the St. Louis Division, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), announced on December 3, 2004, that DAN FRANKEL, (46), of San Clemente, California pled guilty to conspiracy to unlawfully distribute pseudoephedrine and money laundering. He appeared before United States District Judge Henry E. Autrey, in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.
Frankel now faces a maximum of 20 years imprisonment and a three year period of supervised release, on each count. He may also be fined up to $250,000 on the pseudoephedrine count and up to $500,000 on the money laundering count. Sentencing will be held April 6, 2004.
Frankel was arrested
on June 25, 2003 in Las Vegas, Nevada. During the course of the investigation,
authorities seized over four million illegal pseudoephedrine pills, the
largest seizure of pseudoephedrine pills in the Eastern District of Missouri.
Pseudoephedrine is a key ingredient in the manufacture of methamphetamine.
Following his arrest in Las Vegas, more than seven hundred pounds of pseudoephedrine
were seized from a storage unit associated with Frankel. Additionally,
During the change of plea hearing, Frankel admitted that the conspiracy began in 2001 when he made large orders of pseudoephedrine from his alleged co-conspirator Krystina Randles. Eventually, Frankel began traveling to Randles' residence in Mississauga, Ontario in order to purchase larger quantities at a better price. During one of the trips, the pseudoephedrine pills were removed from the regular packaging and placed in Ziploc bags - each bag containing 3,000 pills. Frankel would then take the pills to a storage unit and smuggle the pills across the Canada/U.S. border to be sold to methamphetamine manufacturers.
As a part of the plea agreement, Frankel will forfeit $850,000 United States currency, which represents profits of the pseudoephedrine distribution conspiracy.
On February 20, 2003 Frankel's alleged co-conspirator, Krystina Randles, (35), of Mississauga, Canada was indicted by a federal grand jury which charged her with one count of conspiracy to unlawfully distribute pseudoephedrine and three counts of attempt to unlawfully distribute pseudoephedrine. If convicted, she faces a maximum penalty of twenty years in prison and/or fines up to $250,000 on each count.
Randles was arrested in West Midlands, England on June 26, 2003. Randles did not contest the extradition request in London, England, on November 13, 2003 and is expected to arrive in the Eastern District of Missouri within a few weeks to appear on her pending indictment.
Mr. Renton cited this investigation as another outstanding example of cooperative law enforcement. Renton stated, "DEA was honored to participate in this international investigation into the diversion of legitimate medication for use in the clandestine manufacture of methamphetamine. The enormous problems associated with methamphetamine production and abuse facing Missouri and the entire nation is exacerbated by supposedly legitimate distributors of precursor chemicals, like Dan Frankel, who aid and abet these drug violators." Renton further stated that the investigation of Trans-national crime, such as those charged in this investigation, are a high priority of the DEA and its foreign counterparts.
continues to be a major problem in Missouri and across the nation. The
prosecution of those who manufacture methamphetamine and who possess its
precursor chemicals knowing that they will be used to manufacture it continues
to be a high priority of this office," said United States Attorney
Raymond W. Gruender.
This case was a joint investigation involving the Office of International Affairs, Washington, D.C., the Canadian Department of Justice, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Drug Enforcement Administration London Country Office, the Drug Enforcement Administration St. Louis Division, the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Metro London Extradition Squad, and the Las Vegas Police Department.
Additional local agencies assisting in this investigation include the Southeast Missouri Drug Task Force, the Poplar Bluff Police Department, and the Butler County Sheriff's Department. Assistant United States Attorney Pam Martin of Las Vegas prepared the search warrant for a Las Vegas storage unit. Special Assistant United States Attorney Abbie Crites-Leoni has been handling the case for the U.S. Attorney's Office.
The charges set forth in an indictment are merely accusations, and defendant Randles is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.