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METHAMPHETAMINE AND ‘DATE RAPE’ DRUG RING IN BOSTON DISMANTLED

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 7, 2010

U.S. ATTORNEY’S OFFICE AND ATTORNEY GENERAL’S OFFICE ANNOUNCE INDICTMENTS AGAINST LEADERS OF TRAFFICKING ORGANIZATION

BOSTON, Mass. - Federal and state officials today announced the culmination of a two-year investigation and dismantling of a criminal enterprise responsible for distributing methamphetamine and gamma hydroxybutyric acid (commonly referred to as GHB and the “date rape drug”) in Massachusetts.

ERIK HARAKALY, aka Erik Von Harakaly, 29, last known to be staying in hotels and motels in Phoenix, Arizona, was arrested on Tuesday for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and GHB. HARAKALY’s detention hearing will take place on Friday, October 8th in the District of Arizona. Last week, co-conspirator SCOTT RAMSDEN, 49, of Boston, was indicted and arrested for his role as the leader of the drug organization in Massachusetts. Also arrested last week by federal law enforcement were co-conspirators ROBERT KING, 42, of Waltham; JACK VENZER, 56, of Boston; and EDMUND LEVINE, 40, of Connecticut. RAMSDEN and KING are in custody while VENZER and LEVINE were released on bond.

“The charges in this case are the result of unprecedented coordination by state and federal law enforcement. I want to thank Attorney General Coakley’s Office as well as the DEA and State Police for their cooperation and outstanding investigative work,” said U.S. Attorney Ortiz. “Criminal enterprises seeking to traffic these dangerous drugs into our communities should heed this warning. We will continue to utilize all of the collective tools at our disposal to break the supply chain of these highly addictive drugs.”
Attorney General Coakley said, “These arrests are a direct result of a cooperative, proactive investigation between the Office of the Attorney General and the United States Attorney’s Office. Our initial investigation uncovered this extensive methamphetamine distribution network, and this partnership allowed investigators to use both state and federal statutes in order to achieve the best result for the Commonwealth and bring these individuals to justice. The activities of the men involved presented an ongoing threat to public safety and it was imperative that we acted aggressively in order to disrupt this network that distributed dangerous drugs for too long in our neighborhoods.”

During the execution of search warrants at three locations, drugs, including methamphetamine and GHB were seized along with $45,000 in cash, a money counter, drug packaging materials, books on smuggling and hiding assets, and various drug paraphernalia. Vehicles used by RAMSDEN and KING were also seized pursuant to warrants.

According to the indictment, the investigation began in 2008 when authorities discovered that RAMSDEN and his coconspirators were distributing large quantities of methamphetamine in the Boston area. If convicted, the defendants face a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years to be followed by three years (maximum of life) of supervised release and a $1 million fine.

“The enforcement actions were the culmination of a joint investigation targeting a multi-state methamphetamine trafficking group. Methamphetamine is an insidious drug which can devastate communities once introduced and DEA will use all our resources to combat this terribly addictive drug and aggressively target groups that traffic in its distribution,” said DEA SAC Derr.

“The length of this investigation is testimony to our multi-agency commitment to interdict organized narcotics networks,” said Colonel Marian J. McGovern, superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police. “The arrest of the last defendant signals a new chapter in this case, one in which the evidence we have collected will be presented before a court to hold these men accountable for spreading dangerous drugs within our communities.”

State charges were filed against the following:

- Richard SWANSON, 50, of Boston; Conspiracy to Possess and Distribute Methamphetamine;
- Leonardo ARRUDA, 33, of Boston, Conspiracy to Possess Methamphetamine, Conspiracy to Distribute GHB, Possession of a Class A Substance, Possession of a Class B Substance;
- Brian LANDOLFI, 40, of Boston, Conspiracy to Possess Methamphetamine (two counts);
- Brian MARSH, 39, of Boston, Conspiracy to Possess Methamphetamine (two counts); and
- Victor CAO, 42, of Malden , Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine (second offense), Possession of Ammunition, Firearm Violation with three Prior Violent/Drug Crimes.

United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley; Steven Derr, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Administration - New England Field Division; and Massachusetts State Police Colonel Marian J. McGovern made the announcement today. The federal cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Foley and Mendell of Ortiz’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force. The state defendants are being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Patrick Hanley of AG Coakley’s Enterprise and Major Crimes Division, and the case was investigated by State Police assigned to the AG’s Office.

The details contained in the Indictments are allegations. The defendants are presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Contact Melissa Karpinsky, Public Information Officer, Attorney General’s Office, at (617) 963-2305 for information on the state charges.

 

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