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AUSA VICKIE E. LEDUC at 410-209-4885
October 6, 2006
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OCEDTF: EASTERN SHORE ATTORNEY SENTENCED FOR
OBSTRUCTING A FEDERAL DRUG INVESTIGATION
Consents to Disbarment from the Practice of Law
BALTIMORE, Maryland - Christopher Llinas, age 40, of Berlin, Maryland was sentenced yesterday to two years probation, with the first 12 months to be served in home detention on electronic monitoring, for obstructing a drug investigation by concealing and arranging the removal of drugs during a federal investigation, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein. Llinas, an attorney, consented to be disbarred from the practice of law.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein said, “Christopher Llinas was an active participant in a major drug-trafficking organization on Maryland's Eastern Shore. Mr. Llinas purchased, used and distributed illegal drugs, and he also advised drug dealers to conceal evidence of a crime from federal law enforcement officers."
"Money laundering is tax evasion in progress" said Francis L. Turner, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation. "Money laundering constitutes a serious threat to our communities, to the integrity of our financial system and to our national security."
According to the statement of facts provided to the court as part of the plea agreement, from January 2005 through July 2005, Llinas, a practicing attorney, was obtaining quantities of cocaine and prescription drugs from Paul Apostolopoulos, age 36, of Salisbury, Maryland and members of his drug organization. During this time frame, Llinas obtained on average approximately three "8 balls" (3.5 grams each) of cocaine a month. In addition, Llinas obtained an approximate average of between 50 to 70 prescription pills per month. These pills consisted primarily of Percocet and/or Tylox, which contain oxycodone. Llinas also received smaller quantities of other drugs, including Vicodin and Xanax. The drugs obtained by Llinas were primarily used by him and shared with friends and relatives. On one occasion, Llinas obtained an ounce of cocaine from Paul Apostolopoulos, a portion of which Llinas was going to give to two other individuals.
Andres Morales; Dominick Apostolopoulos; Michael Holl, a cook at Pesto’s Bar and Grill owned and operated by Paul and Wendy Apostolopoulos; and others took direction from Paul Apostolopoulos regarding the narcotics conspiracy and distributed and/or transported his
drugs for him. The organization's drug transactions took place at Pesto's Bar and Grill.
On July 14, 2005, Paul Apostolopoulos and other members of the drug organization were arrested pursuant to an ongoing federal investigation, which had resulted in a sealed indictment charging them with money laundering and various drug offenses. On that same day, Llinas met Michael Holl at Pesto's where they removed an "8 ball" of cocaine which had been secreted at the bar. At Llinas's direction, bar employees removed a quantity of marihuana that was still at the premises. Llinas and Holl subsequently split the "8 ball" of cocaine between themselves.
About a week later, Llinas learned from Dominic Apostolopoulos that he still had about 20-30 pills of Percocet, Tylox and Xanax. Llinas told Dominic that he needed to get the pills out of the residence before federal agents came back for a further search. Llinas retrieved the pills from Dominic’s residence and subsequently used them. Llinas was arrested by federal agents on November 30, 2005, after he self-surrendered to the U.S. Marshal's Service.
Paul Apostolopoulos pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute heroin and cocaine, and conspiracy to engage in money laundering and was sentenced on September 15, 2006 to 14 years in prison, plus an additional one year term for receiving stolen property while on federal pre-trial release pending trial. Judge Bennett also ordered that Apostolopoulos forfeit property and other assets, including Pesto’s Bar and Grill in Salisbury, totaling over $500,000.
Dominick Apostolopoulos, age 31, of Salisbury, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to engage in money laundering and to distribute and possess with intent to distribute narcotics. He was sentenced on August 16, 2006 to 70 months in prison. Wendy Apostolopoulos, age 37, of Salisbury, Maryland pleaded guilty to money laundering and was sentenced on September 29, 2006 to 2 years probation with the first 12 months to be served in home detention with electronic monitoring.
Andres Morales, age 38, also of Salisbury, pleaded guilty to similar charges and was sentenced to 144 months in prison. Michael Holl, age 41, of Baltimore pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute heroin and cocaine and was sentenced to on September 22, 2006 to 57 months in prison.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the investigative work performed in this Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force: the Drug Enforcement Administration, Baltimore District Office, Salisbury Post of Duty; the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office, Salisbury Resident Agency; and the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation Division. Mr. Rosenstein also thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Christine Manuelian who prosecuted the case.
This page last modifiedOctober 6, 2006