FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT
AUSA VICKIE E. LEDUC at 410-209-4885
September 15, 2006
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OCDETF: LEADER OF EASTERN SHORE DRUG ORGANIZATION SENTENCED
Distributed Over 15 Kilograms of Cocaine, 3 Kilograms of Heroin
and Quantities of Prescription Drugs
BALTIMORE, Maryland - Paul Apostolopoulos, age 36, of Salisbury, was sentenced today to14 years in prison followed by 5 years of supervised release for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute heroin and cocaine, and conspiracy to engage in money laundering, and to an additional one year term of imprisonment for transportation of stolen goods while on pre-trial release announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein. U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett also ordered that Apostolopoulos forfeit property and other assets, including Pesto’s Bar and Grill in Salisbury, totaling over $500,000.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein said, "This case exposed and destroyed a major drug-trafficking organization on Maryland's Eastern Shore. Mr. Apostolopolous will forfeit his property and spend 14 years of his life in federal prison as punishment for his role in bringing heroin and cocaine into Maryland."
According to the statement of facts presented to the court at his June 28, 2006 guilty plea, from 1999 to July 2005, Paul Apostolopoulos obtained over 15 kilograms of cocaine and three kilograms of heroin in New York, along with quantities of prescription drugs, including hydrocodone and oxycodone, which he then distributed on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Paul Apostolopoulos wired $110,000 or more primarily to his brother Dominick Apostolopoulos, who transferred the money to their main narcotics supplier in New York. An additional $18,330, primarily in cash, was deposited into the supplier's account by the Apostolopoulos brothers, or someone acting at their direction, as payment for drugs obtained.
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 and many of the payments from drug customers were commingled with the income generated at Pesto’s Bar. Drug transactions, as well as packaging and storage of narcotics, also occurred in other businesses and residences associated with Paul and Wendy Apostolopoulos, as well as residences used by Holl, Morales and Dominick Apostolopoulos.
Christopher Llinas, an attorney, obtained prescription drugs such as oxycodone, and multi-gram and ounce quantities of cocaine from Paul and Dominick Apostolopoulos, Morales and Holl. On July 14, 2005, the day of Paul Apostolopoulos’ arrest and execution of various federal search warrants, Holl and Llinas removed a quantity of cocaine from Pesto’s Bar and Grill to prevent law enforcement from obtaining the drugs.
From October 2005 through January 2006, while on pre-trial release for the federal drug charges, Paul Apostolopoulos engaged in a double-carting scam at various Lowe's Home Improvement Stores in Salisbury, Maryland; and Camden, Lewes, and Dover, Delaware. Paul Apostolopoulos, and/or one of his accomplices, would purchase a cart of merchandise from Lowe's stores in Delaware, charging the items to Paul Apostolopoulos's credit or a gift card. The receipt for that merchandise was given to another accomplice who would load a cart with identical merchandise. The receipt for the original cart would be displayed to a sales clerk as proof of payment for the second cart. One set of the merchandise would then be returned within a matter of hours or days to the Lowe's store in Salisbury, Maryland, in order to obtain credit on Paul Apostolopoulos's credit cards, or store credit in his name, thus leaving Paul Apostolopoulos with a free set of merchandise. Paul Apostolopoulos received and transported over $10,000 in merchandise stolen from Lowe's.
Dominick Apostolopoulos, age 31, of Salisbury, previously 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. 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 on July 11, 2006, to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute heroin and cocaine. He faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and a maximum of life in prison and a $4 million fine. His sentencing is scheduled for September 22, 2006, at 2:00 p.m.
Wendy Apostolopoulos, age 37, of Salisbury, Maryland pleaded guilty on July 13, 2006, to money laundering and faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, and a fine of the greater of $500,000 or twice the value of the property involved in the transaction. Her sentencing is scheduled for September 29, 2006, at 2:00 p.m.
Christopher Llinas, age 40, of Berlin, Maryland, pleaded guilty on June 28, 2006, to tampering with evidence. Llinas faces a maximum sentence of 20 years and a $250,000 fine at his sentencing on October 5, 2006, at 4:00 p.m.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the investigative work performed in this Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force case by 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. Mr. Rosenstein also praised Assistant United States Attorney Christine Manuelian, who is prosecuting the case.
This page last modifiedSeptember 15, 2006