News and Press Releases

caribbean drug trafficking organizatoin leader sentenced to 20 year federal prison term

June 29, 2012

RALEIGH - United States Attorney Thomas G. Walker announced that in federal court on June 27, 2012, United States District Judge Terrence W. Boyle sentenced SEAN PINTARD, 41, to a total of 240 months imprisonment followed by 5 years of supervised release.

United States Attorney Thomas G. Walker stated, “Those who pedal this poison on our communities must be aggressively pursued and prosecuted.  This prosecution is proof of our commitment to do so.”

On June 22, 2011, PINTARD pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to import more than 5 kilograms of cocaine, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 963 and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, in violation of Title 18, United States Code Section 1856(h).

In 2001, local, state and federal narcotic officers joined with the United States Attorney’s Office in an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation targeting significant drug distributors in the Wake and Wilson County area.  The success of that phase of the operation ultimately led investigators to identify and pursue the source of the cocaine, Sean Pintard.  The investigation revealed that SEAN PINTARD was the leader of an extensive drug trafficking organization (DTO) based in Freeport, Bahamas, responsible for smuggling in excess of a thousand (1000) kilograms of cocaine into the United States and laundered drug proceeds involving millions of dollars.  Pintard was indicted in the Eastern District of North Carolina on January 14, 2004.   On May 11, 2005, PINTARD was placed in a fugitive status.  On August 8, 2010, PINTARD was arrested in Toronto, Canada via a Provisional Arrest Warrant by Canadian Authorities.  PINTARD waived extradition proceedings and was released to Deputy U.S. Marshals on April 15, 2011.

As part of his criminal case, PINTARD also agreed to the forfeiture on $3,000,000.  Operation WILPOWER resulted in the dismantling of the PINTARD DTO.

Harry S. Sommers, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration Atlanta Field Division commented, “The arrest and sentencing of PINTARD closes the book on a particularly destructive, international drug trafficking organization.  Through the cooperative efforts of the North Carolina law enforcement community and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of North Carolina, the dismantlement of the PINTARD organization sends a strong message to other drug organizations that North Carolina is unfriendly territory for their illicit operations.”

Jeannine A. Hammett, Special Agent in Charge IRS-Criminal Investigations stated, “The success of this case shows that law enforcement can and will work together to identify and dismantle money laundering organizations that hide the profits of crime and corrode the stability of our financial networks.”

Wilson Police Chief Thomas P. Hopkins added, “This operation is one of the most successful examples of teamwork between law enforcement agencies and the judicial system.  I’m extremely pleased and appreciative of everyone that contributed to the success of this operation.  What you will find in each successful operation such as this one is that the people involved are what make the difference.  Establishing good solid working partnerships is essential in the future of law enforcement; and these types of results are immeasurable.  The case is truly an example of outstanding teamwork.”

Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison said, “Sometimes cases like this take a long time to get a resolution, but this shows that when agencies work together, it is worth the wait.”

Investigation of this case was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Wilson Police Department, Wake County Sheriff’s Office, ICE Homeland Security Investigations, and the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation.  Assistant United States Attorney Frank Bradsher was the lead prosecutor and he was assisted by Assistant United States Attorney Brian Meyers and Assistant United States Attorney Josh Royster.  The asset forfeiture phase of this prosecution was handled by Assistant United States Attorney Steve West.



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