Leader of Nevada – Alaska Oxycodone Ring Pleads Guilty and Agrees to Serve 15 Years in Prison
Las Vegas, Nev. – A Las Vegas man who operated an illegal drug trafficking organization that transported prescription drugs from Las Vegas to Anchorage, Homer, Kenai, Soldotna and Wasilla, Alaska, and laundered over $1 million through bank accounts in Las Vegas, pleaded guilty today to conspiracy, drug and money laundering charges and agreed to serve 15 years in federal prison, announced Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada.
Nicholas Ghafouria, 28, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Roger L. Hunt to money laundering conspiracy, conspiracy to distribute oxycodone, and criminal forfeiture, and is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 3, 2013, at 9:00 a.m. by Judge Hunt. The plea agreement is "binding" and states that the parties agreed to a sentence of 15 years in prison and the forfeiture of approximately $1.2 million in cash and property. If the court does not accept the plea agreement, Ghafouria may withdraw his guilty plea.
"Prescription drug trafficking and prescription drug abuse has sky rocketed over the last decade," said U.S. Attorney Bogden. "The U.S. Attorney's Office in Nevada has been working aggressively with federal, state and local law enforcement to attack this problem. Since January 2010, we have filed federal charges against approximately 70 individuals, including four doctors and a pharmacist, for unlawfully distributing highly addictive prescription painkillers."
Ghafouria admits in his plea agreement that between May 2009 and Oct. 30, 2010, he conspired with others to distribute over 4,000 oxycodone pills in Alaska and that he laundered at least $1.2 million in cash proceeds from the unlawful distribution of the oxycodone. Ghafouria admits that he used various ways to get the drugs to Alaska, including sending them in packages and using couriers to transport them on airplane flights. Ghafouria admits that he sold the pills to his co-conspirators for approximately $65 per pill and that the co-conspirators paid for the pills either by giving money to the couriers or depositing money into bank accounts in Alaska which was withdrawn in Las Vegas by individuals under Ghafouria's direction.
Twenty-seven persons, eight from Las Vegas and 19 from Alaska, were charged in this drug and money laundering conspiracy in October 2010. As of today, all of them have pleaded guilty.
The case is being investigated by IRS Criminal Investigation in Las Vegas, the FBI in Las Vegas and Anchorage, DEA in Las Vegas and Anchorage, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives in Anchorage, Department of Homeland Security in Anchorage, Las Vegas OCDETF, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, United States Attorney's Office, District of Alaska, Alaska Bureau of Alcohol and Drug Enforcement, Alaska State Troopers (Soldotna SERT, Soldotna ABI, Anchor Point Troopers), Alaska Wildlife Troopers, Kenai Police Department, Anchorage, Kenai and Mat-Su Judicial Services, Kenai District Attorney's Office, Soldotna Police Department, Kenai Adult Probation, Alaska Department of Corrections, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, and Alaska National Guard. The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Patrick Walsh and Kishan Nair.