News and Press Releases

27 Defendants Charged in Guyanese-based Cocaine Importation and Distribution Ring

April 05, 2005

Hundreds of Kilograms of Cocaine Smuggled Through JFK Airport Concealed Inside Frozen Fish and Chow Mein Noodle Containers

ROSLYNN R. MAUSKOPF, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and SALVATORE DALESSANDRO, Acting Special Agent-in-Charge, U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement ("ICE") in New York, today announced the filing of charges against 27 members of a New York-based cocaine smuggling ring responsible for importing into the United States hundreds of kilograms of cocaine from Georgetown, Guyana, onboard cargo and passenger flights arriving at John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens, New York.1 Earlier today, federal agents executed search warrants at three locations in the New York City metropolitan area and seized approximately one kilogram of powder cocaine, quantities of crack cocaine, a nine millimeter pistol, drug paraphernalia, and a vehicle containing a "trap," or secret compartment, in which drugs could be hidden during transport.

The defendants arrested in New York this morning have their initial appearances scheduled this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Robert M. Levy, at the U. S. Courthouse, 225 Cadman Plaza East, Brooklyn, New York.

According to the complaint filed today, the smuggling ring used various methods to import large quantities of cocaine through JFK bypassing Customs inspection, including using drug couriers who concealed the cocaine on their persons, and packing the narcotics inside crates of food. As part of their importation scheme, the defendants created shell corporations and listed them as the destinations of the "food" shipments. In one instance, in May 2004, law enforcement agents intercepted approximately 50 kilograms of cocaine concealed in crates of frozen fish addressed to a bogus corporation named Eye & Eye Produce, at 795 Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn, New York. The investigation disclosed that this address in fact belonged to a Chinese restaurant, whose owners were totally unaware that their premises were listed as a destination for cocaine. In a second instance, ICE agents seized more than five kilograms of cocaine concealed in boxes of chow mein noodles, addressed to Impulse Trading Company, another fictitious company with a phony address.

As detailed in the complaint, in January and February 2005, investigators obtained court-authorized wiretaps on the telephones of the organization's ringleader, SHARWIN LILLY. The wiretaps revealed that LILLY directed the operations of an international operation, relying on cocaine suppliers based in Guyana to regularly import multi-kilogram shipments of cocaine through JFK Airport. The wiretaps further revealed that in New York LILLY had a network of drug distributors, spanning from New York to Virginia.

According to the complaint, the defendants KENT BRYAN and WANDA DELOACH recruited drug couriers, LENNOX HOBBS was primarily responsible for the creation of the shell corporations, MICHAEL BROWNE and HUBERT CLARKE supplied much of the ring's cocaine, ROCHELLE MARCUS served as the drug ring's bookkeeper, DERRICK WALTERS was an intermediary between LILLY and many of his Guyanese suppliers, DERRICK BARTON, TIMOTHY MCKENZIE, CHRISTOPHER WEST and KENNETH WONG were distributors for the ring, and RAWLE HOYTE, TERRELL LASSITER, JERMAINE NICHOLSON, and MICHAEL REID purchased the defendants' cocaine for resale.

"This case shows the broad net that we cast in our continued commitment to prosecute anyone who smuggles drugs across our nation's borders," stated United States Attorney MAUSKOPF. "We are relentless in our efforts to stop those who would flood the streets of our communities with poison." Ms. MAUSKOPF emphasized that the investigation is continuing.

Acting Special Agent-in-Charge of U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (New York) DALESSANDRO stated, "There's no limit to what criminal smuggling organizations will do for profit -- whether it's drugs, weapons or illegal aliens. These organizations will try to smuggle any commodity if the price is right. ICE is targeting these organizations and shutting down the vulnerabilities they might exploit to smuggle their criminal goods into the United States. With these arrests, ICE has dismantled an entire criminal network, which is a tremendous public safety benefit for the City."

Each of the defendants is charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute more than five kilograms of a cocaine. If convicted, each faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, a minimum sentence of 10 years' imprisonment, and a $4 million fine.

The government's case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Michael Ramos and Roger Burlingame.

The Defendants:

Name: SHARWIN LILLY, also known as "Nigel Chester" and "Huey"
D.O.B.: 01/28/1970
Residence: 241 East 42nd Street, Brooklyn, New York

Name: KENT BRYAN, also known as "Rupaul"
D.O.B.: 11/11/1973
Residence: Fort Lauderdale, Florida

D.O.B.: 04/17/1960
Residence: Far Rockaway, New York

D.O.B.: 05/24/1959
Residence: 572 East 26th Street, Brooklyn, New York

D.O.B.: 09/10/1966

Name: HUBERT CLARKE, also known as "Dun Dun"
D.O.B.: 12/18/1974
Residence: Guyana

D.O.B.: 10/07/1966
Residence: East Orange, New Jersey

Name: LENNOX HOBBS, also known as "Junior" and "Ronald Davis"
D.O.B.: 09/23/1973
Residence: Brooklyn, New York

D.O.B.: 01/14/1972
Residence: Manhattan, New York

D.O.B.: 04/18/1971
Residence: 1003 Atlantic Drive, Virginia Beach, Virginia

D.O.B.: 02/22/1974
Residence: 572 East 26th Street, Brooklyn, New York

Name: TIMOTHY MCKENZIE, also known as "Spliff"

D.O.B.: 10/07/1970
Residence: 360 Fenimore Street, Brooklyn, New York


D.O.B.: 07/07/1977
Residence: Amityville, New York

D.O.B.: 05/07/1972
Residence: Brooklyn, New York

D.O.B.: 07/09/1983

D.O.B.: 08/13/1981
Residence: Brooklyn, New York

Name: DERRICK WALTERS, also known as "Patrick Obermuller"
D.O.B.: 03/17/1952

Name: CHRISTOPHER WEST, also known as "Tony"
D.O.B.: 06/13/1970
Residence: 241 East 42nd Street, Brooklyn, New York

Name: KENNETH WONG, also known as "Pops,"
D.O.B.: 05/22/1973
Residence: 366 East 29th Street, Brooklyn, New York





Name: FNU LNU, also known as "Winsome Housen"

Name: FNU LNU-2, also known as "Joel Hernandez"



1 The charges announced today are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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