Manhattan U.S. Attorney Announces Arrests Of Five Defendants For Conspiring To Import 100 Kilograms Of North Korean Methamphetamine Into The United States
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Michele M. Leonhart, Administrator of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”), today announced the arrests of five defendants – SCOTT STAMMERS and PHILIP SHACKELS, citizens of the United Kingdom; YE TIONG TAN LIM, a citizen of the People’s Republic of China; KELLY ALLAN REYES PERALTA, a citizen of the Philippines; and ALEXANDER LNU, a/k/a “Alexander Checov,” a/k/a “Alexander Semencov,” a resident of Thailand (“ALEXANDER”). STAMMERS, SHACKELS, LIM, REYES PERALTA, and ALEXANDER are each charged with conspiring to import 100 kilograms of North Korean-produced methamphetamine into the United States.
Each of the defendants was arrested in Thailand in September. The five defendants were extradited from Thailand, arrived in the Southern District of New York yesterday evening, and are expected to be presented in U.S. Magistrate Court later today.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “Methamphetamine is a dangerous, potentially deadly drug, whatever its origin. If it ends up in our neighborhoods, the threat it poses to public health is grave whether it is produced in New York, elsewhere in the U.S., or in North Korea. This investigation shows our determination to close a potential floodgate of supply.”
DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart said: “Like many international criminal networks, these drug traffickers have no respect for borders, and no regard for either the rule of law or who they harm as a result of their criminal endeavors. This investigation continued to highlight the emergence of North Korea as a significant source of methamphetamine in the global drug trade. I wish to thank the Thai Government for their outstanding efforts and partnership in completely dismantling this sophisticated and dangerous international criminal enterprise.”
According to the allegations in the Indictment against STAMMERS, SHACKELS, LIM, REYES PERALTA, and ALEXANDER:
In 2012, LIM and REYES PERALTA – members of a Hong Kong-based criminal organization – sold over 30 kilograms of methamphetamine that had been produced in North Korea. STAMMERS and SHACKELS were responsible for storing the methamphetamine after it had been sold by LIM and REYES PERALTA. This North Korean methamphetamine was later seized by law enforcement agents in Thailand and in the Philippines. The North Korean methamphetamine tested at more than 99% pure.
In 2013, LIM and REYES PERALTA again agreed to provide North Korean methamphetamine, this time agreeing to supply 100 kilograms of the methamphetamine to confidential sources working at the direction of the DEA (the “CSes”) for importation to the United States. As LIM explained, his criminal organization is the only one currently able to obtain methamphetamine from North Korea: “Because before, there were eight [other organizations]. But now only us, we have the NK product. . . . [I]t’s only us who can get from NK.” LIM further explained that, because of recent international tensions, the North Korean government had destroyed some methamphetamine labs, leaving behind only the labs of LIM’s organization: “And all the, the NK government already burned all the labs. Only our labs are not closed. . . . To show Americans that they [the North Korean government] are not selling it any more, they burned it. Then they transfer to another base.” LIM explained that his organization had stockpiled one ton of North Korean methamphetamine in the Philippines for storage, “[b]ecause we already anticipated this thing would happen . . . [whereby] we cannot bring out our goods right now.”
As a prelude to the 2013 100-kilogram methamphetamine deal described above, LIM and REYES PERALTA arranged to have a sample of the methamphetamine delivered to SHACKLES, who sent that sample (along with a second sample from another supplier) to an address from which the methamphetamine samples would be sent to the United States. These two methamphetamine samples tested at more than 98% and more than 96% pure.
LIM and REYES PERALTA agreed to deliver the 100 kilograms of North Korean methamphetamine in Thailand, from where they understood it would be shipped to the United States by boat. LIM and REYES PERALTA arranged for a “dry run,” sending a shipping container of tea leaves from the Philippines to Thailand in order to test delivery channels that would later be used for the shipment of methamphetamine.
STAMMERS, SHACKELS, and ALEXANDER agreed to provide security, transportation, and storage for the 100 kilograms of methamphetamine once it arrived in Thailand. ALEXANDER, the Sergeant-at-Arms of the Outlaw Motorcycle Club (“OMC”) in Thailand, was to be the “ground commander,” supervising an armed crew of OMC members providing security for the methamphetamine. STAMMERS and SHACKELS were to arrange for the 100 kilograms to be taken to a warehouse, counted, re-packaged, and delivered to a marina in Thailand, to be transferred to a boat that would deliver the methamphetamine to the United States.
In September 2013, LIM and REYES PERALTA traveled to Thailand in order to receive payment for the 100 kilogram methamphetamine deal. STAMMERS, LIM, PERALTA REYES, SHACKELS, and ALEXANDER were each arrested by Thai law enforcement on September 25, 2013.
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STAMMERS, 44, LIM, 53, REYES PERALTA, 41, SHACKELS, 30, and ALEXANDER, 43, have each been charged with conspiracy to import methamphetamine into the United States. The case is assigned to United States District Judge Andrew L. Carter, Jr.
If convicted, each of the defendants faces a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years’ imprisonment and a maximum term of life imprisonment.
Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding work of the Special Operations Division of the DEA. Mr. Bharara also thanked DEA’s Bangkok, Manila, Ghana, Pretoria, Bucharest, Nassau, and Copenhagen Country Offices; the Thai Police Narcotics Suppression Bureau and Crime Suppression Division; the Royal Thai Immigration Bureau; the Royal Thai Attorney General's Office; the Republic of Liberia’s National Security Agency; the Republic of Liberia’s Attorney General's Office; the Romanian National Police; Interpol; and the U.S. Department of Justice Office of International Affairs
This prosecution is being handled by the Office's Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys Michael D. Lockard, Aimee Hector and Anna M. Skotko are in charge of the prosecution.
The charges contained in the Indictment are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.