News and Press Releases

Long Time Fugitive Handed Federal Sentence for Drug Trafficking and Money Laundering

June 29, 2012

HOUSTON – John Callen Jr., 52, formerly of Cypress, Texas, and Detroit, Mich., has been handed a sentence of more than 15 years for conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute 14 kilograms of cocaine and laundering hundreds of thousands of dollars in drug money, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today.

Callen, who fled Texas after a task force of federal agents and local officers found cocaine, heroin and several firearms at his upscale Cypress home on Aug. 5, 2003, remained a fugitive until deputies with the U.S. Marshals Service found him in Michigan living under an alias. Callen eventually pleaded guilty to all three counts alleged in the indictment before U.S. District Judge Melinda Harmon without benefit of a plea agreement on Feb, 7, 2012.

At the hearing today, Callen apologized and stated, “I deserve mercy.” Judge Harmon then sentenced Callen to 188 months on the conspiracy charge as well as the drug conviction in addition to 188 months for money laundering. The sentences will be served concurrently. In handing down the sentence, Judge Harmon noted that at the time of his arrest he was in possession of marijuana, scales and money believed to be derived from drug proceeds. In addition to the sentence, Judge Harmon ordered the forfeiture of more than $400,000 in U.S. currency as well as a real property located in Cypress. Callen was also ordered to pay a $5,000 fine and will serve an additional five years of supervised release following completion of his prison term.

At his plea hearing earlier this year, Callen admitted that in 2003 his principal source of income was from drug trafficking. On Aug. 5, 2003, he received 14 kilograms of cocaine delivered to his then home on Wincrest Falls Drive in Cypress from a co-defendant. That co-defendant received $249,005 in cash from Callen which he was to deliver to the cocaine supplier. However, the money never made it to the supplier because officers of the Currency and Narcotics Enforcement Task Force (CNET) had the entire transaction under both physical and aerial surveillance. The $249,000 was seized from the vehicle driven by the co-defendant as it left Callen’s residence and a search of Callen’s home resulted in the recovery of the 14 kilograms of cocaine, a kilogram of heroin, as well as 14 marijuana plants growing in the back yard of the residence. Inside the house, investigating agents seized an additional $160,000 in cash and 10 firearms. CNET officers, comprised of officers and agents with the Houston Police Department, Harris County Sheriff’s Department, Homeland Security Investigations and Customs and Border Protection, found an additional three kilograms of cocaine in a storage locker in southeast Houston used by the source of supply to store contraband that same day.
Callen will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons  facility to be determined in the near future.

The two co-defendants, arrested in 2003, were convicted following guilty pleas and sentenced to prison. Callen fled Texas following the seizures and began living under a different name, but was finally found and arrested in Michigan in December 2010 and returned to Houston in January 2011.

Assistant United States Attorney Bertram Isaacs is prosecuting the case.



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