International Meth Precursor Broker Sentenced to 72 Months for Chemical Trafficking
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Frank Moreno Jr., 43, of Houston, Texas, was sentenced today to 72 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for brokering the export of vast amounts of methamphetamine precursor chemicals from India to Mexico and Guatemala.
Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Derek Maltz, Special Agent in Charge for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)’s Special Operations Division, made the announcement after sentencing by United States District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema.
On December 1, 2010, Moreno pled guilty to conspiring to broker an international pseudoephedrine transaction. According to court documents, Moreno conspired with others to obtain large quantities of pseudoephedrine – a chemical used in cold medicines but also used to manufacture methamphetamine – from India for illegal export to Mexico and Guatemala. Domestically-produced methamphetamine has decreased significantly because of federal regulations on the sale of products containing pseudoephedrine, and now the overwhelming majority of methamphetamine used in the United States is manufactured in Mexico and illegally imported into the United States.
Moreno admitted that from the summer of 2008 to June 2009, he worked with an Indian supplier of pseudoephedrine, Syed Khawaja Moin of Faisal Enterprises, to broker the shipment of tens of millions of pseudoephedrine tablets to Mexico and Guatemala. In June 2009, law enforcement seized one of these shipments in Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala, which contained 17.5 million tablets. Moreno also admitted that he helped broker payments from conspirators in Mexico to Moin in India as payment for the illegal shipments and to promote future transactions.
On July 7, 2010, Moin was indicted by a federal grand jury in Alexandria of conspiring to import pseudoephedrine and to manufacture 500 grams or more of methamphetamine for importation.
This case was investigated by DEA’s Special Operations Division. Assistant United States Attorney Daniel Grooms and Special Assistant United States Attorney Scott Nussbum are prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/vae. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.vaed.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.uspci.uscourts.gov.