Three California Men Sentenced for Leading a Large Scale Juneau Oxycodone Distribution and Money Laundering Conspiracy
Anchorage, Alaska - U.S. Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced today that three defendants in a multi-year, multi-agency investigation have been sentenced for their roles in a large-scale drug trafficking and money laundering conspiracy operating between California and Alaska. The defendants sentenced were:
- MILAN CAPRICE THOMAS, 43, of Sacramento, California, was sentenced to 105 months imprisonment and three years of supervised release on June 24, 2014. Thomas pled guilty in May 2012 to conspiracy to distribute and to possession with the intent to distribute oxycodone, and conspiracy to launder money.
- DEANDRE TYRON DANTZLER, 34, of Sacramento, California, was sentenced to 144 months imprisonment and five years supervised release on June 24, 2014. Dantzler pled guilty in July 2011 to conspiracy to distribute and to possession with the intent to distribute oxycodone.
- RICHARD MELVIN CORUM, 31, of Sacramento, California, was sentenced to 120 months imprisonment and six years supervised release on June 23, 2014. Corum was convicted at a jury trial on July 1, 2013, for conspiracy to distribute and to possession with the intent to distribute oxycodone, and witness tampering.
According to filings with the court, Thomas, Dantzler and Corum were high-level members of a drug trafficking conspiracy who acquired large amounts of oxycodone from suppliers in the lower 48 states. In 2007, Thomas and Dantzler began transporting oxycodone on their person to Juneau, Alaska, using commercial air travel, and travelled back body-carrying drug proceeds. The pair later used drug couriers to carry drugs on commercial aircraft to Alaska and drug proceeds back to California. Thomas and Dantzler would arrange flights for couriers who would import the oxycodone to other members of the conspiracy in Juneau for subsequent sale. Thomas and Dantzler later used bank accounts and wire remittance companies to transfer drug proceeds from Alaska to California. Thomas and Dantzler used dozens of people in the procurement, transport, and sale of tens of thousands of oxycodone pills in the Juneau area and Thomas laundered over $1.5 million in drug proceeds through his bank account and that of another co-conspirator.
Corum joined the conspiracy in early 2011 as a source of supply. Due to heavy law enforcement interdiction efforts, Corum was later brought in by Thomas to be an equal member in the conspiracy. Corum recruited drug couriers to travel to Alaska for the conspiracy and had the couriers reside in the community, while receiving packages containing oxycodone via package delivery services in order to avoid detection.
On March 2, 2012, Corum was arrested for his role in the drug conspiracy. Corum made numerous threats to potential witnesses against him while awaiting trial. He said, “Everyone that is going to testify against me will disappear.” Corum later assaulted an individual who was cooperating with law-enforcement and was scheduled to testify at Corum’s trial. He was also convicted by the jury of a charge relating to this assault.
In sentencing the defendants, United States District Court Judge Timothy M. Burgess repeatedly emphasized the seriousness of the offense due to the human wreckage caused by the defendants’ distribution of a highly addictive narcotic, and noted the need to protect the public and to deter the defendants and others from committing these types of crimes in the future.
“This multimillion dollar enterprise submerged Juneau in a sea of addiction,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Matthew G. Barnes. “The nationwide prescription drug and heroin epidemic is fueled by organizations just like this. The success of this investigation is attributed to the ongoing partnership between DEA and our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners.”
“Large-scale narcotic trafficking operations infect our communities with crime and destroy the lives of people caught up in using the poison they peddle,” said Kenneth J. Hines, Special Agent in Charge of Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, in Seattle. “Drug crimes leave a paper trail and I am pleased that the IRS partners with the interdiction efforts of the DEA and local law enforcement to dismantle these organizations.”
Ms. Loeffler commends the Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation, Port of Seattle Police Department, and the Juneau Police Department - Drug Metro Unit, for the investigation leading to the successful prosecution and dismantlement of this large criminal organization.