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Press Release

New York Man Sentenced After Being Caught En Route To Burning Man With Smorgasbord Of Illegal Drugs

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Colorado
Defendant caught with Ecstasy (MDMA), Psilocyn Mushrooms, LSD, Cocaine and Ketamine

DENVER – Alexander Zelyakovsky, age 46, of New York, was sentenced today by Senior U.S. District Court Judge J. Thomas Marten of the District of Kansas to serve 34 months in federal prison followed by 3 year on supervised release with the first 6 months in home detention for possession with intent to distribute five different controlled substances, announced U.S. Attorney Jason Dunn and Homeland Security Investigations Denver Special Agent in Charge Steven Cagen.  The defendant was on his way to the 2018 Burning Man Festival in Nevada to sell the drugs when he was stopped and arrested in Colorado.  The defendant appeared at the sentencing hearing in custody and was remanded at its conclusion. 

Zelyakovsky was first charged by Criminal Complaint on August 27, 2018.  He was indicted by a federal grand jury on September 18, 2018.  The indictment was superseded by the filing of an Information on February 20, 2019.  The defendant also pled guilty to the Information before Magistrate Judge Gordon P. Gallagher on that day.

According to court documents, including the stipulated facts contained in the plea agreement, on August 25, 2018, the defendant was driving a truck containing several pounds of controlled substances and $26,745 in cash concealed in a compartment in the tailgate of the truck.  The defendant intended to distribute the controlled substances at the Burning Man Festival in Nevada, and use the cash he possessed and proceeds from the distribution of the controlled substances to purchase additional quantities of controlled substances for later distribution. 

While the defendant drove through Colorado, a Colorado State Patrol (CSP) trooper stopped the defendant for a traffic infraction.  During the course of the stop, the defendant consented to a search of the truck he was driving.  The trooper noted the tailgate of the truck was unusually heavy and looked behind a factory panel, discovering the controlled substances and currency concealed within.  Zelyakovsky was transporting 1125 grams of Ecstasy, 376 grams of Psilocyn mushrooms, .0173 grams of LSD, 229 grams of cocaine and 331 grams of Ketamine. 

“Thanks to an alert CSP officer, these drugs are off the streets,” said U.S. Attorney Jason Dunn.  “Drug dealers should know that trying to pass through Colorado is risky business.  We will catch them and we will prosecute them.”

“This drug dealer had been making huge profits by selling illicit drugs as a multi-state broker,” said Special Agent In Charge Steven Cagen, Homeland Security Investigations Denver. “Now he’s lost his profits, and he’s lost his freedom for 34 months.” 

In December 2017, the defendant was stopped by the New York Police Department for a traffic stop.  During that stop officers found a marijuana cigarette in the cup holder in the car.  After he was ordered out of the car, the defendant fled on foot.  After a short chase Zelyakovsky was caught.  Around that time officers saw that the defendant had a bag.  A search of the bag revealed $11,000 in cash and vials of cocaine for future distribution.  Eventually the defendant was released from custody.  For purposes of efficiency, the defendant waived venue and pled guilty to the New York offenses in Colorado. 

This case was investigated by the New York Police Department, the Colorado State Patrol, and HSI Denver.  The defendant was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeremy Chaffin.


Jeff Dorschner
Spokesman, Public Affairs Officer
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Colorado
303-454-0243 direct; 303-454-0400 fax

Updated May 6, 2019

Drug Trafficking
Press Release Number: CASE NUMBER: 18-cr-00438