District Man and Woman Found Guilty of Federal Charges for Roles in Regional Drug Trafficking Organization
Eleven Others Have Been Convicted of Drug Trafficking Charges
WASHINGTON – Andrea Miller, 48, and Steven Mason, 48, both of Washington, D.C., have been found guilty by a jury of federal charges stemming from their roles in a narcotics trafficking organization that imported and distributed heroin and other drugs into the Washington, D.C. area.
The announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu; Patrick J. Lechleitner, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, Washington, D.C.; Robert B. Wemyss, Inspector in Charge, Washington Division, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and Peter Newsham, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).
The verdicts followed a trial in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Miller was found guilty of conspiracy to import 100 grams or more of heroin and a quantity of alprazolam from a foreign country. Both Miller and Mason were found guilty of conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin and a quantity of alprazolam. The defendants now each face five--year mandatory-minimum sentences and up to 20 years in prison. The Honorable Tanya S. Chutkan scheduled sentencing for June 19, 2018.
Miller and Mason were among a total of 14 defendants indicted in May 2016 following a long-term investigation into a drug trafficking organization with sources of supply in Nigeria and distribution points in Washington, D.C. and Maryland. Eleven others have been convicted of drug trafficking charges and one defendant remains a fugitive.
According to the government’s evidence, between August 2014 and June 2016, Miller conspired to import packages of narcotics into the United States from various countries in Africa, and, Miller and Mason, together with their co-conspirators, conspired to distribute the narcotics throughout the Washington D.C. region.
The drug operation misused the United States Postal Service and the commercial shipping industry to illegally import into the United States and then redistribute significant quantities of drugs, primarily heroin, within the District of Columbia and the greater Washington, D.C., metropolitan area.
For purposes of this criminal activity, the international packages had the controlled substances hidden or secreted within certain items or clothing located inside the packages, and the packages were addressed and emanated from foreign countries, such as India, and listed fictitious names for addresses or locations within the Washington, D.C., area. Higher-level participants in the drug network would either wait for the packages to be delivered to certain addresses by the Postal Service or another commercial shipping business, or these same conspirators would use various civilians to accept packages containing drugs in the mail at their residences or other locations for cash or illegal drugs.
Significant quantities of the heroin were re-distributed in the 11th and H Street NE, Fourth Street and Florida Avenue NE, and 19th and Benning Road NE areas of the District of Columbia, and other locations in the District of Columbia and Maryland.
This case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations and the Customs and Border Protection Agency of the Department of Homeland Security, the United States Postal Inspection Service and the Metropolitan Police Department. The prosecution was sponsored and supported by the federal Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF).
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kenneth F. Whitted and Jamila Hodge of the Violent Crime and Narcotics Trafficking Section, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Swanton of the Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. Assistance was provided by Paralegal Specialists Candace Battle, Catherine O’Neal, Teesha Tobias, and Mary Downing; Legal Assistants Peter Gaboton and Katie Cowley; Litigation Technology Specialists Ron Royal, Kimberly Smith, and Anisha Bhatia, and Intern Mallory Kruper.