Leader of Drug Trafficking and Money Laundering Organization with Ties to Mexican Cartel Sentenced to 25 Years in Prison
Boston – A federal detainee being held at the Essex County Correctional Facility was sentenced today in connection with importing several kilograms of methylone, also known as “molly,” from China and distributing it in Massachusetts. He also admitted to smuggling a small quantity of the designer drug alpha-PVP, also known as “flakka,” into the Essex County Correctional Facility.
Harold Bates, 33, of Rockland, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Chief Judge Patti B. Saris to 100 months in prison and three years of supervised release. In September 2015, Bates pleaded guilty to one count each of conspiracy to import methylone, importation of methylone, possession with intent to distribute methylone, and possession of a controlled substance by an inmate.
In October 2013, Bates began ordering substantial quantities of methylone over the Internet from his supplier based in China. Bates and the supplier discussed methods of concealing the drugs to avoid detection. When the methylone packages were shipped to Bates, the Chinese supplier included documents that falsely described the packages as containing samples of household items such as cosmetics with a value of $10 to $20 when, in fact, the drugs were worth considerably more.
Federal agents discovered Bates’s scheme and, in December 2013, obtained search warrants for two international packages. Both packages contained half a kilogram of methylone, which is a synthetic cathinone or “designer drug.”
In March 2014, Bates was arrested and charged with importing and distributing methylone. He was ordered detained and sent to the Essex County Correctional Facility. Shortly after Bates’s arrival, law enforcement officers learned that Bates had smuggled 4.70 grams of alpha-PVP, another synthetic cathinone (also known as “flakka”), into the facility by inserting the drugs into his rectum.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; James V. Buthorn, Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service; Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz; Rockland Police Chief John R. Llewellyn; and Essex County Sheriff Frank G. Cousins, Jr., made the announcement today. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney James E. Arnold of Ortiz’s Narcotics and Money Laundering Unit.