Baton Rouge Man Indicted for International Money Laundering in Furtherance of International Drug Conspiracy, Operating an Unlicensed Money Transmitting Business, and Related Charges
A federal grand jury recently returned a five-count indictment charging DONOVAN J. BARKER, age 59, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with aiding and abetting a conspiracy to distribute tramadol and carisoprodol, international money laundering, unlawful money transmitting, and possession of tramadol. On October 25, 2018, BARKER made his initial appearance in court and pled not guilty to the pending charges.
According to the indictment, BARKER owned and operated several businesses, including Quantum Information Technologies, Caring Partners 1, LLC, Don Western Sky, LLC, Life Positive Services, LLC, and Healthy Life 1, LLC. The indictment alleges that although BARKER represented that his businesses sold and distributed green tea extracts and herbal supplements, he was actually working with others to import Schedule IV controlled substances into the United States, to re-package and distribute the controlled substances to individuals within the United States who had purchased the substances online, to accept payments from the individual buyers, and to transmit funds from the sales to others operating outside the United States. In addition to charging BARKER with aiding and abetting a conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, the indictment charges BARKER with engaging in international financial transactions to promote the conspiracy, by wiring funds from his business bank accounts in Baton Rouge to India.
The indictment also charges BARKER with illegally operating an unlicensed money transmitting business. According to the indictment, from October 2012 through February 2016, BARKER received more than $4.6 million in payments—including payments by money order, personal check, and credit card —from individuals all across the United States who had purchased controlled substances and other substances over the internet and who directed their payments to BARKER. As BARKER received the funds, he wired the majority of the funds out to other individuals and businesses, including, on more than two hundred (200) different occasions, to foreign bank accounts in the Philippines, India, China, and Canada. Through this pattern of activity, according to the indictment, BARKER was operating a money transmitting business without an appropriate state license and without complying with the applicable federal registration requirements.
Finally, the indictment alleges that on May 24, 2016, BARKER knowingly and intentionally possessed tramadol, a controlled substance, in violation of federal law.
U.S. Attorney Brandon J. Fremin stated, “This indictment demonstrates the lengths to which international drug traffickers will go to deliver drugs and the efforts my office will make to stop them. We are committed to eliminating the international financial network used by drug dealers to bring drugs to our country and launder their illegal proceeds. I want to thank our prosecutors and our federal, state, and local partners for their extraordinary efforts in this case.”
“The Special Agents of IRS – Criminal Investigation are an integral part of drug investigations that involve the laundering of money through sophisticated means such as those implemented by Donovan Barker,” stated Thomas J. Holloman, III, Special Agent in Charge of IRS – Criminal Investigation. “More and more often individuals are using the internet and access to international banks to keep their misdeeds hidden from the eyes of law enforcement. However, the dissection of international money laundering schemes is an area of expertise in which IRS- CI excels. It is our hope that Barker’s drug distribution and money laundering conspiracy was thwarted by his indictment, and now we will continue working to ensure that Barker receives justice for what we believe are his illegal actions.”
“The DEA is committed to arresting and bringing to justice those who divert and traffic prescription drugs,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Michael Arnett. “Opiate abuse is a major problem in the Baton Rouge area and throughout the nation. The diversion of prescription pain killers contributes to the widespread abuse of opiates, which is devastating our communities. This investigation demonstrates the strength of collaborative law enforcement efforts in this area and our strong partnership with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to aggressively pursue anyone that illicitly distributes these drugs.”
This matter is being investigated by the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Alan A. Stevens, who serves as a Deputy Criminal Chief within the Criminal Division. The investigation received valuable assistance from the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office, Iberville Parish Sheriff’s Office, Plaquemine Police Department, East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office, Baton Rouge Police Department, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement—Homeland Security Investigations, the Louisiana Office of Financial Institutions, and the Louisiana State Police.
NOTE: An indictment is an accusation by a grand jury. The defendant is presumed innocent until and unless adjudicated guilty at trial or through a guilty plea.