Four Syracuse Area Defendants Plead Guilty In Federal Court To Conspiracy To Distribute Synthetic Drug “molly”
Syracuse, NY—United States Attorney Richard S. Hartunian announced that four individuals entered guilty pleas yesterday in U.S. District Court in Syracuse to conspiring to distribute a controlled substance analogue, known on the street as “Molly.” The pleas were in connection with a large scale drug trafficking conspiracy, based in Central New York, that involved twenty-two coconspirators located in New York, California, Texas, Virginia and the Peoples Republic of China. Yesterday’s proceedings brings the number of defendants entering guilty pleas to sixteen. Five remaining defendants are scheduled to go on trial on April 29th in Syracuse. One defendant, Lei Zhang, a.k.a., Eric Chang, remains a fugitive.1
Appearing before U.S. District Judge, Glenn T. Suddaby, WILLIAM HARPER (age 54) of Syracuse, NY, CHARLES DEMOTT, JR. (age 45) of Liverpool, NY, and MARY OOTGAMBUZZA, (age 45), of East Syracuse, NY, and JON RADWAY, (age 33) of Pompey, NY, admitted to conspiring to distribute 4-Methylmethcathinone (4-MMC) and 4-Methyl-NEthylcathinone (4-MEC), often referred to as “Molly.” 4-MMC and 4-MEC are controlled substance analogues of a Schedule I controlled substance also referred to, on the street, as ‘Bath Salts’. HARPER also entered a guilty plea to money laundering, a federal felony, in admitting that he wired $2700 from a Bank of America account in the name of Orange Line Gallery, Ltd. to CEC Limited, in Shanghai, China to pay for a quantity of “Molly”.
At sentencing, each defendant faces a term of imprisonment of up to twenty (20) years, up to a $1 million fine, and at least three (3) years of supervised release following any period of incarceration. Sentencings are scheduled for August, 2013.
These prosecutions resulted from an investigation first undertaken in the spring of 2009 by the Syracuse Resident Office of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office, the Syracuse Police Department, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Onondaga County District Attorney’s Office, the United States Marshals Service, the New York State Police, and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York. The investigation, which included wiretaps revealed that this “Molly” trafficking organization was responsible for the distribution of over one hundred (100) kilograms of “Molly” during the course of the conspiracy from January 2010 through April 2011. The “Molly,” believed to be manufactured in factories in China, was shipped to distributors in the Syracuse area, as well as other areas in the United States.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Carla Freedman and John Duncan. Further questions or inquiries may be directed to Executive Assistant United States Attorney John Duncan at (315) 448-0672.
1As to these defendants, the charges are mere allegations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law. - 2 -