Two California Men Sentenced In Federal Court For Conspiracy To Traffic In Methamphetamine, Using The U.S. Mails
TO FACILIATE DRUG TRAFFICKING AND MONEY LAUNDERING
CONCORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE – Michael Collins, 38, of Bellflower, California, Keith Cotlage, 45, of Pasadena, California were sentenced in United states District Court for the District of New Hampshire to 18 months and 60 months respectively for conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute methamphetamine, conspiracy to use the U.S. Mails to facilitate drug trafficking offenses, and conspiracy to commit money laundering, announced United States Attorney John P. Kacavas.
As part of their plea agreements, the defendants admitted that beginning in 2007, Cotlage shipped quantities of methamphetamine secured inside of U.S. Postal “Express Mail” packages from California to Collins, who at the time resided in New Hampshire. Upon receiving the packages, Collins distributed a portion of the methamphetamine to others and kept a portion for his own personal use. Upon generating proceeds from the sale of the methamphetamine, Collins’ sent additional funds to Cotlage via Green Dot prepaid debit cards. Cotlage then used a Green Dot card linked to Collins’ Green Dot account to withdraw the funds in California after which he purchased additional quantities of methamphetamine which he again shipped to Collins. Collins also transferred money to Cotlage via Western Union.
In March of 2008, law enforcement intercepted an “Express Mail” package sent from Cotlage to Collins which was found to contain approximately 28 grams of methamphetamine. During an undercover operation, the package was subsequently delivered to Collins while he was at work at a construction site in Bethlehem. Immediately upon observing Collins take possession of the package, law enforcement attempted to arrest Collins; however he fled and was arrested after a brief foot pursuit.
Law enforcement subsequently determined through U.S. Postal “Express Mail” shipping labels and Green Dot records that from July, 2007 to March, 2008, Collins and Cotlage conspired to ship approximately ten additional packages containing methamphetamine.
Collins was also sentenced to three years of supervised release while Cotlage was sentenced to a four years of supervised release which they will begin after they are released from prison. During the period of supervised release, the defendants’ behaviors will be monitored by the United States Probation Office. If the defendants violate the terms and conditions of their release, they could be sent back to prison.
The pleas were the result of an investigation conducted by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration Resident Offices in New Hampshire, the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, and the Bethlehem and Lancaster Police Departments. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer Cole Davis.