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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Virginia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Eight Charged with Conspiring to Traffic Synthetic Drugs into United States from China

The Drugs Made Their Way from Asia to Sub-Distributors in Harrisonburg

HARRISONBURG, VIRGINIA – Seven individuals who are alleged to have been members of a conspiracy that trafficked controlled substances, including controlled substance analogues (also called synthetic drugs) from Asia that eventually made their way to the streets of Harrisonburg for distribution, have been indicted by a federal grand jury sitting in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia in Harrisonburg.  

After the synthetic drugs arrived in the United States, this conspiracy distributed them to locations in the Western District of Virginia, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Oregon, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Texas, Ohio and Michigan. An eighth man, who has pled guilty to being part of the conspiracy, has admitted to providing the drugs to a sub-distributor in Harrisonburg, United States Attorney John P. Fishwick Jr. announced today.

In a superseding indictment filed under seal July 19, 2016 and unsealed in recent weeks following the arrests and initial court appearances of the defendants, the grand jury has charged Jason Bradley, 38, of Chicago, Illinois, his wife, Deborah Ryba, 37, also of Chicago, Ryan Buchanan, 35, of Downers Grove, Illinois, Brian Lister, 29, of Buffalo Grove, Illinois, Nicholas Purintun, 30, of Downers Grove, Illinois, Nayna Taylor, 55, of Charlotte, North Carolina and Edward Taylor, 66, of Charlotte, North Carolina. 

According to the superseding indictment, from March 2011 to October 2015, the defendants conspired to traffic controlled substances, including controlled substance analogues, from China and other Asian countries to the United States, including areas in the Western District of Virginia, for the purpose of human consumption.  At times during the conspiracy, Jason Bradley and Deborah Bradley lived in China and Thailand and shipped synthetic drugs directly to other members of the conspiracy, who then redistributed them to various locations throughout the United States.  The superseding indictment also alleges that some members of the conspiracy engaged in a conspiracy to commit money laundering transactions.

A related conspirator, Robert Justin Schroeder, 36, also from the Chicago, Illinois area, pled guilty under seal in May 2016 to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute controlled substance analogues, and one count of conspiracy to launder money.  Schroeder’s guilty plea was unsealed recently in Federal Court in Harrisonburg.  Schroeder has admitted that the synthetic drugs would arrive from China packaged in a variety of ways to avoid detection, including smuggled inside of cosmetic fingernail dryers, children’s toys and stuffed animals.  Schroeder also admitted that one of his sub-distributors was located in the Harrisonburg-area, and that this individual obtained controlled substance analogues from Schroeder and redistributed them to customers throughout the Harrisonburg-area in the Western District of Virginia.  According to Schroeder, this conspiracy was a major wholesale supplier of synthetic drugs to distributors who were shut down during Operation Log Jam, the DEA’s nationwide federal roundup of synthetic drug distributors in 2012.  Schroeder admitted that the conspiracy earned over 1 million dollars selling the synthetic drugs.

Those charged in the recently unsealed superseding indictment are as follows:

 

  • Jason Bradley, 38, of Chicago, Illinois: one count of drug trafficking conspiracy, one count of conspiracy to import controlled substances (including controlled substance analogues), and two counts of money laundering conspiracy.

  • Deborah Ryba, 37, of Chicago, Illinois: one count of drug trafficking conspiracy, one count of conspiracy to import controlled substances (including controlled substance analogues), and two counts of money laundering conspiracy.

  • Ryan Buchanan, 33, of Downers Grove, Illinois: one count of drug trafficking conspiracy, one count of conspiracy to import controlled substances (including controlled substance analogues), and two counts of money laundering conspiracy.

  • Brian Lister, 29, of Buffalo Grove, Illinois: one count of drug trafficking conspiracy, one count of conspiracy to import controlled substances (including controlled substance analogues), and one count of money laundering conspiracy.

  • Nicholas Purintun, 30, of Downers Grover, Illinois: one count of drug trafficking conspiracy, one count of conspiracy to import controlled substances (including controlled substance analogues), and one count of money laundering conspiracy.

  • Nanya Taylor, 55, of Charlotte, North Carolina: one count of drug trafficking conspiracy.

  • Edward Taylor, 66, of Charlotte, North Carolina: one count of drug trafficking conspiracy.

The investigation of the case was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), Virginia State Police, Michigan State Police, and the Burlington Police Department in North Carolina.  Assistant United States Attorney Grayson A. Hoffman will prosecute the case for the United States.

A Grand Jury Indictment is only a charge and not evidence of guilt.  The defendant is entitled to a fair trial with the burden on the government to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Topic: 
Drug Trafficking
Updated August 16, 2016