Leader of Poly-Drug Trafficking and International Money Laundering Ring Sentenced to 210 Months in Prison
|U.S. Attorney’s Office September 18, 2012|
ANCHORAGE—U.S. Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced that on September 14, 2012, Daniel Isaac Meza, 37, was sentenced to 210 months in prison for his leading role in a conspiracy to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine, one kilogram of heroin, more than 50 grams of actual methamphetamine, and a quantity of oxycodone. U.S. District Court Judge Timothy M. Burgess imposed the sentence, which also included a $13,500 fine.
In his prior guilty plea, Meza admitted to supplying illegal drugs to multiple members of the trafficking organization, who then redistributed to lower-level dealers and drug users. Meza was the last of 11 charged defendants to be convicted of involvement in the expansive drug trafficking network, whose members were responsible for trafficking large amounts of illegal narcotics in Alaska and laundering the proceeds by wire transfer to El Salvador, Mexico, and Colombia. Eight defendants have now been indicted and convicted of direct participation in Meza’s conspiracy, which was charged along with a related conspiracy involving Patrick Sherman, a former corrections officer at Anchorage Correctional Complex. Sherman was convicted in November 2010, of cooperating with co-conspirator Brandi Barnes to distribute marijuana, cocaine, and heroin, along with syringes, in Anchorage Correctional Complex. Barnes pled guilty to her role in both related conspiracies on March 2, 2012. Two defendants—James McAnulty and Robyn Ray—were not directly charged in the conspiracy but have been convicted, respectively, of distributing cocaine on behalf of conspiracy member Billy Fuller and laundering more than $40,000 in drug proceeds for Meza. Edwin Giovanni Enriquez, Billy Walter Fuller, Michael George Raab, Debbie Beisinaiz, and Cori Jean Hillar, were also convicted for their roles in the conspiracy.
Additionally, Meza pled guilty to one count of international money laundering relating to drug trafficking. The indictment alleged that he sent drug proceeds to Mexico, Colombia, and El Salvador on 21 occasions. At this point, all of the defendants have been sentenced for their roles in the conspiracy.
According to information presented to the court at sentencing, Meza imported cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and oxycontin into Alaska, where these substances were distributed by a network of associates that included all of the other conspirators. Court documents alleged that Meza used hollowed-out Coleman coolers to smuggle narcotics into Alaska, and then transported money out of Alaska by wire transfer or by physical transportation of bulk currency concealed in electronic equipment. Court documents alleged that over 100 grams of heroin were found in Meza’s freezer in July of 2010, and that this heroin was only part of more than a kilogram of heroin that Meza distributed at an earlier time. Law enforcement exposed Meza’s organization by utilizing several court ordered telephone wiretaps.
In imposing sentence, Judge Burgess noted the seriousness and breadth of the crime, finding that Meza was an organizer and leader of the conspiracy, and found that Meza committed the offense as part of a pattern of criminal conduct engaged in as a livelihood.
The case was the result of an investigation conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Anchorage District Office, and the Alaska State Troopers Mat-Su Narcotics Unit; the investigation was supported by numerous agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Anchorage Police Department, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and the Anchorage Airport Police.