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25 July – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – R. Alexander Acosta, Uni…

25 July – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration, Brian J. Wimpling, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division, Michael S. Clemens, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Jesus Torres, Special Agent in Charge, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, announced today that defendant Serge Edouard was convicted by a jury of conspiring to import more than five kilograms of cocaine into the United States, conspiring to commit money laundering, and nine individual counts of money laundering.

Edouard faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. He also faces the potential forfeiture of over $15 million in assets. Over $5 million in assets have already been seized. Edouard’s sentencing is set for September 29, 2005 before Judge K. Michael Moore.

According to the evidence presented at trial, from 1998 until 2004, Edouard was the head of a large-scale cocaine smuggling organization that imported thousands of kilograms of cocaine from Haiti into Miami and New York. This smuggling organization returned millions of dollars in drug proceeds from the United States back to Edouard in Haiti. Edouard then laundered those drug proceeds in a variety of ways, including paying corrupt high-ranking Haitian officials to protect his drug activities.

Mr. Acosta commends the investigative efforts of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Lynn Kirkpatrick, Matthew Axelrod, and Michelle Alvarez and USDOJ Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section Attorneys John Sellers and Thomas Pinder.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

British MP George Galloway and his opponent the Daily Telegraph will leave no stone unturned to sort out what could be a spectacular libel case.