LAWFUEL – Press Release Service – R. Alexander Acosta, Unite…

LAWFUEL – Press Release Service – R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; Brian J. Wimpling, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division, (IRS-CI), Miami field office; and Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Miami field office, announced that on June 1, 2006, following a four-week trial before United States District Court Judge Cecilia M. Altonaga, a jury convicted Madjied Ali Samsoedien, a/k/a “Jerry,” Nancy Karrsenhout, and Angel Soler of conspiring to launder drug proceeds and conspiring to conduct monetary transactions in excess of $10,000 with the drug proceeds.

In the special forfeiture proceedings following the guilty verdicts, the jury also returned verdicts on Friday, June 2, 2006, that forfeited from Samsoedien $1,333,000 in United States currency as to each of Counts 1 and 2; forfeited from Karrsenhout $560,000 in United States currency as to each of Counts 1 and 2; and forfeited from Soler $800,000 in United States currency as to each of Counts 1 and 2.

The charges against the defendants arose out of a multi-year scheme to launder the proceeds of a large-scale Ecstasy trafficking scheme. The Ecstasy trafficking scheme involved the organized smuggling of several million Ecstasy tablets from Suriname and Holland into South Florida from the late 1990s through mid-2001. The Ecstasy trafficking scheme resulted in a series of prosecutions starting in late June 2001 in an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (“OCDEFT”) investigation known as Operation Purple Haze. In a two-year period from mid-2001 through mid-2003, Operation Purple Haze yielded over 20 convictions for Ecstasy trafficking offenses.

The offenses that were the subject of Thursday’s convictions involved the laundering of Ecstasy proceeds generated through the offenses prosecuted in Operation Purple Haze. This prosecution of Samsoedien, Karrsenhout, and Soler stemmed from a separate OCDEFT investigation known as Operation Endurance II in which Samsoedien and Soler were designated as OCDEFT Regional Priority Organization Targets.

Starting in 1998, sources of supply of Ecstasy from Suriname began smuggling ever increasing amounts of Ecstasy into South Florida through couriers traveling into Miami International Airport. At trial, the government proved that Samsoedien, Karrsenhout, and Soler executed a sophisticated scheme to launder proceeds of Ecstasy tablets sold in various locations in South Florida in order to repay the sources of supply in Suriname.

Since the early 1990s, Samsoedien and Karrsenhout, who are married, operated Liberty Imports, an import-export company specializing in exporting various consumer goods from Miami for resale in Suriname. Acting at Samsoedien’s direction, Ecstasy traffickers would deliver cash drug proceeds to various individuals acting on Samsoedien’s behalf in Miami. These individuals included defendant Angel Soler, who received several million dollars in cash drug proceeds from an Ecstasy trafficker acting at Samsoedien’s direction. Rather than smuggle the cash to Suriname, purchasers working for Liberty Imports would use the cash drug proceeds generated in Miami to purchase goods on behalf of Liberty Imports for export to Suriname and resale to Samsoedien’s and Karrsenhout’s customers in Suriname.

Samsoedien and Karrsenhout would use revenues generated by Liberty Imports through the goods purchased with drug proceeds to repay sources of supply in Suriname. They also would use these revenues to obtain additional items for resale. Between mid-2000 and mid-2002, Karrsenhout and Samsoedien wire transferred over $2 million generated by their drug-tainted business activities into an account maintained by Soler in Miami under the name A and L Export-Import. Soler would dispense the funds at Samsoedien’s and Karrsenhout’s direction. From November 2000 through June 2002, Soler issued $777,000 in checks to be cashed by a Liberty purchaser. The Liberty purchaser then would use the cash to buy more goods to export to Suriname for resale by Samsoedien and Karrsenhout. All of the checks were purposely structured in amounts of $10,000 or less, so as to prevent the generation by the banks of Currency Transaction Reports, which are reports that banks are legally required to submit to the government for transactions involving cash in excess of $10,000.

From January 1, 2000, through February 28, 2002, Soler made cash deposits of $474,000 into a separate business account that he maintained. All of the deposits were structured in amounts of $10,000 or less in order to prevent the generation of Currency Transaction Reports by the banks.

Samsoedien, who is 44 years-old, and Karrsenhout, who is 34 years-old, both are citizens of Suriname. Soler, who is 42 years-old, is a United States citizen, who resides in Miami. Sentencings for all defendants are set for August 11, 2006, before Judge Altonaga.

Mr. Acosta stated: “This prosecution illustrates federal law enforcement’s commitment to vigorously rooting out all offenders, both nationally and internationally, who infect the stream of commerce with fruits of drug trafficking.” Mr. Acosta commended the investigative efforts of the IRS and the DEA. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Davis.

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