SAN FRANCISCO – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – United States Attorney Kevin V. Ryan announced that Robert William Roland, 34, pleaded guilty today to an information charging four counts: one count of possessing MDMA (ecstasy) with the intent to distribute, one count of using a telephone to facilitate the commission of a felony drug offense, and two counts of possessing MDMA. This guilty plea is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Eric Earl Shaw, 34, and a co-defendant with Mr. Roland, also pleaded guilty today to one count of conspiring to import MDMA, and to two counts of distributing MDMA. According to the plea agreement, the conduct to which he pleaded guilty involved a total of 668 grams of MDMA.
In pleading guilty, Mr. Roland admitted that on June 28, 2002, he appeared on behalf of the State of California as an Assistant District Attorney in a felony drug case brought against Eric Earl Shaw in Superior Court. Shaw was a childhood friend of Mr. Roland. On that day, Mr. Roland agreed to a misdemeanor disposition in Shaw’s case. The next day, Mr. Roland met with Shaw and received MDMA from Shaw.
According to the plea agreement, on June 26, 2003, Mr. Roland appeared on behalf of the State of California in felony drug cases brought against Ryan Ernst Nyberg in Superior Court. Nyberg was an acquaintance who was introduced to Mr. Roland by Shaw. After the appearance, Mr. Roland discussed a diversion disposition in Nyberg’s felony drug cases with Nyberg’s attorney. The next day, Mr. Roland met with Shaw and Nyberg at Mr. Roland’s house and received MDMA from Shaw and Nyberg.
In addition, Mr. Roland acknowledged that on or about October 17, 2003, Nyberg delivered MDMA to him at his house. Mr. Roland arranged the drug transaction over the telephone. Mr. Roland obtained the MDMA from Nyberg with the intent to share it with friends. At the time Mr. Roland received the MDMA from Nyberg, he knew that Nyberg was a defendant in the above described felony drug cases, which were still pending in Superior Court, and that he was still represented by counsel.
According to the plea agreement, on January 14, 2005, Mr. Roland admitted that he falsely told agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation that he had not used drugs of any kind since he became an Assistant District Attorney, although he later admitted to the agents that he used marijuana at the time and possessed marijuana in his home.
Mr. Shaw admitted that between April 2003 and April 2004, he knowingly and intentionally conspired with others to import MDMA into the United States from Belgium and the United Kingdom. According to the plea agreement, Mr. Shaw sent money from San Francisco, California, through Western Union to co-conspirators in the United Kingdom and Belgium so that they could purchase MDMA and mail the MDMA to the San Francisco area.
The sentencing of Mr. Roland and Mr. Shaw is scheduled for June 7, 2006, and April 12, 2006, respectively, before Judge Charles R. Breyer in San Francisco. Mr. Roland and Mr. Shaw were indicted by a federal grand jury on June 9, 2005.
The maximum statutory penalty for the charges involved in these two cases are as follows:
Possessing MDMA with intent to distribute, and the distribution of MDMA, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1): 20 years imprisonment, lifetime supervised release, and a $1 million fine
Using a communication facility to facilitate the commission of a felony drug offense in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 843(b): four years imprisonment, one year of supervised release and $250,000 fine
Possession of MDMA, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 844(a): one year imprisonment, one year supervised release, and $100,000 fine
Conspiring to import MDMA, in violation 21 U.S.C. § 963: 20 years imprisonment, lifetime supervised release, and a $1 million fine
However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.
Christopher Steskal is the Assistant U.S. Attorney who is prosecuting the case.