Criminal Justice News

Thursday, November 21, 2013

5 extradited, charged with North Korean Drug Trafficking Conspiracy




 DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart and Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, today announced the arrests of five defendants – SCOTT STAMMERS and PHILIP SHACKELS, citizens of the United Kingdom; YE TIONG TAN LIM, a citizen of the People’s Republic of China; KELLY ALLAN REYES PERALTA, a citizen of the Philippines; and
ALEXANDER LNU, a/k/a “Alexander Checov,” a/k/a “Alexander Semencov,” a resident of
Thailand (“ALEXANDER”). STAMMERS, SHACKELS, LIM, REYES PERALTA, and
ALEXANDER are each charged with conspiring to import 100 kilograms of North Koreanproduced
methamphetamine into the United States.

Each of the defendants was arrested in Thailand in September. The five defendants were
extradited from Thailand, arrived in the Southern District of New York yesterday evening, and
are expected to be presented in U.S. Magistrate Court later today.

DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart said: “Like many international criminal
networks, these drug traffickers have no respect for borders, and no regard for either the rule of
law or who they harm as a result of their criminal endeavors. This investigation continued to
highlight the emergence of North Korea as a significant source of methamphetamine in the
global drug trade. I wish to thank the Thai Government for their outstanding efforts and
partnership in completely dismantling this sophisticated and dangerous international criminal
enterprise.”

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “Methamphetamine is a dangerous,
potentially deadly drug, whatever its origin. If it ends up in our neighborhoods, the threat it
poses to public health is grave whether it is produced in New York, elsewhere in the U.S., or in
North Korea. This investigation shows our determination to close a potential floodgate of
supply.”

According to the allegations in the Indictment against STAMMERS, SHACKELS, LIM,
REYES PERALTA, and ALEXANDER:

In 2012, LIM and REYES PERALTA – members of a Hong Kong-based criminal
organization – sold over 30 kilograms of methamphetamine that had been produced in North
Korea. STAMMERS and SHACKELS were responsible for storing the methamphetamine after
it had been sold by LIM and REYES PERALTA. This North Korean methamphetamine was
later seized by law enforcement agents in Thailand and in the Philippines. The North Korean
methamphetamine tested at more than 99% pure.

In 2013, LIM and REYES PERALTA again agreed to provide North Korean
methamphetamine, this time agreeing to supply 100 kilograms of the methamphetamine to
confidential sources working at the direction of the DEA (the “CSes”) for importation to the
United States. As LIM explained, his criminal organization is the only one currently able to
obtain methamphetamine from North Korea: “Because before, there were eight [other
organizations]. But now only us, we have the NK product. . . . [I]t’s only us who can get from
NK.” LIM further explained that, because of recent international tensions, the North Korean
government had destroyed some methamphetamine labs, leaving behind only the labs of LIM’s
organization: “And all the, the NK government already burned all the labs. Only our labs are
not closed. . . . To show Americans that they [the North Korean government] are not selling it
any more, they burned it. Then they transfer to another base.” LIM explained that his
organization had stockpiled one ton of North Korean methamphetamine in the Philippines for
storage, “[b]ecause we already anticipated this thing would happen . . . [whereby] we cannot
bring out our goods right now.”

As a prelude to the 2013 100-kilogram methamphetamine deal described above, LIM and
REYES PERALTA arranged to have a sample of the methamphetamine delivered to
SHACKLES, who sent that sample (along with a second sample from another supplier) to an
address from which the methamphetamine samples would be sent to the United States. These
two methamphetamine samples tested at more than 98% and more than 96% pure.
LIM and REYES PERALTA agreed to deliver the 100 kilograms of North Korean
methamphetamine in Thailand, from where they understood it would be shipped to the United
States by boat. LIM and REYES PERALTA arranged for a “dry run,” sending a shipping
container of tea leaves from the Philippines to Thailand in order to test delivery channels that
would later be used for the shipment of methamphetamine.

STAMMERS, SHACKELS, and ALEXANDER agreed to provide security,
transportation, and storage for the 100 kilograms of methamphetamine once it arrived in
Thailand. ALEXANDER, the Sergeant-at-Arms of the Outlaw Motorcycle Club (“OMC”) in
Thailand, was to be the “ground commander,” supervising an armed crew of OMC members
providing security for the methamphetamine. STAMMERS and SHACKELS were to arrange
for the 100 kilograms to be taken to a warehouse, counted, re-packaged, and delivered to a
marina in Thailand, to be transferred to a boat that would deliver the methamphetamine to the
United States.

In September 2013, LIM and REYES PERALTA traveled to Thailand in order to receive
payment for the 100 kilogram methamphetamine deal. STAMMERS, LIM, PERALTA REYES,
SHACKELS, and ALEXANDER were each arrested by Thai law enforcement on September 25,
2013.

STAMMERS, 44, LIM, 53, REYES PERALTA, 41, SHACKELS, 30, and
ALEXANDER, 43, have each been charged with conspiracy to import methamphetamine into
the United States. The case is assigned to United States District Judge Andrew L. Carter, Jr.
If convicted, each of the defendants faces a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years’
imprisonment and a maximum term of life imprisonment.

Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding work of the Special Operations Division of the DEA.

Mr. Bharara also thanked DEA’s Bangkok, Manila, Ghana, Pretoria, Bucharest, Nassau, and
Copenhagen Country Offices; the Thai Police Narcotics Suppression Bureau and Crime
Suppression Division; the Royal Thai Immigration Bureau; the Royal Thai Attorney General's
Office; the Republic of Liberia’s National Security Agency; the Republic of Liberia’s Attorney
General's Office; the Romanian National Police; Interpol; and the U.S. Department of Justice
Office of International Affairs.

This prosecution is being handled by the Office's Terrorism and International Narcotics
Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys Michael D. Lockard, Aimee Hector and Anna M.
Skotko are in charge of the prosecution.

The charges contained in the Indictment are merely accusations and the defendants are
presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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