SHAWN N. ANDERSON, United States Attorney for the Districts of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, announced that defendant VINCENT RAYMOND RIOS (Rios) , age 45, from Chalan Pago, Guam was sentenced in the United States District Court of Guam to 27 years imprisonment for Conspiracy to Distribute Fifty Grams or More of Methamphetamine Hydrochloride, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1); 20 years imprisonment for Attempted Possession with Intent to Distribute, in violation of 21 U.SC. § 841(a)(1); and 10 years imprisonment for two counts of Money Laundering, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1957. The Court ordered the terms of imprisonment to run concurrently. The Court also ordered five years of supervised release following imprisonment, participation in a 500-hour drug treatment program, and a mandatory $400 assessment fee. In addition, defendants convicted of a federal drug offense may no longer qualify for certain federal benefits.
During October 2016, Special Agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) began an investigation after Rios attempted to transfer
$300,000.00 in drug proceeds through a local bank. On November 16, 2016, the U.S. Postal Inspector and Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agents and Task Force Officers intercepted three suspicious packages in the mail. One package contained 18.7 pounds of methamphetamine with a 98% purity level. Further investigation revealed that Rios and Sueann Baker (Baker) traveled to Washington State to purchase the drugs. Rios concealed the drugs in air mattresses, which were then mailed to Guam. When Rios and Baker returned to Guam, they attempted to claim the packages at a local mail box service. Rios further conspired with other people on Guam to distribute the drugs throughout the island.
ATF seized substantial amounts and types of property owned by Rios. This included $1,183,939.00 in cash from safe deposit boxes at Coast360 and Bank of Guam, in addition to $14,745.00 from a Mercedes Benz. The Court also ordered forfeiture of real estate, including an Apusento Gardens condominium and a home in Gloria Circle, Dededo. Both residences were purchased with illegal proceeds of drug trafficking.
U.S. Attorney Anderson stated, “I congratulate our law enforcement partners for the results of their hard work in dismantling this extensive drug trafficking enterprise. This case reflects not only the substantial terms of imprisonment facing drug traffickers. Criminals will also lose all the benefits, in whatever form, related to their illegal activity. The public rightfully deserves protection from this scourge on our island.”
This was an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Drug Enforcement Administration. The case was prosecuted by Rosetta L. San Nicolas, Assistant United States Attorney in the Districts of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.