The multi-million dollar drug ring was cracked by the Oregon High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force, which includes U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) and the Portland Police Bureau.
Kingsley Iyare Osemwengie, 27, pleaded guilty last December to conspiracy to distribute oxycodone, conspiracy to launder drug proceeds and conspiracy to violate the Travel Act. Osemwengie admitted that he and Olubenga Temitope Badamosi, 34, a Nigerian citizen living in Milwaukie, Ore., arranged for the distribution of tens of thousands of oxycodone pills acquired in Miami and Las Vegas. At the time, Osemwengie was under federal court ordered supervised release for a previous felony fraud conviction.
The conspiracy used call girls, couriers, commercial carriers and the U.S. mail to distribute the pills, which prosecutors say have a street value of about $80 per pill. Investigators identified nearly 800 flights by more than 70 individual couriers to 40 different U.S. cities that were used by the conspiracy to move drugs and money.
Court documents detail the nationwide operation that funded an opulent lifestyle for Osemwengie and his cohorts. The investigation revealed records showing more than $1.2 million was deposited into six bank accounts controlled by Osemwengie over a three-year period. He also created several shell companies to disguise the source of his income. Osemwengie maintained luxury residences in Las Vegas and Miami and owned six luxury cars; other co-conspirators owned diamond encrusted jewelry with a total value of nearly $150,000.
"Today’s prison sentence is a reminder of the serious consequences drug traffickers face for bringing illicit drugs into our communities," said Brad Bench, special agent in charge of HSI Seattle. "When you’re talking about a dangerous and highly addictive drug that ruins lives and fosters further crime with illicit profits, the risks to public safety are real. HSI remains committed to dismantling the international drug trade while ensuring that those involved don’t benefit financially."
"This is the largest oxycodone trafficking conspiracy ever prosecuted in Oregon, and one of the largest in the nation," said U.S. Attorney Amanda Marshall. "Stemming the flow of prescription opiates is a crucial feature of our drug enforcement strategy, as addiction from these drugs and the conversion to heroin use is a national epidemic. I commend the exceptional agency partnerships that brought these conspirators to justice."
In all, 18 defendants have been convicted. Of those, 15 have been sentenced to prison terms ranging from 27 months to Osemwengie’s 210 month sentence. Defendants Reina Tomiko Nakachi of Las Vegas and Sarah Nilsen of Miami are scheduled to be sentenced in June. Over the course of the investigation that began in June 2010, more than 10,000 oxycodone pills and 1,900 counterfeit oxycodone pills were seized; and more than $600,000 in assets were forfeited, including two Bentleys, nine handguns and more than $230,000 in cash.
Additional law enforcement assistance was provided by the U.S. Marshals Service, the Oregon National Guard, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, the Fort Lauderdale Police Department, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office, the Westside Interagency Narcotics Task Force (WIN), and the Clark-Vancouver Drug Task Force. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Oregon District is prosecuting the case.