United States Flag
Official Website of the Department of Homeland Security

Report Crimes: Email or Call 1-866-DHS-2-ICE

mobile search image
Narcotics
07/28/2015

Share

  • Email icon
  • Facebook icon
  • Twitter icon
  • Print icon

Colombian man arrested in Central America for operating criminal enterprise from Canadian prison

Charges are linked to North Dakota teen overdose death

FARGO, N.D. — A Colombian man was arrested in Panama City, Panama, July 17, based on a federal indictment linking him to the overdose death of a teenager in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

This arrest resulted from an extensive investigation, titled Operation Denial, into the international trafficking of fentanyl and other lethal drugs. This investigation was conducted by the following agencies:   U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), Portland (Oregon) Police Department’s Drugs and Vice Division, Portland’s HIDTA Interdiction Task Force, Oregon State Police, the Grand Forks Narcotics Task Force, and the Grand Forks Police Department.

Daniel Vivas Ceron, 34, of Colombia, was charged with the following crimes:

  • Conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and controlled substance analogues resulting in serious bodily injury and death;
  • Conspiracy to import controlled substances and controlled substance analogues into the United States resulting in serious bodily injury and death;
  • Aiding and abetting the distribution of a controlled substance resulting in death;
  • Money laundering conspiracy and;
  • Operating a continuing criminal enterprise.

Vivas Ceron appeared in a Panamanian court July 20, and is awaiting extradition to the United States.

Operation Denial is an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation.  It was significantly aided by the national and international coordination led by the multi-agency Special Operations Division near Washington D.C., as part of a tangential case titled, “Operation Deadly Merchant.”  The investigation started in North Dakota Jan. 3, 2015 with the overdose death in Grand Forks of 18-year-old Bailey Henke.

The indictment alleges Vivas Ceron, while imprisoned in Canada, operated a continuing criminal enterprise that moved fentanyl and other similar substances from Canada and China into the United States; and those drugs resulted in serious bodily injury and death. If convicted, Vivas Ceron faces a maximum of sentence of life in prison.

Acting U.S. Attorney Chris Myers said, “The cooperation of law enforcement in North Dakota, Oregon, Florida and Canada has been exemplary in this case – these agencies worked tirelessly as one unit to target, identify and dismantle this organization in an effort to prevent additional deaths. The fact that in just a few months this law enforcement team has been able to take this investigation from Grand Forks across the United States and into Canada is a tribute to the dedication of these agents to public safety in both the United States and Canada.”

Acting U.S. Attorney Bill Williams, District of Oregon, said, “The illegal distribution of fentanyl, as the number of drug overdoses tied to this investigation show, has wreaked havoc across the country,” noted Oregon Acting U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams.  “National problems such as this require a coordinated national response – and that is exactly what our offices have done to hold the perpetrators of this destruction accountable.”

The following additional defendants were charged in this investigation:

District of North Dakota

  1. Jameson Robert Sele, 20, of Grand Forks, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and was sentenced July 27 to 36 months imprisonment.
  2. Ryan Jon Jensen, 20, of Grand Forks, pleaded guilty Feb. 27 to conspiracy to distribute controlled substances resulting in serious bodily injury and death; two counts of distribution of a controlled substance resulting in death; distribution of a controlled substance resulting in serious bodily injury, and money laundering conspiracy.  He’s currently awaiting sentencing.
  3. David Todd Noye Jr., 18, of Grand Forks, pleaded guilty May 4 to conspiracy to distribute controlled substances.  He’s currently awaiting sentencing.
  4. Joshua Tyler Fulp, 20, of Grand Forks, pleaded guilty June 23 to conspiracy to distribute controlled substances resulting in serious bodily injury and death, and money laundering conspiracy.  He’s currently awaiting sentencing.
  5. Kain Daniel Schwandt, 19, of Grand Forks, pleaded guilty July 24 to conspiracy to distribute controlled substances. He’s currently awaiting sentencing.
  6. Brandon Corde Hubbard, 40, of Portland, Oregon, was indicted for conspiracy to distribute controlled substances resulting in serious bodily injury and death; conspiracy to distribute controlled substances resulting in death and money laundering conspiracy. Trial is currently set for Sept. 15.

District of Oregon

  1. Steven Fairbanks Locke was indicted for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance.  Trial is set for Sept. 15.
  2. Channing Laceywas indicted for conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance resulting in serious bodily injury; distribution of a controlled substances resulting in death; possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute.  Trial is set for Sept. 22.
  3. Carissa Marie Laprall was indicted for three counts of distribution of a controlled substance resulting in serious bodily injury and possession of a controlled substance with the intent to distribute.  Trial is set for Sept. 22.

An indictment is merely an accusation; the defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

Share

  • Email icon
  • Facebook icon
  • Twitter icon
  • Print icon
Last Reviewed/Updated: 07/29/2015