Las Vegas, Nevada - A Las Vegas man who operated an illegal drug trafficking organization that transported prescription drugs from Las Vegas to Anchorage, Homer, Kenai, Soldotna, and Wasilla, Alaska, and laundered over $1 million through bank accounts in Las Vegas, was sentenced today to 15 years in prison for his guilty pleas to conspiracy, drug, and money laundering charges, announced Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada.
Nicholas Ghafouria, 28, was sentenced by Senior U.S. District Judge Roger L. Hunt. In addition to the prison time, Ghafouria was also ordered to forfeit over $1.2 million in cash and property and must serve three years of supervised release following his release from prison. Ghafouria pleaded guilty on October 1, 2012, and was the last of the 27 defendants charged in the scheme to be sentenced, most of whom were sentenced to prison. Nineteen of those defendants were from Alaska and eight were from Las Vegas.
“Over the last several years, we have been working with state and local law enforcement and health care providers to attack the growing prescription drug abuse problem in Nevada,” said U.S. Attorney Bogden. “Since January 2010, over 100 individuals, including four doctors and a pharmacist, have been charged in Nevada with unlawfully distributing highly addictive prescription painkillers.”
Between May 2009 and October 2010, Ghafouria organized and led a group of individuals who distributed over 4,000 oxycodone pills in Alaska and laundered at least $1.2 million in cash proceeds from the unlawful distribution of the drugs. Ghafouria and his co-conspirators used various ways to get the drugs to Alaska, including sending them in packages and transporting them on airplane flights. Ghafouria sold the pills for approximately $65 each in Alaska. Co-conspirators in Alaska either provided money directly to couriers who delivered it to Ghafouria in Las Vegas, or they deposited money into bank accounts in Alaska, which was withdrawn in Las Vegas by individuals under Ghafouria’s direction.
The cases were investigated by IRS Criminal Investigation in Las Vegas; the FBI in Las Vegas and Anchorage; DEA in Las Vegas and Anchorage; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives in Anchorage; Department of Homeland Security in Anchorage; Las Vegas OCDETF; Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department; United States Attorney’s Office, District of Alaska; Alaska Bureau of Alcohol and Drug Enforcement; Alaska State Troopers (Soldotna SERT, Soldotna ABI, Anchor Point Troopers); Alaska Wildlife Troopers; Kenai Police Department; Anchorage, Kenai, and Mat-Su Judicial Services; Kenai District Attorney’s Office; Soldotna Police Department; Kenai Adult Probation; Alaska Department of Corrections; United States Fish and Wildlife Service; and Alaska National Guard. The cases were prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Patrick Walsh and Kishan Nair.