CRIME AT OUR SHORES
FBI Helps Bust Major International Smuggling Operation
Monday, FBI Deputy Director John Pistole joined
officials from the Department of Justice, the Department
of Homeland Security, and other federal agencies
in announcing twin investigations that targeted
a major international crime ring attempting to smuggle
counterfeit currency, weapons, drugs, and cigarettes
into the U.S.
of today, [the] cycle of crime stops," said John
Richter, Acting Assistant Attorney General of the
Criminal Division at the U.S. Department of Justice.
operation was the result of parallel undercover
investigations on opposite shores—"Operation
Royal Charm" in New Jersey and "Operation
Smoking Dragon" in Los Angeles, California.
A total of 59 individuals from around the world
were arrested in 11 locations in the U.S. over the
weekend; 87 people were also charged.
help arrests suspects in the New Jersey case, conspirators
here and overseas were invited to a wedding on a
yacht docked outside of Atlantic City. They were
sent real invitations, but the wedding was a ruse.
Several individuals were arrested when they
showed up for "transportation" to the
few specifics from the investigations:
Royal Charm: six indictments, 57 individuals
charged, and seizures of more than $3.3 million
in counterfeit currency, $2 million in counterfeit
cigarettes, 36,000 ecstasy pills, and nearly a half-kilo
Smoking Dragon: four indictments, 30 individuals
charged, and seizures of more than $1.2 million
in counterfeit currency. The defendants also allegedly
smuggled billions of counterfeit cigarettes worth
more than $40 million, with an additional $9 million
in potential lost taxes.
the investigations, FBI agents posed as drug traffickers,
arms traffickers, and other underworld criminals.
Our partners included the U.S. Secret Service; the
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives;
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S.
Customs and Border Protection at the U.S. Department
of Homeland Security; the Royal Canadian Mounted
Police; the U.S. Postal Inspection Service; the
Department of Labor's Inspector General, and several
state and local law enforcement agencies.