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U.S. v. TROLINGER

December 10, 1999

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
WILLIAM PRICE TROLINGER, III, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Arcara, District Judge.

DECISION AND ORDER

INTRODUCTION

On October 29, 1997, a federal grand jury returned a twelve-count Superseding Indictment charging defendant William Price Trolinger, III, and nine others with various offenses under the Controlled Substances Act. Defendant Trolinger is charged as follows: in Count I, with engaging in a Continuing Criminal Enterprise, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 848(a) and (b); in Count VI, with unlawfully exporting 100 kilograms or more of marijuana, in the form of hashish, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 953(c), 960(a) and 960(b)(2)(G) and 18 U.S.C. § 2; in Count VII, with unlawfully importing 50 kilograms or more of marijuana, in the form of hashish, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 952(a), 960(a) and 960(b)(3) and 18 U.S.C. § 2; in Count IX, with unlawfully possessing with intent to distribute and distributing 100 kilograms or more of marijuana, in the form of hashish, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and 841(b)(1)(B) and 18 U.S.C. § 2; in Count X, with conspiracy to export from the United States, and to import into the United States, 1000 kilograms or more of marijuana, in the form of hashish, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 963; and in Count XI, with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute 1000 kilograms or more of marijuana, in the form of hashish, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846.

Upon the return of the Superseding Indictment, on October 29, 1997, an arrest warrant was issued for defendant. On or about December 21, 1998, defendant was arrested in Toronto, Canada.

During the pendency of the extradition process from Canada to the United States, defendant appeared on April 28, 1999 for a bail hearing before the Honorable Justice Locke of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, Toronto Region. On April 30, 1999, following that hearing, Justice Locke rendered a decision denying defendant's request for bail pending his extradition to the United States. Defendant ultimately consented to extradition.

The detention hearing was held on October 14, 1999 and both the government and the defendant proceeded by way of proffer. Following the hearing, Magistrate Judge Scott reserved decision.

On October 20, 1999, Magistrate Judge Scott denied the government's detention motion and issued a release order, setting bail in the amount of $1 million, fully secured by property, assets, or cash. Magistrate Judge Scott further imposed home confinement and electronic monitoring, presumably at the defendant's mother's residence in the District of Maryland. As further conditions of release, Magistrate Judge Scott imposed a travel restriction on defendant, required him to surrender his passport, and imposed various other conditions.

On October 26, 1999, counsel appeared for a status conference before Magistrate Judge Scott. Defense counsel informed Magistrate Judge Scott that bail could not yet be posted. Magistrate Judge Scott therefore remanded defendant to custody.

On October 27, 1999, the government moved this Court for an order, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3145(a)(1), revoking Magistrate Judge Scott's October 20, 1999 release order, arguing that defendant presents a risk of flight.*fn1 The Court thereafter scheduled a de novo hearing on the government's motion for November 23, 1999.

On November 15, 1999, the parties met with Magistrate Judge Scott for a status conference. It appears that, at that time, defendant was able to post bail, but Magistrate Judge Scott ordered defendant remanded pending this Court's decision on the government's revocation motion.

On November 22, 1999, defendant filed a written opposition to the government's revocation motion, along with an appendix of exhibits.

On November 23 and 24, 1999, the Court held a hearing on the government's revocation motion. At the hearing, the government again proceeded by way of proffer. Defendant too made a proffer, but also presented three witnesses: the defendant, his mother and his daughter. A transcript of the detention hearing held before Magistrate Judge Scott on October 16, 1999 was also filed and made available for the Court's review.

After considering the evidence adduced at the hearing, reviewing the submissions of the parties, and hearing argument from counsel, the Court finds, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3142, that no condition or combination of conditions will reasonably assure defendant's appearance as required for further proceedings. Accordingly, the Court revokes Magistrate Judge Scott's October 20, 1999 release order and orders that defendant be detained pending trial.

FINDINGS OF FACT

The Court makes these findings of fact based on the evidence presented by way of proffer and testimony at the hearings before Magistrate Judge Scott and this Court.*fn2

A. Background and Nature and Circumstances of Charged Conduct

According to these affidavits, in 1978, defendant and William Troy formed a partnership with a marijuana distributor named Breiding, who had purchased a 70-foot sailboat named the "Pleamar." Troy flew to Columbia to pick-out marijuana that was to be imported into the United States, and eventually met with the crew of the Pleamar off the coast of Columbia, where the marijuana was transferred onto the Pleamar. Defendant's role in this transaction was to arrange (rent the properties) for the off-load site in the Chesapeake Bay area. Eventually, approximately 10,000 pounds of marijuana was off-loaded in Chincoteague Island, Virginia, while approximately 5,000 to 6,000 pounds was unloaded in Easton, Maryland, farther up the Chesapeake Bay. Approximately two weeks before off-loading, Breiding was arrested in Ocean City, Maryland. At the time of his arrest, he was in possession of money, marijuana and maps to the properties. Consequently, Troy and others were arrested in Chincoteague Island, while defendant and others were arrested in Easton, Maryland. Charges against all of the defendants were ultimately dismissed based upon a faulty search.*fn3

In about 1979 into 1980, defendant and Troy traveled to France and purchased a 65-foot sailboat named the "Aldabaran." Defendant, Troy, co-defendant Christopher Joseph Ecker and others refurbished the boat in the South of France. Following the refurbishing, the boat was sailed to Greece, and Troy and Ecker flew back to the United States from Greece. Defendant and an individual named Timothy Hansen sailed the boat to Lebanon where they met "Jeffery LNU" who loaded approximately 12,000 pounds of hashish onto the Aldabaran. Defendant then sailed the Aldabaran to St. Barthelemy in the French West Indies where Troy met the boat. In St. Barthelemy, defendant got off the boat and Troy got on. Troy then sailed the boat to South Carolina, where the hashish was off-loaded. Defendant and others then distributed the hashish in the United States. Defendant and Troy made approximately $300,000 each on this importation.

In about 1983 to 1984, defendant formulated a plan to import marijuana from Thailand. In 1984, defendant contacted Troy and asked him to go to Northern Oregon/Southern Washington in order to assist in the off-loading of a boat loaded with marijuana from Thailand. Troy and codefendant Wesley Dean Lundy then flew to San Francisco and drove up to Astoria, Washington. In Astoria, Troy and Lundy met with defendant. The Thai marijuana was then sailed into the Oregon coast aboard the Aldabaran, by "Randy LNU," Rob Trolinger (defendant's brother), Jimmy Phelps, and others. Another individual named "Thunder," who appeared to Troy to have worked out some sort of a partnership with defendant, was also present. Approximately 10,000 pounds of marijuana was imported and eventually loaded into trucks and driven east. Defendant was responsible for distribution of this marijuana. Based on his knowledge of the drug business and his discussions with defendant, Troy estimates that defendant made between $1 million and $2 million from this load of Thai marijuana.

Thereafter, in about December of 1992, an individual named Constantine Szejko offered Troy a quantity of hashish from Pakistan which was to be supplied, at least in part, by Lundy. Troy, knowing that defendant would have outlets for the hashish, decided to contact defendant via his voice mail in San Francisco. During a conversation with defendant, Troy learned that defendant's outlets were in the Toronto, Ontario area.

Following Troy's conversation with defendant, Troy and Szejko finalized plans to transport hashish to the Buffalo, New York area for ultimate distribution into Canada. It was necessary for both Troy and Szejko to act as middlemen in this deal because Lundy, who was providing the hashish to Szejko, and defendant had previously had a falling-out and did not get along with one another.

Ultimately, the hashish was delivered to Westchester County, New York. On January 25, 1993, Troy flew from Florida to Washington, D.C., where he was picked-up by defendant. Troy and defendant then drove in defendant's vehicle from Washington to a hotel in Tarrytown, New York, where they met Szejko. Defendant's vehicle was then loaded with approximately 348 pounds of hashish packed in cardboard boxes. Troy and defendant then drove to the Niagara Falls, New York area, and along the way, defendant made several calls to his Canadian contacts. Once in Niagara Falls, defendant and Troy met with co-defendant Bruce DeBarros at a restaurant in Niagara Falls. DeBarros was the liaison for co-defendant Karl Drysdale, who was defendant's contact in Toronto. During the meeting, it was decided that the hashish would be transported to a stash house located in nearby Youngstown, New York.

Once at the stash house, the hashish was removed from the cardboard boxes so that the quality of the hashish could be inspected. At that time, DeBarros complained to defendant about the poor quality of the hashish. DeBarros and defendant also discussed the arrangements for getting the hashish to Drysdale in Canada. DeBarros stated that he and codefendant Cecil Patrick Manningham were going to transport the hashish across the Rainbow Bridge between Niagara Falls, New York and Niagara Falls, Ontario.

On January 29, 1993, defendant and Troy checked into a hotel on Grand Island, New York to await payment from Drysdale. Defendant and Troy needed the proceeds from the sale of the first hashish load as quickly as possible so that they could pay for a second load of approximately 310 pounds of hashish that was already being transported to the Buffalo area by Lundy and another individual, codefendant Harry Carter Russell.

At the hotel on Grand Island, Troy was using the alias of Raymond Maxwell and defendant was using the alias Robert Miller. At the same time, Szejko, at the direction of Lundy, was staying at a hotel in Buffalo to coordinate the distribution of the hashish and the collection of proceeds from the Canadian customers. After arriving with the second load of hashish, Lundy and Carter stayed at a hotel located south of Buffalo.

Because the Canadian customers were dissatisfied with the quality of the hashish, payment was slow in coming. After four or five days of the first load of hashish being taken to Canada, defendant and Troy finally received payment of about $150,000. Of this money, both Troy and defendant took about $5,000 each, while Szejko took about $25,000. Lundy received the rest.

On February 12, 1993, defendant and Troy were again staying at the same hotel on Grand Island when defendant received a telephone call informing him that approximately ten kilograms of hashish and $130,000 had been seized from "Bruce" and "Karl" in Toronto. After receiving this call, Troy and defendant relocated to a hotel near the Buffalo Airport.

According to the government, information provided by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police ("RCMP") confirms that as part of an undercover investigation, the RCMP, during early February 1993, arrested three individuals, co-defendants Karl Drysdale, Bruce Hahn, and Radomir Pajkovic, in Toronto and seized twelve kilograms of hashish and $130,000 (U.S.).

As money was slow in coming back from Canada, Lundy and Russell grew increasingly impatient. At about the same time as the arrests in Canada, they began to complain and indicated that they had another outlet, subsequently identified as Michael Pate, who was having better success in distributing the hashish. They advised Szejko that the hashish was coming from the West Coast and that tens of thousands of pounds of hashish were available. Lundy and ...


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