CDN: Quebec Man Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Import and Distribute Fentanyl

Defendants arranged the distribution of fentanyl and fentanyl analogues to the United States and elsewhere while incarcerated in a Canadian prison

Jason Joey Berry, 39, of Montreal, Canada, pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to distribute fentanyl and import it into the United States, resulting in serious bodily injury and death. The criminal conspiracy involved distributing fentanyl and other similar substances from Canada and China into the United States, resulting in 15 overdoses, four of which were fatal.

According to court documents, Berry arranged the distribution of fentanyl and fentanyl analogues to the United States and elsewhere while incarcerated in a Canadian prison. Berry led the conspiracy in Canada with another inmate, Daniel Vivas Ceron, 41, who pleaded guilty in July 2019 to continuing criminal enterprise, conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and controlled substance analogues resulting in serious bodily injury and death, and money laundering. This investigation started in North Dakota on Jan. 3, 2015, with the overdose death in Grand Forks, North Dakota, of Bailey Henke.

“Jason Berry was part of a fentanyl trafficking ring that contributed to the opioid epidemic plaguing our communities,” said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.  “This case sends a clear message that the Criminal Division is committed to protecting those communities, combating the flow of deadly drugs like fentanyl, and holding accountable drug traffickers seeking to turn a profit on addiction.”

Berry pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute controlled substances and controlled substance analogues resulting in serious bodily injury and death, and conspiracy to import controlled substances and controlled substance analogues into the United States resulting in serious bodily injury and death. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 17, 2023, and faces a mandatory minimum sentence of life in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Additional defendants charged in federal court in this investigation include:

District of North Dakota

  • Jian Zhang, aka Hong Kong Zaron, 43, of China; Xuan Cahn Nguyen, aka Jackie and Jackie Chan, 42, of Quebec Canada; Marie Um, aka Angry Bird, 41, of Quebec, Canada; and Vannek Um, 44, of Quebec, Canada were charged by a superseding indictment returned on Jan. 18, 2018, with drug trafficking conspiracy. Also charged with international money launder conspiracy were Na Chu, 41; Yeyou Chu, 40; Cuiying Liu, 66; and Keping Zhang, 66, all Chinese nationals. On May 31, Nguyen pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute and import fentanyl and fentanyl analogues and conspiring to launder money;
  • On March 22, 2018, Steven Barros Pinto, aka Yeaboy, 41, of Pawtucket, Rhode Island, was charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribution of 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, and continuing criminal enterprise. On Nov. 28, 2018, a superseding indictment was filed adding the charges of obstruction of justice and money laundering conspiracy.  On July 9, 2021, a federal jury convicted Pinto for conspiring to import and distribute fentanyl and fentanyl analogues, continuing criminal enterprise, money laundering conspiracy, and multiple obstruction offenses. He was sentenced on Oct. 14, 2021, to serve 400 months in federal prison;
  • Brandon Corde Hubbard47, of Portland, Oregon, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute controlled substances resulting in serious bodily injury and death, distribution of a controlled substance resulting in death, and money laundering conspiracy.  He was sentenced on July 13, 2016, to serve life in federal prison;
  • Ryan Jon Jensen, 27, of Grand Forks, North Dakota, pleaded guilty on Feb. 27, 2015, to conspiracy to distribute controlled substances resulting in serious bodily injury and death, one count of distribution of a controlled substance resulting in death, two counts of distribution of a controlled substance resulting in serious bodily injury, and money laundering conspiracy. He was sentenced on Feb. 1, 2016, to serve 240 months in federal prison; 
  • Joshua Tyler Fulp, 27, of Grand Forks, pleaded guilty on June 23, 2015, to conspiracy to distribute controlled substances resulting in serious bodily injury and death. He was sentenced to serve 144 months in federal prison;
  • Kain Daniel Schwandt, 26, of Grand Forks, pleaded guilty on July 24, 2015, to conspiracy to distribute controlled substances. He was sentenced on Jan. 25, 2016, to serve 42 months in federal prison;
  • David Todd Noye Jr., 121, of Grand Forks, pleaded guilty on May 4, 2015, to conspiracy to distribute controlled substances. He was sentenced on Jan. 25, 2016, to serve 39 months in federal prison;
  • Jameson Robert Sele, 27, of Grand Forks, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute controlled substances. He was sentenced on July 27, 2015, to serve 36 months in federal prison;
  • Braden James Foley, 35, of Olympia, Washington, pleaded guilty on Aug. 11, 2016, to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribution of controlled substances. He was sentenced on Nov. 21, 2016, to serve 30 months in federal prison;
  • Anthony Santos Gomes, 37, originally of Rhode Island and Davie, Florida, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribute controlled substances and controlled substance analogues resulting in serious bodily injury and death and money laundering conspiracy. In addition to pleading guilty, Gomes agreed to forfeit a residence located in Davie, Florida; $162,836.00 in cash; a 2007 Maserati Quattroporte; a 2017 Polaris Sportsman XP ATV; and assorted jewelry valued at $64,725.00. He was sentenced on July 30, 2021, to serve 360 months in federal prison;
  • Amanda Schneider, 32, of Port St. Lucie, Florida, pleaded guilty on Sept. 17, 2018, to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribution of controlled substances. She was sentenced on Jan. 17, 2019, to serve 15 months in federal prison;
  • Keveen Nobre, 32, of Providence, Rhode Island, pleaded guilty on Oct. 10, 2018, to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribution of controlled substances. He was sentenced on April 17, 2019, to serve 30 months in federal prison;
  • Robinson Gomez, 39, of Charlotte, North Carolina, pleaded guilty on Jan. 10, 2019, to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribution of controlled substances. He was sentenced on April 17, 2019, to serve 180 months in federal prison;
  • David Campbell, 61, of Plantation, Florida, pleaded guilty on Jan. 10, 2019, to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribution of controlled substances. He was sentenced on April 17, 2019, to serve 120 months in federal prison;
  • Louis Bell, 34, of Port St. Lucie, Florida, pleaded guilty on Nov. 8, 2018, to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribution of controlled substances. He was sentenced on April 18, 2019, to serve 201 months in federal prison;
  • Elizabeth Ton, 31, of Davie, Florida, pleaded guilty on June 18, 2018, to money laundering conspiracy. She was sentenced on March 8, 2019, to serve 41 months in federal prison; and
  • Danny Gamboa, 25, of Pawtucket, Rhode Island, pleaded guilty on Jan. 10, 2019, to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribution of controlled substances. He was sentenced on April 17, 2019, to serve 25 months in federal prison.

District of Oregon

  • Channing Lacey, 35, of Portland, Oregon, pleaded guilty on March 28, 2017, to one count of distribution of a controlled substance resulting in serious bodily injury to three individuals and one count of distribution of a controlled substance resulting in death. She was sentenced on Aug. 28, 2017, to serve 135 months in federal prison;
  • Steven Fairbanks Locke, 46, of Portland, pleaded guilty on June 14, 2017, to use of a communication facility to facilitate a drug offense. He was sentenced on Sept. 4, 2019, to time served; and
  • Carissa Marie Laprall, 27, of Portland, pleaded guilty on March 28, 2017, to three counts of distribution of a controlled substance resulting in serious bodily injury. She was sentenced on Jan. 30, 202 to time served.

This case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Grand Forks Narcotics Task Force, IRS Criminal Investigation, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Portland Police Bureau – Narcotics and Organized Crime Division, Oregon/Idaho HIDTA Interdiction Task Force, Oregon State Police, and the Grand Forks Police Department. The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs provided valuable assistance.

Trial Attorneys Kaitlin Sahni and Imani Hutty of the Criminal Division’s Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section, Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Myers of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of North Dakota, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott Kerin of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon are prosecuting the case.

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