Los Angeles Man Indicted for Large Shipments of Methamphetamine Sent from California to the New York City Area

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Bridget G. Brennan, New York City’s Special Narcotics Prosecutor, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., New York City Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill and Angel M. Melendez, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in New York, announced the indictment of RICHARD DEAN DESAIN, a resident of Los Angeles, in connection with multiple large-scale shipments of methamphetamine to New York City and the surrounding area.

The indictment, filed jointly by the offices of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor and the Manhattan District Attorney, charges DESAIN with Conspiracy in the Second and Fourth Degrees, Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Second Degree and Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Second and Third Degrees. DESAIN is scheduled for arraignment on the indictment today before Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Neil Ross, Part 23, 100 Centre Street.

A long-term investigation was conducted by the New York City Police Department’s (NYPD) Criminal Enterprise Investigation Section (CEIS), LaGuardia Airport Task Force, in conjunction with ICE HSI New York and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Police Department. The investigation involved an array of investigative techniques, including a court authorized wiretap and physical surveillance.

As detailed in the indictment, DESAIN allegedly conspired to supply methamphetamine to New York City-based drug distribution networks from August of 2017 to July 9, 2018. In so doing, DESAIN arranged for multiple shipments of methamphetamine worth tens of thousands of dollars to be transported from California to the New York City area via package delivery services.

Between August and November of 2017, DESAIN and others engaged in a series of phone calls and text messages in which payments and shipments were discussed. In October of 2017, DESAIN discussed plans for a drug shipment to be sent to an address in Jersey City, N.J. On October 15, 2017, a text message sent by DESAIN to another individual listed “standard sizes” and pricing. A package containing 334 grams of methamphetamine (nearly a pound) was recovered by members of CEIS at a Newark, N.J. FedEx facility on October 18, 2017. The shipping label identified the sender of the package as “Dean Desain” of “Dean’s List.”

On July 7, 2018, the Apple Store at Grand Central Station in Manhattan received a FedEx package addressed in the name of “R De Sain.” An Apple employee opened the package, which ultimately proved to contain 559 grams (more than one pound) of methamphetamine. An Apple representative immediately reported the suspicious package to the NYPD and indicated that the addressee was not recognized by Apple. The investigation revealed that someone unsuccessfully attempted to have the package rerouted to a nearby Duane Reade pharmacy and an individual went to that location looking for the package.

At approximately 1:20 p.m. on July 9, 2018, DESAIN entered the Apple Store in order to retrieve the package. MTA police arrested DESAIN and recovered an additional quantity of methamphetamine weighing more than 100 grams from his person. The Manhattan District Attorney filed charges against DESAIN in connection with this arrest.

DESAIN was arrested today on charges in the indictment as he appeared in Manhattan Supreme Court for a previously scheduled proceeding related to the arrest at Grand Central Station. The new indictment combines charges from that incident with charges stemming from the overarching drug trafficking conspiracy investigated by the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor and the NYPD’s CEIS.

Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan thanked her office’s Trial Division, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, the New York City Police Department’s Criminal Enterprise Investigation Section (CEIS), the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in New York and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Police Department.

Special Narcotics Prosecutor Brennan said, “As if importing large amounts of highly addictive crystal methamphetamine into NYC was not bad enough, Richard Dean Desain also attempted to mask his crimes by shipping a parcel of the dangerous substance to unwitting recipients, including an Apple Store and a Duane Reade pharmacy. The scheme demonstrated complete disregard for the safety of anyone who might open that package and risked casting suspicion on innocent people. I thank those who quickly alerted the NYPD upon their discovery of this dangerous drug. Ultimately, the defendant boldly tried to hide in plain sight by personally appearing to claim his package of contraband, prompting his arrest.”

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. said: "When it comes to supplying illegal drugs, dealers will resort to any means necessary – even siphoning drugs through a major transit hub like Grand Central Station – to make a profit. In this case, the defendant is charged with funneling drugs into our city by making a Manhattan business his unwitting package receiver and, in turn, using a package delivery service as his own personal drug courier. There is no place in New York for illegal methamphetamines, and I would like to thank the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor and the NYPD for their partnership in keeping these dangerous substances out of our communities."

Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill said, “Today’s charges demonstrate that the investigative efforts of New York City law enforcement are far-reaching, precisely-focused, and patient. As long as individuals – wherever they are based – are involved in illegal narcotics trafficking, the NYPD and our partners will relentlessly work to stop the threat to public safety. I commend and thank our colleagues at Homeland Security Investigations, the city’s Special Narcotics Prosecutor, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, and the MTA police for assisting our Criminal Enterprise Investigations Section in building such a strong conspiracy case.”

“Trying to get rich out in California by flooding the streets of New York with meth, Richard Desain allegedly shipped large quantities of the dangerous drug to distribution networks in our area,” said Homeland Security Investigations New York Special Agent in Charge Angel M. Melendez. “Thanks to the collaboration amongst New York’s law enforcement agencies, Desain’s west coast pipeline has been disrupted and he will no longer supply meth to local dealers.”

The charges and allegations are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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Special Narcotics Prosecutor’s Office
Kati Cornell
(212) 815-0525

New York City Police Department
Phillip Walzak
(646) 610-6700

Manhattan District Attorney’s Office
Daniel Frost
(212) 335-9400

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