|For Immediate Release
April 2, 2009
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Public Affairs Counsel
MAN TO BE SENTENCED FOR SMUGGLING 14 POUNDS OF OPIUM WORTH $3 MILLION INTO ORANGE COUNTY BY HIDING IT IN HOLLOW PICTURE FRAMES
SANTA ANA – A man will be sentenced tomorrow for smuggling 14 pounds of opium into Orange County from the Republic of Turkey by hiding it in hollowed-out decorative wooden picture frames. Mohsen Youssefinejad, 55, Lake Forest, was found guilty by a jury on Feb. 4, 2009, of one felony count of transportation of a controlled substance for sale and one felony count of possession for sale of a controlled substance. He faces a maximum sentence of six years in state prison at his sentencing tomorrow, April 3, 2009, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-38, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
On June 6, 2008, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents in Los Angeles received a call from ICE agents in New York about a package that had been received at John F. Kennedy International Airport from Ankara, the capital of Turkey. Upon inspection, it was discovered that the package contained 14 pounds of opium concealed in decorative wooden picture frames. The package was addressed to Youssefinejad’s business, Euro & America, in Santa Ana, and had a street value up to $3 million.
The Department of Homeland Security, ICE, the United States Postal Service, and detectives from the Irvine Police Department narcotics unit coordinated to monitor the delivery of the package once it reached Orange County.
On June 9, 2008, the package was delivered to Euro & America, a used car parts shop located in a Santa Ana industrial complex. Youssefinejad signed for the package. The defendant took the frames filled with opium inside and left them in the business. He then got in his car and drove around, making sudden stops and watching other cars to see if he was being followed by law enforcement. Youssefinejad then returned and picked up the package.
Deputy District Attorney Nikki Chambers of the Narcotics Enforcement Team prosecuted this case.