UK man gets 15 years in U.S. prison for smuggling North Korean drugs

Reuters News
Posted: Jun 03, 2016 6:22 PM

By Nate Raymond

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A British citizen who worked for a Philippines-based global criminal organization was sentenced on Friday to over 15 years in a U.S. prison for conspiring to import 100 kilograms of North Korean methamphetamine into the United States.

Scott Stammers, 47, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Andrew Carter in Manhattan. He was one of five defendants who pleaded guilty last year in a case stemming from a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration sting operation.

His case is one of several prosecutions to flow out of the 2012 arrest in Liberia of Paul Le Roux, the head of a multinational drug and weapons trafficking enterprise who turned into a top government informant.

On Monday, Joseph "Rambo" Hunter, a former U.S. Army sergeant who prosecutors said oversaw contract killings for Le Roux, received a 20-year prison term for conspiring to kill a federal drug agent and an informant.

Prosecutors said Stammers, while living in the Philippines, managed drug and weapons trafficking for an organization led by Zimbabwe-born Le Roux, who participated in the sting that resulted in his arrest.

Prosecutors said in 2012, Le Roux tasked Stammers and British citizen Philip Shackels with storing and protecting a large amount of North Korean-produced methamphetamine obtained from members of a Hong Kong-based organization.

Law enforcement in Thailand and in the Philippines later seized the methamphetamine.

In 2013, the same members of the Hong Kong organization, Ye Tiong Tan Lim and Kelly Allan Reyes Peralta, agreed to supply 100 kilograms of the methamphetamine to purported members of a South American drug cartel, prosecutors said.

The South American cartel members were actually DEA informants, prosecutors said.

Tan Lim and Peralta agreed to deliver the North Korean-produced narcotics in Thailand, where Stammers, Shackels and another defendant, Adrian Valkovic, would provide security, transportation and storage for the drugs, prosecutors said.

The five men were arrested by Thai law enforcement in September 2013 while working on the deal, after Stammers reported to Le Roux that "all main players are now on the ground," prosecutors said.

Like Stammers, who received a 181-month prison term, the other defendants pleaded guilty to conspiring to import methamphetamine into the United States.

Valkovic was sentenced in January to 113 months in prison, Peralta in April received a 91-month term, and Shackles was sentenced to 85 months. Tan Lim's sentencing is set for Tuesday.

(Reporting by Nate Raymond in New York; Editing by Noeleen Walder and Richard Chang)