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11 indicted in conspiracy to smuggle drug-laced Harry Potter coloring books into Ohio prisons

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Posted at 1:23 PM, Jan 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-30 13:23:25-05

CLEVELAND — Harry Potter coloring books soaked in narcotics are just one of the items authorities say conspirators used to get drugs into Ohio prisons over the course of three years.

Eleven people have been indicted on federal charges for smuggling coloring books, mail, photographs and other paper items into prisons that inmates would then smoke.

The following individuals have been charged, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office:

Roy Kahn, 48 Christopher Adams, 41 Irwin Jose Vargas, 43 Manuel Lopez, 58 Wayne Fabian, 47 Giuseppe Cellura, 45 Brian Perez-Ayala, 38 Andres Garcia, 41 Jesus Parra-Felix Miguel Forteza-Garcia, 35 and Eduardo Rivera-Ocana, 36.

Kahn, Adams, Lopez and Cellura are the only ones named in the indictment who were not already incarcerated, authorities said.

Kahn and Adams devised a plan to soak paper in synthetic narcotics and then send the drug-infused items by mail to the other defendants to be sold and redistributed from 2015 to 2018, authorities said.

The conspirators allegedly used the names of both real and fake attorneys to create briefs and motions that would then be sent by mail to the inmates. The paper would then be cut into strips, rolled and smoked, authorities said. Inmates would pay around $500 for a single sheet of paper.

“The job is badass…they drown those sheets…and then they hang them…like photographs, they have them with clips and leave them to dry,” Vargas said in the indictment, according to authorities.

Kahn acquired the fentanyl analogues and other synthetic opioids used in the process from distributors in China, authorities said. He would then use money inmates paid him through wire transfers and money orders and start the cycle anew.

“This indictment details the disruption of a sophisticated organization that bought drugs from suppliers in China and then shipped them across the United States, including sending them into federal prisons,” U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman said. “Law enforcement worked diligently to investigate and dismantle this group.”

FBI Acting Special Agent in Charge Robert Hughes said the lengths that the conspirators used to smuggle drugs placed others in potential danger.

“Concealing dangerous, deadly, illegal drugs and smuggling into prisons by any method in order to profit from incarcerated drug users is quite crafty but utilizing infusion methods onto paper causes extreme risks to innocent people who may handle the paper," Hughes said. "The Bureau of Prisons Investigative Unit did an outstanding job in identifying not only the drugs, but also the method being utilized. Through collaborative law enforcement efforts, these drug dealers will answer for their crimes in federal court and innocent lives have been saved.”