Hagatña, Guam – SHAWN N. ANDERSON, United States Attorney for the Districts of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, announced that Audrey Jean Wolford (“Wolford”), age 45, from Barrigada, Guam, was sentenced in the United States District Court of Guam to 120 months imprisonment for Conspiracy to Distribute Fifty or More Grams of Methamphetamine Hydrochloride, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 846 and 841(a)(1), and Engaging in Monetary Transaction with Proceeds of Specified Unlawful Activity, in violation 18 U.S.C. § 1957. The Court also ordered five years of supervised release following imprisonment and a mandatory $200 special assessment fee. In addition, defendants convicted of a federal drug offense may no longer qualify for certain federal benefits. The Court also ordered forfeiture of Wolford’s Barrigada residence, jewelry, and Infiniti vehicle to the government, as they were purchased with illegal drug proceeds.
From January 2013 to February 2019, Wolford, Vincent Raymond Rios (“Rios”), and other co-conspirators agreed to purchase and distribute methamphetamine in Guam. Wolford carried approximately $10,000 cash on her person as she accompanied Rios to purchase drugs from their supplier in the U.S. mainland. Rios packaged the drugs and Wolford prepared the U.S. Postal forms, mailing the packages containing methamphetamine to Guam. Wolford and Rios then traveled back to Guam where they retrieved their drug packages. The methamphetamine was then distributed to Eric Aponik, Joshua Ulloa, Josephine Quintanilla, and numerous other people in Guam, many of whom have been sentenced. The proceeds from the methamphetamine sales were returned to Wolford and Rios.
After the execution of search warrants, it was discovered that Wolford sent and received text messages that recorded her sales of methamphetamine by the gram, plate, and pound. She sold the methamphetamine out of her rental property located at 223 Bejong Street, Barrigada, Guam and met drug customers at hotels and other public places.
In 2016, the Wolford and Rios provided Aponik with $125,000 in drug proceeds that he deposited in his employer’s bank account, Reaction Inc. The company issued a check in the amount of $125,000 to Title Guaranty of Guam, Inc. where Wolford used the laundered money to purchase rental property in Barrigada.
Wolford also paid protection fees to a retired Guam Police Department officer, who advised Wolford how to avoid detection and arrest by law enforcement as she distributed drugs. As part of Wolford’s plea agreement, she agreed that 1,800 grams of methamphetamine were attributable to her conduct.
In June 2020, the district court sentenced Rios to 27 years imprisonment for Conspiracy to Distribute Fifty Grams or More of Methamphetamine Hydrochloride, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1); 20 years imprisonment for Attempted Possession with Intent to Distribute, in violation of 21 U.SC. § 841(a)(1); and 10 years imprisonment for two counts of Money Laundering, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1957. Those sentences are being served concurrently at the federal Bureau of Prisons. Rios also forfeited over $1,183,939.00, in addition to a condominium at Apusento Gardens and a home in Gloria Circle, Dededo.
“This case reflects the hard work of the many law enforcement agencies that pursued this drug trafficking organization across multiple jurisdictions,” stated United States Attorney Anderson. “It resulted in substantial criminal penalties, in addition to the forfeiture of a remarkable amount of ill-gotten gains to the government. We will continue to dedicate our resources toward identifying, disrupting, and dismantling these drug organizations in Guam.”
“Ms. Wolford’s actions clearly warrant this sentence,” said ATF Seattle Field Division Special Agent in Charge Jonathan T. McPherson. “The harm that these drugs bring to our communities are clear. The fact that she recruited a retired law enforcement officer in her drug enterprise makes it that much worse.”
“Using the mail to traffic harmful controlled substances hurts members of our community and everyone’s trust. Postal Inspectors will continue to work to keep controlled substances out of the U.S. Mail and our communities” said Kevin Rho, Acting Inspector in Charge, USPIS, San Francisco Division. “I would like to thank Guam Customs and Quarantine Agency, and our federal law enforcement partners for their ongoing commitment to these prosecutions.”
This effort is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.
This joint investigation was conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms and Explosives, United States Postal Inspection Service, Drug Enforcement Administration, and the assistance from the Guam Customs and Quarantine Agency. The case was prosecuted by Rosetta L. San Nicolas, Assistant United States Attorney in the District of Guam.