Complaints Statement of Facts
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
GURUJOT SINGH KHALSA
aka Robert Alvin Taylor
Magistrate Case No. 3 88 0144 FW
Complaint for violation of Title 21 United States Code (963 Conspiracy to import marijuana)(848 Continuing Criminal Enterprise)
Name of Judge or Magistrate: Frederich J. Woelfen
Official Title: U.S. Magistrate, 450 Golden Gate Avenue, San Francisco, CA
Date of Offense: February 1983 through September 1987
Place of Offense: San Francisco and elsewhere
Address of Accused: 11119 Corobon Lane, Great Falls, VA (Ellis) and 818 Leigh Mill Road, Great Falls, VA (Khalsa)
Defendants and others conspired three times with government informants to import marijuana from Thailand into the United States in 1983, 1984-1985 and 1987. Defendants acted as organizers, supervisors and managers in concert with at least five other persons in the course of the three conspiracies and obtained substantial income and resources therefrom.
Guru Jot Singh Khalsa
and Albert Ellis
See attached affidavit of Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent Mark J. Nelson
Being duly sworn, I declare that the foregoing is true and correct to the best of my knowledge.
Official title: Special Agent, Drug Enforcement Administration. Dated: February 19, 1988
(CITY AND COUNTY OF SAN FRANCISCO NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA )
I, Mark J. Nelson, being first duly sworn, depose and state:
That I am a Special Agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), U.S. Department of Justice and have been so employed for the past two years. I am presently assigned to the San Francisco Field Division Office of the DEA.
I have been informed of the following information by agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration and two (2) confidential informants.
During the early part of February 1983, a confidential informant (herein referred to CI #1) stated that he/she was introduced to Albert ELLIS, a previously convicted importer of marijuana, at the Ambassador Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand. ELLIS was introduced to CI #1 as the main investor for an upcoming Thai marijuana smuggling operation. During the ensuing meeting after introductions, ELLIS asked CI #1, if CI #1 could supply ELLIS with 20 tons of Thai marijuana. ELLIS told CI #1 that ELLIS would purchase 20 tons of Thai marijuana from CI #1 if CI #1 could obtain the marijuana for $70,000 per ton. CI #1 agreed to this arrangement. By March 1983, CI #) had been provided by the ELLIS organization with $1.2 million dollars with which to purchase the 20 tons of marijuana.
On or near June 1 and 2, 1983, CI #1 traveled to Chantanburi, Thailand and boarded a Fishing trawler, which rendezvoused with 3 other fishing trawlers and a "mother ship". 0n this occasion, approximately 12 tons of marijuana was loaded from the 3 fishing trawlers onto the mother ship."
On or about July 10, 1983 CI #1 and a confidential informant (herein referred to as CI #2) learned that the aforementioned "mother ship" loaded with 12 tons of marijuana had succeeded in reaching the United States. CI #1 and CI #2 then stated that they traveled to San Francisco, CA and met with Albert ELLIS at the San Francisco Airport Hilton and an apartment on Castro Street in San Francisco, CA. ELLIS told CI #1 and CI #2 that the marijuana was of good quality and that CI #1 and CI #2 would receive their portion of the drug sale proceeds in New York.
CI #1 and CI #2 then stated that they traveled to New York City in the latter part of July, 1983. In New York City, CI #1 and CI #2 were introduced by ELLIS to various individuals whom CI #1 and CI #2 understood to be investors, buyers, and distributors of Thai marijuana in the New York area. ELLIS introduced CI #1 and CI #2 to Gurujot KHALSA (aka: Robert A. Taylor) whom ELLIS described as a partner of his. While in New York City, ELLIS met with CI #1 and CI #2 and informed CI #1 and CI #2 that ELLIS would not be able to provide any drug proceed money to CI #1 and CI #2 at the present time. Nonetheless, ELLIS and KHALSA met with CI #1 on another occasion while still in New York City, and informed CI #1 that another Thai smuggling venture was being planned, and that CI #1s and CI #2s assistance in obtaining the marijuana was again needed.
In early September 1983, Gurujot KHALSA and Albert ELLIS met CI #1 in Hong Kong. According to CI #1, the following day ELLIS gave CI #1 $350,000 as a partial payment for the previously mentioned marijuana smuggling venture.
On or about October 9, 1983, CI #1 and CI #2 state that they met with ELLIS at the Ambassador Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand. ELLIS informed CI #1 and CI #2 that he (ELLIS) wished to organize a 20-ton load of Thai marijuana for 1984. In early November 1983, CI #1 and CI #2 traveled to the United States to further plan the smuggling operation. In San Francisco, CA CI #1 and CI #2, at the direction of ELLIS, met with an individual for the purpose of arranging the purchase of communication equipment for the mother ship" which would transport the 20 ton load.
On or about November 15, 1953, CI #1 and CI #2 traveled from Los Angeles, CA to the Washington, D.C. area where CI #1 and CI #2 stayed for approximately 2 days. On the first day in the Washington D.C. area, CI #1 and CI #2 state that they had a meeting with Albert ELLIS at ELLIS residence in Great Falls, Virginia. ELLIS again reiterated that the present smuggling venture called for 2O-40 tons of Thai marijuana. CI #1 replied that as long as he got the necessary money, CI #1 would be able to purchase the 2O-40 tons of marijuana requested by ELLIS. ELLIS agreed that his organization would provide CI #1 and CI #2 approximately 2 million dollars with which to purchase the marijuana. Later in the evening, Gurujot KHALSA joined ELLIS and CI #1 and CI #2 at ELLIS residence and it was decided that ELLIS and KHALSA would come to Bangkok in January 1984. The following day, ELLIS related to CI #~ and CI #2 that ELLIS was presently working to obtain the boat for the proposed 2O-40 ton operation.
In the interim between the meeting in the Washington D.C. area in mid-November 1983, and ELLIS and KHALSAS visit to Bangkok in January 1984, CI #1 and CI #2 state that they received 1 million dollars from the ELLIS -KHALSA organization through an intermediary with which to purchase the marijuana.
In late January 1984, ELLIS and KHALSA traveled to Bangkok staying at the Oriental Hotel. On the second day of the visit, CI #1 states that he/she took ELLIS to Korat, Thailand to let ELLIS inspect the marijuana. Following CI #1 and ELLIS returned from Korat, CI #1 and CI #2 state that a meeting was held in the Oriental Hotel between CI #1, CI #2, ELLIS, and KHALSA. In addition to the marijuana being smuggled, KHALSA stated that he (KHALSA) wanted CI #1 to obtain assorted weapons including pistols with silencers, M-16 rifles, and a M-79 grenade launcher.
At another meeting involving only CI #1 and ELLIS, ELLIS stated that one boat had been obtained for the operation, and that ELLIS wanted to have the marijuana smuggled out of Thailand during April or May, 1984. CI #1 told ELLIS that nothing could occur until more money was received to purchase the marijuana. Soon after KHALSA and ELLIS returned to the United States, $500,000 more was received by CI #1 and CI #2 through the aforementioned intermediary.
In May 1984, CI #1 traveled to the U.S. at the request of ELLIS. ELLIS and CI #1 met in Malibu, CA where ELLIS explained that there were problems in obtaining more funding for the smuggling operation and that the boat which was to be used to transport the marijuana was not ready for use. CI #1 returned to Bangkok around May 25, 19514.
In the latter part of July 1954, CI #1 returned to the US. to meet with KHALSA and ELLIS. CI #1 was met by ELLIS at Dulles Airport in the Washington D.C. area where ELLIS then drove CI #1 to KHALSAS residence in Great Falls, Virginia. On the drive to KHALSAS residence, ELLIS told CI #1 that another boat had been obtained and was presently in Singapore. At KHALSAS residence, KHALSA again inquired whether CI #1 could obtain weapons as well as marijuana. Also at this meeting, ELLIS told CI #1 that more money would be sent to CI #1 and CI #2 by the end of August 1984.
In August 19814, CI #1 received $~300,000 more, which completed the necessary amount needed to purchase the marijuana.
CI #1 states that during December 1984 and January 1985, approximately 22 tons of Thai marijuana was loaded onto a "mother ship" off the coast of Thailand.
On April 9, 1985 the fishing vessel "Oregon Beaver" arrived in San Francisco Bay, where the U.S. Coast Guard seized the vessel and its cargo, approximately 22 tons of marijuana.
Soon after the seizure of the "Oregon Beaver", CI #1 states that he/she received a telephone call from ELLIS in which ELLIS stated that, as a result of the "Oregon Beaver seizure, he (ELLIS) wanted to do another load as soon as possible to recover losses resulting from the "Oregon Beaver seizure. ELLIS said that he (ELLIS) wanted to organize a 10-ton smuggling operation. CI #1 informed ELLIS that 10 tons of Thai marijuana would cost approximately $50,000$90,000 per ton.
During May and June 1985, CI #1 and CI #2 received $600,000 from the ELLIS organization towards the purchase of the ten tons of marijuana. However, in July 1955, ELLIS called CI #1 and stated that the operation needed to be put on hold as a result of ELLIS stating that bank accounts in Switzerland had been frozen, preventing the transfer of additional funds for the 10 ton marijuana purchase. CI #1 and CI #2 also state that other problems occurred preventing the smuggling operation from moving forward. CI #1 stated that in June 1956, ELLIS telephoned CI #1 and asked for assistance in obtaining a "mother ship."
Between February 27, 1987 and March l9, 1987, a series of recorded telephone calls between ELLIS and CI #2 occurs. On one occasion, (February 28, 1g57) CI #2 speaks telephonically with KHALSA. In that telephone conversation, CI #2 advises KHALSA that KHALSA and ELLIS should travel to Hong Kong and Bangkok, Thailand in March 1987. In summary, ELLIS recorded conversations with CI #2 centered on arranging the additional financing for the smuggling operation and to discuss the amount of marijuana to be smuggled. ELLIS explained on February 27, 1987 that he (ELLIS) was meeting with investors in regard to obtaining further financing. On February 28, 1957 ELLIS tells CI #2 that it would be wise to increase the amount of marijuana to be smuggled and that ELLIS would then have selling leverage. On March 19, 1987 ELLIS tells CI #2 that ELLIS expected to raise about $100,000 or $200,000 and is attempting to raise $350,000. On March 19, 1987 ELLIS and CI #2 discuss a "money swap" of $200,000 whereby CI #2 would receive $200,000 from the ELLIS organization through an intermediary in Hong Kong.
On March 24, 1987 KHALSA and ELLIS traveled to Hong Kong and met with CI #2 and the aforementioned intermediary. A meeting between the four individuals occurred in Hong Kong at which CI #2 was equipped with a concealed recording device. At this meeting, the money swap mentioned in paragraph 18 is again discussed.
On or about March 26, 1957 CI #1 and CI #2 state that ELLIS and KHALSA arrived in Bangkok, Thailand and remained in Bangkok until March 31, 1987. Over the course of the five days, numerous meetings between CI #1, CI #2, ELLIS and KHALSA occurred. Many of these meetings were recorded by CI #1, CI #2, or both of the Calls. These meetings determined the following important points:A. The "offloading" of marijuana would occur off the coast of British Columbia, Canada. B. CI #1 and CI #2 would definitely provide the mother ship." C. $600,000 in additional funds would be needed to acquire 10 tons of marijuana, $575,000 would be needed to acquire 20 tons. D. KHALSA requested CI #1 to locate various types of weapons that KHALSA wanted to purchase. E. Profit percentages for the trip would be 60% for ELLIS and KHALSA; 40% for CI #1 and CI #2. F. That $250,000 of the necessary $600,000 would be delivered to an associate of the aforementioned intermediary at which time, CI #2 would receive $250,000 (less a 5% commission charge) from the intermediary.
On April 22, 1987 CI #2 states that he/she received $235,500 in Hong Kong, at which time the money was given to DEA Special Agent Brad Morgan of the Hong Kong Country Office.
On May 12, 1957 DEA Special Agent Christopher Ogilvie advised your affiant that CI #1 introduced Agent Ogilvie, acting in an undercover capacity, to ELLIS and KHALSA at the Hyatt Regency, Embarcadero Center, San Francisco, CA. Previous to S/A Ogilvie being introduced to KHALSA and ELLIS, surveillance agents observed KHALSA and ELLIS meet with CI #1 in the lobby area of the Hyatt. Surveillance agents then observed ELLIS leave the Hyatt while CI #1 and KHALSA remained in the lobby area. A short while later, surveillance agents observed ELLIS reenter the Hyatt carrying a duffle bag. ELLIS joined KHALSA and CI #1, whereupon the three went to CI #1s hotel room and met S/A Ogilvie. ELLIS opened the duffle bag and proceeded to count out $350,000 in U.S. Currency for S/A Ogilvie. S/A Ogilvie then left the room with the $350,000.
On May 20, 1957 S/A Ogilvie, at the invitation of KHALSA, visited KHALSA at KHALSA Financial Services, Six Export Drive, Herndon, VA. At this meeting, KHALSA told S/A Ogilvie that the current marijuana smuggling venture was the project of Albert ELLIS, and that KHALSA was merely helping ELLIS. KHALSA related that he (KHALSA) worked for legitimate businesses, and that drug smuggling was just a sideline.
On or about August 29, 1987 CI #1 states that he/she telephoned ELLIS to tell ELLIS that the mother ship "Captain Hook," loaded with 20 tons of marijuana, was en route from Thailand to Canada.
On September 13, 1987 S/A Ogilvie and DEA S/A Bill Harper, acting in an undercover capacity, met with ELLIS at Khalsa Financial Services in Herndon, Virginia. ELLIS gave S/A Ogilvie an additional $50,000 in U.S. Currency that ELLIS expected would be transferred to CI #1 and CI #2 in furtherance of the present smuggling operation.
On September 23, 1987, at the instruction of DEA Special Agent Harold Mackenzie, CI #1 was instructed to contact KHALSA to inform KHALSA the mother ship Captain Hook" was waiting for the "off-load" vessels near Rattenbury Island, off the coast of British Columbia, Canada. CI #1 was instructed to have KHALSA pass this message to ELLIS.
On September 24, 1987 two vessels, one towing a houseboat, met up with the mother ship "Captain Hook" and began off-loading the anticipated cargo of 20 tons of Thai marijuana. At this time, the individuals participating in the off-loading were arrested by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and U.S Federal Law Enforcement Officers.
Based upon the above facts, there exists probable cause to believe that Albert ELLIS and Gurujot KHALSA (aka Robert A. Taylor) committed offenses against the United States, to wit, violations of Title 21 U.S.C. Sections 952 (a) (prohibiting the importation of controlled substances), 963 (prohibiting conspiracy to import controlled substance),and 8L18 (prohibiting the operation of a continuing criminal enterprise). Therefore, I request authorization to arrest Albert ELLIS and Gurujot KHALSA (aka Robert A. Taylor)
DATED: February 19, 1988
Subscribed and sworn before me
This 19th day, February 1988
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE
Frederick J. Woelflen
United States v. Khalsa
Magistrate No. 88-210-M
The evidence against defendant is very strong and includes the testimony of two informants who were initially co-conspirators at the Thailand end of the operation. They began cooperating after the arrest of CI#l. Neither CI has been promised immunity for its information, but CI#2 has received immunity for activities after March 1987.
According to the informants, they met with the defendant in February 1983, in Bangkok, Thailand, to arrange a $20 million shipment of marijuana to the United States. Eight tons of that shipment was confiscated in Thailand, but twelve tons managed to reach the United States. In July 1983, defendant, codefendant Ellis and the informants met in New York City to discuss finding investors and distributors for the marijuana. Ellis described the defendant as his partner in that meeting.
Throughout late 1983 and 1984, defendant made several trips to Thailand and Hong Kong to set up a 20 to 40 ton marijuana importation. The informants told defendant they would need $2 million front money. The defendant told them the money should be laundered in Hong Kong through a money launderer, Tom O'Donnell. Hotel records seized by DEA confirm defendants travels during this time period. Between November 1983 and January 1984, over $1 million was fronted. During one meeting with CI#l, defendant asked if CI#l could get him pistols with silencers, an M 79 grenade launcher and an M 50 caliber machine gun.
In July 1984, the parties met to discuss the informants needs for more front money. Defendant repeated his request for weapons at that time. On April 9, 1985, the Coast Guard off the San Francisco, California, coast seized the 22-ton Thai marijuana shipment being imported by defendants organization.
Defendants involvement with that shipment has been corroborated through discussions in late. March 1987, which the informants (who were no working for DEA) tape-recorded conversations in which defendant discussed the shipment seized by the Coast Guard.
A third marijuana shipment began to be discussed in the May-June, 1985 time period. The informants were given $600,000 front money. Shortly thereafter Ellis told them his Swiss accounts were frozen. On March 24, 1987, defendant met CI#2 and Tom O'Donnell in Hong Kong to discuss laundering the monies needed to fund the third shipment. During this meeting defendant discussed wholesale marijuana prices in Canada and the United States.
On May 12, 1987, Special Agent Ogilvie (DEA) was introduced to defendant at a hotel room in a Hyatt Hotel in San Francisco. Codefendant Ellis counted out $350,000 cash that Special Agent Ogilvie was to take to Thailand to fund the third shipment. In July 1987, defendant and Special Agent Ogilvie again met in San Francisco. Defendant wanted Special Agent Ogilvie to invest in Khalsa Financial Services, but did not want drug transaction proceeds going directly into it. He told Special Agent Ogilvie to invest his money first in shell corporations and then transfer the money into Khalsa Financial Services.
On September 23, 1987, an undercover agent on the mother ship (which apparently was now a DEA sting-type operation) called defendant and told him to alert Ellis to arrange for off loading it off the coast of Canada. Twenty-four hours later two boats arrived. Authorities arrested the off loaders.
Defendant proffered that he was born in Altoona, Pennsylvania, and is an American citizen. Since 1974 he has been the spiritual and business leader of a Sikh community in the Washington, D.C., area. In 1976 he set up the Shakti Corporation which manufactures shoes and office supplies. He also set up Kriya Systems, Inc., which produces well-known instructional programs. Lastly, he runs Khalsa Financial Services. Defendant is married and has three children. They live in a home owned by the Sikh community, but he also owns real property in Virginia.
Each member of defendants Sikh community has offered to put up their home as surety for defendants appearances.
Defendant also offered to file his passport with the court.
Lastly, defendant offered the testimony of James Richard Wiggins, who is presently a Special Agent with the United States Customs Service and was previously with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms for fifteen years. He met the defendant three years ago and said he did not believe the defendant posed a threat to the community. When asked whether he would change his opinion after learning that the defendant tried to obtain a grenade~ launcher and firearms with silencers, he said it might.
Although the defendant is the leader of a recognized religious group, the court believes that this status does not overcome the rebuttable presumption that there is no condition or set of conditions which can reasonably assure his presence at further proceedings as directed. This defendant has strong ties to a foreign country. Specifically, the Sikh religion is headquartered in Punjab, India, to which the defendant has traveled. The defendant has traveled frequently from coast to coast in this country and extensively throughout the world. He has had access to millions of dollars in cash, he is familiar with money laundering techniques and there is evidence he has used some of his Sikh businesses (Khalsa Financial Services) as part of his illegal drug activities. Codefendant Ellis is presently a fugitive.
The defendant faces very significant incarceration if convicted.
As for the danger this defendant poses to the community, the evidence established his high-level involvement in a major international drug smuggling conspiracy that has resulted in thousands of pounds of marijuana getting into the United States. He has also on more than one occasion tried to purchase paramilitary-military type weapons. Although defendant argues that no such weapons were found when he was arrested, that fact does not erase
From the court consideration the grave threat to public safety presented by even the attempt to obtain such lethal weapons.