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Post date: April 14 2005

Cyber Gangs Charged With Internet Drug Trafficking

Attorney General Spitzer today announced the breakup of multiple rings of drug traffickers that illegally supplied narcotics and other highly addictive controlled substances without prescriptions over the internet.

"There is no difference between peddling such drugs on a street corner or via the Internet," Spitzer said. "Sales of these drugs without prescriptions are wrong and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."

As a result of the investigation, eight defendants have been charged in Erie County, in three separate cases, for selling controlled substances such as Valium, codeine and Darvon, and narcotics such as morphine and Hydrocodone from websites they created and maintained and then arranging for their delivery in New York.

Charged in the first case were:

Luke Amoresano, 30, of Lake Mary, Florida.;
Dale Frohman, 23, and his company, Spiderhost, Inc. based in Orlando, Florida;
Michael Paschon, 30, of Manchester, New Jersey; and
Ryan Byrtus, 25, of St. Mary's, Florida.

Amoresano pleaded guilty to charges of Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Fourth Degree, a "C" felony; Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Fifth Degree, a "D" felony; and Conspiracy in the Third Degree, an "E" felony. Amoresano will receive a determinate term of between 2 and 6 years imprisonment when he is sentenced on May 11, 2005.

Frohman pleaded guilty to Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Fifth Degree, a class "D" felony, and Spiderhost Inc. pleaded guilty to Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, a class "B" felony. Frohman and Spiderhost will be sentenced on June 1, 2005. Frohman faces a maximum sentence of 2 1/3 to 7 years; and the corporation could receive a fine of up to $10,000.

Paschon has been charged with Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, a class "B" felony; Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Fifth Degree, a class "D" felony; and Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, a class "E" felony. He pleaded not guilty. He was released on $5,000 bail, and faces a maximum sentence of 8 1/3 to 25 years. Byrtus was charged with Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree. He pled not guilty and was released on his own recognizance and faces a maximum sentence of 1 1/3 to 4 years.

In the second case, two Rochester men, Mark Caron and Rohn Wallace, both 38, were charged with two counts of Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Fifth Degree and Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree for illegal sales of codeine from websites they operated.

In the third case, Seung Jun Brian Hong, 26, of New Orleans, Louisiana, was charged with Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the First Degree, and Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Second Degree, both "A" felonies, and Conspiracy in the Second Degree, a class "B" felony. He pled not guilty. Hong is alleged to have sold the highly addictive narcotic Hydrocodone to undercover investigators. He faces a sentence of imprisonment of up to 25 years to life.

The charges pending against Byrtus, Paschon, Caron, Wallace and Hong are merely accusations and these defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Attorney General Spitzer acknowledged the participation of other law enforcement agencies who assisted in the investigation, including Sheriff Donald F. Eslinger of the Seminole County Sheriff's Department (Florida), Chief Robert Merchant of the Altamonte Springs Police Department (Florida), Vaughn L. McKoy, Director of the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice, and Colonel Henry Whitehorn, Superintendent of the Louisiana State Police. The seized electronic evidence has been subject to analysis by the Western New York Regional Computer Forensic Laboratory.

The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant Attorneys General Cydney A. Kelly and Paul F. McCarthy of the Criminal Prosecutions Bureau under the supervision of Deputy Bureau Chief Viola I. Abbitt. Supervising Investigator James L. Domres and Senior Investigator Michael G. McCartney of the Attorney General's Investigations Bureau conducted the investigation under the supervision of Deputy Chief James Horton.