Let’s continue to build the case: Slabbed takes a second look back at USA v Sibley as we make more connections

Last month Slabbed reintroduced William “Hugh” Sibley to the reading public and the response that post received has been fantastic. In fact it was a media inquiry that I received today that serves as the catalyst for this post.  To get started though I want to make sure everyone is on the same page so here is an except from my Sibley reintroduction:

So why do I bring up news Slabbed covered in 2009? Sweet serendipity that’s why. Sources familiar with the Sibley’s law practice indicate to Slabbed that while Sibley was Fayard’s political go to guy, Nipun “Nick” Desai was Sibley’s right hand man. Desai, a one time college exchange student from East India that graduated from LSU in 1996, reportedly parlayed the association with Sibley into a real estate empire that stretches across Louisiana and includes the now fabled Super 8 Motel on Clearview Parkway.

This is important because Desai is a bit of a mystery man.  You see folks multiple sources have indicated to Slabbed that Desai was arrested on a cocaine distribution charge somewhere between 2008 and 2010 yet we’ve been unable to uncover anything on the arrest or the case itself as it does not show in the Federal Court Database PACER nor is there a Louisiana state record that we can find.  Desai is a big mystery but we solved some of it here.

Tackling this topic entails a bit of a gut check folks, given the people and organizations involved in the Sibley affair.  For instance, the lead defendant in the Sibley prosecution was Gustavo Jorge Arévalo Kessler.  Here is a snippet from the Hispanic News Network Blog that mentions Kessler:

Last Wednesday, Jorge Gustavo Arévalo Kessler, 43, was extradited to the U.S. from Mexico to face money laundering, and cocaine trafficing federal charges in Texas. Kessler originally from Heidelberg, Germany, but living in Mexico transported tons of cocaine from Venezuela, Colombia, Mexico and eventually ending up in the U.S.

The indictment states, Kessler between Dec. 2002 to June 2003 transported tons of cocaine by private plane and a Boeing 727, transported cash abroad, and as a high ranking member of a Mexican drug cartel, he directed where the money would be deposited to various bank accounts.

Kessler was arrested by Mexican federal authorities on April 7, 2008 in Mexico City. He worked for the criminal organization headed by Antonio Aguilar (real name Pedro Antonio Bermúdez Suazo), aka “El Arquitecto,” or “El Jefe” in Mexico.

Kessler was extradited to the U.S. on Feb. 24, 2010 by the law enforcement coordination efforts between the U.S. Marshals Service, the Ministry Federal Police, and Mexican INTERPOL with the Attorney’s General Office (PGR).

Kessler is not just your average drug kingpin though as this translated excerpt from the website Contra Linea indicates:

In his ministerial statement, Gustavo Jorge Arévalo Kessler, 43-year-old native of Heidelberg, Germany, son of Jorge Arevalo Gardoqui, who in turn was the brother of former Secretary of National Defense Juan Arevalo Gardoqui-, confessed to participating in moving drugs from South America to Mexico, and to carry cash abroad.

Or even better as put in an email I received today:

Mr. Kessler, the nephew of a long-time Mexican Secretary of Defense, was the personal pilot of former Mexican President Carlos Salinas. When he was busted, the plane he was flying was a Gulfstream II (former registration N914MH) which was part of an extensive, many-tentacled scandal during the 1990’s involving US Forest Service planes intended for firefighting use being diverted into CIA covert drug running operations, the most spectacular example being a C130 busted on a runway at Mexico City’s Intl Airport with a billion dollars worth of cocaine on-board.

Now normally I’ll grant most people who talk about Woodsie the Owl running drugs would be dismissed as crackpots, but sure enough it happened folks thanks to whistleblower Gary Eitel.  Turns out after the Iran-Contra Affair the government remained in the drug smuggling business. Lest I digress.

So what does all this have to do with USA v Sibley?  Besides giving greater background on the people Sibley was in business with, it also gives me an opportunity to refresh everyone on the case and charges against him as we revisit Slabbed’s post Get set for new details about the jet set. Emergent details in the Government’s case against Hugh Sibley:

In an August 2006 indictment against Snider, federal prosecutors identify eight business aircraft used in the leasing scheme. One of them is the same jet that federal prosecutors in Houston identified as being used by the drug ring with which Sibley was involved, federal court and aviation records show.

Though the indictments of Snider and Sibley are nearly two years apart, they identify the same model of business jet with the same tail number.

According to the indictments against Sibley and Snider, the twin-turbo jet Aero Commander was used to move $3.15 million to the Panama City, Panama, airport in late October 2002.

The conspiracy spelled out in the May 2008 indictment against Sibley, drug ringleader Alejandro Flores-Cacho and three others involved transactions and drop-offs of cash across the Southern and Southwestern United States totaling nearly $11.7 million.

In at least some cases, the drop-offs were carried out by aircraft.

Prosecutors in Tulsa and a spokeswoman with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, which investigated the Snider case, declined to comment on any connection between Sibley’s and Snider’s cases.

To this day it is fair to say people still think there is a connection between Sibley and Lee R. Snider but that is not where my interest lies in this saga per se. You see folks, sourcing that cocaine distribution charge against Desai has been my goal.  I wish I could report I’ve found Desai’s case but I can report multiple sources tell Slabbed that Desai is being represented in the matter by Greensburg area attorney David Opperman. Opperman is a one time law associate of Sibley but the thing that makes no sense at all is how an assistant district attorney in the 7th Judicial District can represent a criminal defendant in a cocaine distribution case? It makes no sense as doing so, at the minimum, would endanger Opperman’s job.  There is still lost of questions in this area I  can’t answer though my sources are insisting Opperman is representing Desai in his drug case. (Please see update to this post)

Undeterred though, I set about running search strings and searching the Secretary of State Database. What I found was enlightening.

Longvue Properties LLC was formed in 1998, 2 years after Desai graduated from LSU with he and Sibley listed as officers.  It lists Sibley’s office address in Greensburg as the registered offices.  Desai has several LLC’s registered out of Sibley’s office such as Omega Medical Staffing, LLC. The previously discussed Train Car LLC is the oddball in the bunch as its registered address is listed as the St Helena Parish Sheriff Office address. Continuing the search using Desai’s reputed attorney David Opperman also leads straight back to the Sibley Law Firm as he set up multiple business using Sibley’s office address including Point to Point of Louisiana, Inc. and RJO Consulting LLC.  I also noted both of Opperman’s LLCs bearing his name as dissolved but neither uses an address I could connect to Sibley.

The importance of this exercise in database searching is to generate further search strings and when I put Longvue Properties LLC through Google I hit a winner.  And that winner was a comment left here on Slabbed last month that is worth its weight in gold: The court case styled Parrott v Dallas Airmotive, Inc. et al.

Let’s set up the players in this case that was filed in 2006 around the time that Snider fellow was indicted for drug offenses in Oklahoma:

The Plaintiffs:
Williamson “Bill” Parrott and his wife:  Sources familiar with Hugh Sibley and this case indicate Parrott was Sibley’s pilot.

The Defendants:
Dallas Airmotive: Unrelated deep pocket defendant
Longvue Properties LLC:  LLC owned by Nick Desai and High Sibley
Gulf South Aviation, LLC: Owned by Hugh Sibley and Williamson “Bill” Parrott
Raytheon: Unrelated deep pocket defendant
Pratt and Whitney: Unrelated deep pocket defendant
GE Capital: Unrelated deep pocket defendant
Sage Capital: Unrelated deep pocket defendant

No, you’re not confused, Parrott, was in essence, suing himself.  Representing Parrott (the plaintiffs) was Calvin Fayard’s law firm. Representing Desai, Sibley and Parrott (The defendant) business interests is our old friend Elizabeth “Tuppy” Doughtery along with Sibley. Sources tell Slabbed Doughtery was working out of Fayard’s office at the time the suit was filed.

After the suit was filed, Longvue Properties and Gulf South Aviation submitted their answer to the suit and asserted cross claims against all the other non related defendants thus creating a scenario whereby the defendants were not only suing themselves but also the other defendants! Filed in St Helena Parish Sibley and Fayard had the best venue for home cooking the suit but Sibley got in money laundering trouble and the suit has taken a bad turn for Tuppy.  At this point we need to examine a snippet from a pleading in the case that explains what Longvue and Gulf South Aviation were all about:

So there you have it folks, Desai and Sibley owned the aircraft while Parrott and Sibley operated the aircraft. Again worth pointing out is Desai was 2 years out of college when he and Sibley formed Longvue. But this suit was in respects an illusion as sources indicate to Slabbed that Sibley was deeply in debt to Harrah’s casino in 2006 and was behind in his payments on the aircraft which in turn provided the catalyst to file the suit.

So we have Longvue Properties owning aircraft tail #N30PH.  At this point we need to note the aircraft piloted by Jorge Gustavo Arevalo-Kessler bears tail #N382AA and has not flown since January 2002.  All the acts involved with the money laundering were perpetrated in 2002 and 2003.  Kessler’s plane though had quite the year in 2002 though as this (poorly) translated excerpt from the Spanish language news website El Nuevo Diario indicates:

Police alert is based on the October 28 this year at the international airport of El Salvador were arrested the widow of Guatemalan Marioco Karina Toledo, Nohemí Elvia Rivera and Elizabeth Lopez 731 000 $ 900 stuck to their bodies.

Police information says that the detainees wanted to leave El Salvador to Costa Rica and then to Ecuador. “Karina is the former wife Toleda Cartel Cock of Guatemala and will be processed with Elvia and Nohemí by laundering offenses, criminal associations and other charges.”

The report adds that on 12 November in Panama was a raid on the aircraft N382AA, owned by the Mexican company Transportes Executives Unlimited Aries, achieving seize 23 packages of American banknotes of various denominations which together totaled $ 3,150,000 , which were hidden in the area of reservoir tanks of the aircraft.

“That aircraft arrived in the Chiriqui province last October 27 and the next day moved to Panama City before suffering a crash landing at the airport, so it remained under repair when the operation took place,” said the Police.

And we have this tantalizing tidbit from the Sibley indictment:

I wonder who nabbed that money? At this point we need to review:

In 2002 and 2003 Hugh Sibley was helping a Mexican drug cartel launder over $11 million dollars. In 1998 Sibley and Nipun “Nick” Desai form a LLC that a later civil suit reveals was used to hold aircraft that were used by Mr Sibley. Desai in the meantime goes from being an exchange student to a local real estate tycoon in 9 years, purchasing the Super 8 Motel on Clearview Parkway in the days leading up to Hurricane Katrina.  Aaron Broussard and Danny Abel act as Desai’s staff attorneys at the Super 8 Motel but before I drop the bombs we need to visit with the guy I said earlier did not interest me “per se” Lee R. Snider, the money laundering felon that was mentioned in the Advocate’s reporting on the Sibley arrest.  Here is another snippet:

Sibley’s case has a link to an earlier federal prosecution involving Broken Arrow, Okla., businessman Lee R. Snider, a defendant who is awaiting sentencing on June 26 in U.S. District Court in Tulsa, Okla., records show.

In January 2007, Snider pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy to launder money in connection with a scheme to buy and lease aircraft for the transport of illegal drugs and cash and to hide who was leasing the planes, court records show.

In an August 2006 indictment against Snider, federal prosecutors identify eight business aircraft used in the leasing scheme. One of them is the same jet that federal prosecutors in Houston identified as being used by the drug ring with which Sibley was involved, federal court and aviation records show.

Though the indictments of Snider and Sibley are nearly two years apart, they identify the same model of business jet with the same tail number.

According to the indictments against Sibley and Snider, the twin-turbo jet Aero Commander was used to move $3.15 million to the Panama City, Panama, airport in late October 2002.

It is fair to deduce that Snider led the feds to Sibley and Sibley’s own aircraft holding businesses given the earlier indictment though worth noting is Sibley got the far better plea deal. Who is Lee Snider? He was the CEO of a pink sheet company The Berkshire Collection. You reckon Lee had an evil master plan?

TULSA, Okla. and FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla., June 22, 2004 (PRIMEZONE) — Berkshire Collection Inc. (Pink Sheets:BKRCF) has successfully completed a merger agreement with Eagle Aero Holdings Corp. Headquartered in Tulsa, Oklahoma with offices in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Eagle Aero Holdings plans to acquire developmental regional carriers in the United States and Caribbean.

Subsequently, upon completion of certain contractual obligations, Mr. Robert Doherty will resign as Chief Executive Officer, and Lee R. Snider has accepted the CEO position, as well as the Chairman of the Board. Mr. Snider is an industry professional with over 21 years in the aviation industry.

This brings me back to Danny Abel’s his business partners Charles Leary and Vaughn Perret who advertised what appears to be money laundering /tax evasion services via the Costa Rica Company Cerro Coyote SA, which Aaron Broussard sold shares in to politically connected parish contractors like Carl Eberts dating to the late 1990s.  Abel and Broussard were the “legal department” at Desai’s Super 8 Motel.  Desai, via his parents, also owns property at the Trout Point Resort in Nova Scotia along with a bevy of highly politically connected Louisianans, the Lodge itself at the resort being owned by Abel, Leary and Perret.  The resort has been mentioned in Federal Court filings as a bribery conduit for Broussard, an allegation to which he copped a plea.  In light of a couple of new friends that I have made over the past couple of months and all the ties the gang has to each other that literally span the world, it did not surprise me when sources familiar with the operations of the legal department at the Super 8 Motel disclosed to Slabbed that Desai was a frequent traveler to Costa Rica and his visits included stops at the Inn at Coyote Mountain aka Cerro Coyote SA.

Of course there is more so please stay tuned because Slabbed is on the verge of breaking this bad boy wide open. Oh boys……

9 thoughts on “Let’s continue to build the case: Slabbed takes a second look back at USA v Sibley as we make more connections”

  1. Bill Parrot was the pilot who flew many donors to and from the big Hillary Clinton fundraiser Calvin Fayard held at his Seaside, Florida home back in 2000.

    I often wondered how the New Orleans law firms representing the deep pockets in the Parrott case could be so blind to what was going on in that case.

  2. I would be happy to discuss this with you, Mr. Handshoe. I tried reaching you this evening at a telephone number I found for your office online. I got a recording that your mailbox is full. The number at the district attorney’s office is (318) 336-5528.

    1. I tried emailing you Mr Opperman at the address you left with your comment and it was returned. I guess we are snakebit.

      Please email me so we can arrange a time to chat. Thank you.

  3. Incroyable and all you other anons, I listed my telephone number at the district attorney’s office. (318) 336-5526. Call, and I will talk to you, too. My only condition will be that you identify yourself, as I have done. David Opperman

  4. Doug, I thank you, very much, for the correction you have made regarding my representing Nick. If I may, I would like to suggest two other corrections: First, I suggest that no where in the offense reports in Nick’s case is there a reference to 80 grams of cocaine in the manager’s suite. If you have read such a reference, I would be very much obliged to you if you would correct my thinking and point out to me where you read that entry. Second, the JPSO reports suggest an offense date in Nick’s case of July 2008. If my memory serves, Mr. Sibley’s indictment alleged conduct back in 2002 to 2003, so I believe there is no overlap or connection between the allegations against Nick and Mr. Sibley, unless my memory is faulty regarding the dates of the allegations against Mr. Sibley, whom I also consider a friend, despite his past difficulties. Mr. Sibley always treated me well (almost as a son, really). I do not ingore what he has been through, but I remain his loyal friend, as I know that if he truly did involve himself in things he should have avoided, he kept it all from me and, thereby, protected me from it. Again, I thank you. Please call on me any time I may be of service to you. David Opperman

  5. Holy Heavenly Hidden Hoes Batman:

    Dis’ is by far yo’ best sleuthing effort to date.

    Does you Tink “The Virginian” can connect da’ dots dat you have made?

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