Support our mission
 
(Wikicommons)

(Tribune News Service) — A Washington man who accepted a plea for his part in mailing packages of LSD, ecstasy, and cannabis at least once a week to dealers in Hawaii catering to active duty military members rescheduled his sentencing hearing Tuesday, postponing the court's judgment until next month.

Starting sometime in 2017, Devin Joseph Vassallo used an encrypted communications platform and his Snapchat profile, "dabbindevin, " to set up illegal drug shipments to Hawaii using the U.S. Postal Service, according to documents filed in U.S. District Court-District of Hawaii.

Vassallo accepted a plea agreement from the U.S. Department of Justice on May 19 and will be sentenced on a single count of possession with the intent to distribute one gram or more of a mixture or substance containing lysergic acid diethylamide, commonly known as LSD.

On Tuesday, Vassallo appeared via telephone before U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson for sentencing but changed his mind several times when asked if he was OK to proceed by phone.

"I've heard three different things in the span of 30 seconds ... I have no idea, quite honestly, what you wish," said Watson, speaking in court. "You tell me sir, how you want to proceed."

Eventually, Vassallo asked the court if he could appear by video.

"I feel like I would rather see you face to face," said Vassallo, by phone from Washington.

His sentencing was rescheduled for November.

In a July 18 Facebook post, Vassallo issued a public request for support.

"I have been instructed to collect as many character letters as I can for the judge. For those of you that know me, if you would like to write one it would be much appreciated to the core. Respect, peace, and many blessings," read the post on his page.

Vassallo's attorney, Marc Victor, declined comment. Assistant U.S. Attorney Mohammad Khatib, who is prosecuting the case, also did not immediately respond to questions about the matter.

By accepting the government's offer, DOJ did not prosecute Vassallo for conspiracy, which carries a mandatory minimum of 10 years in federal prison. Vassallo faces between 5 and 40 years in prison and up to a $5 million fine.

In September 2019, a confidential source with the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations learned that a man named Austin White was using Snapchat to advertise and sell drugs to active duty members of the military.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration viewed public stories on White's Snapchat profile of what appeared to be cocaine, LSD, ecstasy, and cannabis, including one photo where White posed with a gun and money, according to court documents.

The DEA set up a series of drug buys in Hawaii with White, and learned that his source was a man named Trevor Keegan. Between December 2019 and the summer of 2020 the DEA used Snapchat to buy $4,100 worth of watercolor-paper LSD tabs and LSD gummies from White.

The DEA searched Keegan's home and confiscated mushrooms, vials of liquid LSD, LSD tablets and drug paraphernalia used to help process the drugs for consumption.

During an interview with agents, Keegan identified Vassallo as the person who would mail him packages of drugs starting in 2017. Vassallo would send at least 200 doses of LSD, an ounce of ecstasy, and 3 pounds of cannabis per month to Keegan. Keegan would then mail cash to a P.O. box maintained by Vassallo's roommate in Washington.

Keegan also told federal agents that Vassallo kept a Glock handgun in his closet.

Investigators reviewed months of Signal communications describing drug transactions, a seized parcel and other activity, according to the plea agreement. DEA agents used Keegan's Signal account to set up an LSD shipment to Hawaii. In June 2020, agents arrested Vassallo and executed a search warrant on his home.

They seized a shotgun, a derringer pistol, $17, 054 in cash, drug paraphernalia and liquid and powdered forms of LSD.

Vassallo told investigators the shotgun was for protection from a heroin dealer who lived down the street.

(c)2021 The Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Visit The Honolulu Star-Advertiser at www.staradvertiser.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Justice

stars and stripes videos

around the web

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up