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The use of the celebrity names drew the attention of customs agents and led to the eventual takedown of a drug ring.

A Michigan father and son convicted for their alleged roles in a large-scale ecstasy distribution and manufacturing ring took what may have seemed—at least, to them—a unique approach to disguising their identities in order to reportedly purchase drugs and related paraphernalia for their alleged operation. Federal officials claim that they used the names of celebrities like Tim Allen and Tracy Morgan as aliases.

Sylvester Boston Sr., and Sylvester Boston Jr., were sentenced to eight and nine years, respectively, in federal prison for their alleged participation in the drug ring, which they are accused of operating from a computer store on Detroit’s west side.

The Bostons reportedly used the comedians’ names to order a pill press from China, but claimed that the aliases and burner phones used to place the orders were used for privacy reasons. Sylvester Boston, Jr., has denied the charges, claiming that he and his father sold energy-boosting pills, not illegal narcotics.

The investigation, which was led by agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), began in 2013 when Customs and Border Protection officers seized an industrial pill press from China with fraudulent labels for shipment—specifically, Tracy Morgan’s name was written on the receipt.

But the Bostons’ alleged use of celebrity names only drew the attention of customs agents, who opened a package addressed to Tim Allen and found BZP, a Schedule I drug and component in some ecstasy tablets which reportedly produces similar stimulation or hallucinogenic effects as MDMA.

HSI agents, with the assistance of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Michigan State Police and the Detroit Police Department began observing the Bostons’ business, S&B Computer Repairs, and used wiretaps to record the father and son reportedly placing orders for drugs and related paraphernalia on disposable cell phones.

According to the investigation, the Bostons reportedly manufactured the pills using the press and hid them in potato chip bags, which were intercepted by federal agents.

A raid was conducted on the Bostons’ store in 2014, and agents confiscated drugs, the pill press, multiple weapons and a bulletproof vest. In addition to the Bostons, seven other individuals were convicted for their role in the pill operation, and six received sentences ranging from two to seven-and-a-quarter years, with one individual sentenced as time served.

In an interview with Detroit’s WDIV Local 4 station, Boston Jr., denied the charges levied against him, claiming that the pills he sold were legal, “caffeine-based” supplements, and blamed his conviction on several factors, including another individual whom he claimed was “part of the Iraq mafia,” an informant who confused his father whom Boston said suffered from schizophrenia; and his own attorney, whom he said forced him to agree to the plea deal that resulted in his nine-year sentence.

“They pretty much ignore facts,” said Boston Jr.

View the original article at thefix.com

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