GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA-TV) – Investigators say pregnancy tests, handmade labels and a postage mishap led them to a Greenville pair that now stands accused of trafficking the drug “pink.”
Theodore Khleborod and Ana Barerro were back before a federal judge, Monday. That judge had to decide if the duo would get bond or sit in prison until trial.
Monday’s preliminary hearing centered around the testimony of Special Agent Paul Criswell with the Homeland Security Investigations Unit. Connecting the dots from Portland – and the February death of a teen due to an overdose on “pink – to her accused suppliers back in Greenville, centers around key items found in the girl’s apartment.
First, the parcel with a phony Greenville address in which the drugs were shipped. Next, a clear plastic bag holding the white powder with a computer generated label noting the clinical name, U-47700. Lastly, a pregnancy test used as a decoy that testimony revealed hid the drugs during shipment.
Store cameras captured Barrero buying the same pregnancy tests and other decoy items at a Greenville dollar tree. The other items were found in the couple’s apartment.
Investigators say Khleborod was the ring leader, with he and girlfriend, Barrero, sending hundreds of parcels through the US Mail.
More than 135 packages were seized during last week’s raid, as well as $63,000 in cash and between 9 and 12 kilograms of the drug. But the investigator’s testimony also revealed it would have been hard to track down the pair had Khleborod not gotten “sloppy.”
They said he mailed an item to his family with his real address at the same time he was sending drug parcels with the fake one. It led HSI and the Postal Service right to them.
Ultimately, a judge said the pair posed a flight risk and said there was too much danger to the public.
Testimony revealed that, in addition to the Portland overdose death, they are currently investigating an Upstate overdose death that may also be linked to the couple.
Monday, Barrero’s attorney explained that she was a naturalized citizen, originally from Colombia. He said her parents worked as attorneys in Bogota, but fled to the US with their family ten years ago, because Colombia drug traffickers were trying to kill them. Barrero’s mother wept openly on the floor of the courtroom as her daughter was taken back to federal hold, accused of facilitating drug trafficking.
Khleborod is a naturalized US citizen, originally from Maldova. Neither spoke in court, Monday.