GREENVILLE, SC (WSPA) – Two people accused of distributing the drug “Pink” were arraigned in federal court Thursday morning.
Theodore Vitaliy Khleborod, 28, and Ana Milena Barrero, 24, are charged with conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute and to distribute U-47700, a schedule I substance.
Barrero has been charged with using the U.S. Mail to facilitate a drug felony.
Khleborod and Barrero face up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine if found guilty.
Investigators say pregnancy tests, handmade labels and a postage mishap led them to the Greenville pair that stands accused of trafficking the drug “pink.”
The defense attorney for Barrera said that she was dating Khleborod and that is how she became involved in the court system.
Her attorney said she had never been in trouble before.
She and her family are from Colombia and came here to escape political prosecution, according to her attorney.
Barrero’s attorney said her parents worked as attorneys in Bogota, but fled to the U.S. with their family 10 years ago, because Colombia drug traffickers were trying to kill them. They say she’s a naturalized citizen.
Khleborod is also a naturalized U.S. citizen, originally from Moldova.
Josh Kendrick, the attorney representing Barrero, said “This is a really close knit family and they come from a lot of adversity. They came here from another country to come build a new life. Ms. Barerro has never been in trouble before and this is a surprise to her family and to her. And I think that the fact that she has that support will be very helpful because she knows she has people behind her.”
Paul Criswell, an agent with the Homeland Security Investigations Unit, says they connected 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.
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.
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