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Leroux Gets 25 Years As Meth Warlord Despite Cooperation Amid Talk of Bitcoin Mining

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - The Source

SDNY COURTHOUSE, June 12 – Paul Calder Leroux was born in then-Rhodesia in 1972. He was arrested in Liberia in 2012 and tried to bribe law enforcement to release him. It didn't work, and he turned into a cooperator with the US Department of Justice.  

    On June 12 Judge Ronnie Abrams of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York held a sentencing proceeding for Leroux. Inner City Press live tweeted it:

Judge Abrams: Is it true Mr Leroux has agreed to be extradited to the Philippines on murder charges for a maximum sentence of 12 years?

AUSA: I don't know.

 Next discussion turned to "leaks" and a forthcoming Michael Mann movie about Leroux. "Discovery was uploaded to YouTube." Angry reference to a child called a "beady eyed baby" and what he said during sex.  Well. This is some sentencing.  "There are descriptions of Mr. Leroux setting up an FTP server for Iranian officials to research weapons." Now the prosecutors say the leaks were regrettable, defense counsel says.

Defense: The leaks *created* the public interest in the case. The DEA agents just wanted to sell their stories. "No one had every heard of Mr. Leroux. He was no Pablo Escobar. It was the leaks. This will discourage cooperators."

Judge Abrams: Mr Chabrowe, wait a minute. We're here to sentence a very violent criminal. Chabrowe: I was just getting to that.

AUSA: I can't say he poses no risk of recidivism.  And yesterday's letter that he'll go into Bitcoin mining gives pause. Those business could be operated legally. But crypto currency is a hot topic in law enforcement, for money laundering. It's not a comfort.

  Inner City Press has tweeted that section of the letter, here. Much of the docket is sealed - for now.

 Leroux: I'd like to apologize to the court. I have no words to describe my conduct. I have mental health issues here at GEO. Anxiety, depression, PTSD... I stay awake at night.

Leroux: I was arrested on non-violent drug charges. I don't want to run from my crimes, I want to do my time.... "Catherine Lee cannot get full justice in the US, only in the Philippines."

Leroux: About bitcoin mining, I have an electronics background. I have to do something There are criminals in every business. I intend to follow the regulations.

Judge Abrams: What did the government know about his violence, before offering him a cooperation deal?

AUSA: "The murders in the Philippines were a subject of public reporting. US law enforcement was aware, but it wasn't sufficient to charge."

 Judge Abrams: The only people I have sentenced to life are members of Leroux' mercenary crew - a murder ordered by Mr. Leroux.

Judge Abrams: Why shouldn't Leroux get a life sentence? Well, he cooperated. He tried to bribe Liberian law enforcement - but once that didn't work, he cooperated.

 Judge Abrams: We have to incentivize cooperation. But how much benefit should Mr. Leroux get? Leroux "tried to reverse engineer it from North Korea to Iran... He tried to be a warlord in Somalia." This is not your average cooperator. He presents a grave danger... There was his childhood in "war torn Zimbabwe." Then there were the leaks to the press...

  In the court's view he must get a significant sentence, to deter him. I am ready. You are committed to the custody of BOP for 25 years.

Judge Abrams: This is the longest sentence I have ever imposed on a cooperating witness. 

Inner City Press question: Will he ever be extradited to the Philippines? Or do Bitcoin mining? 

Judge Abrams: Mr Leroux, you have a right to appeal except to the extent you agreed to waive your right to appeal. You could go in forma pauperis. Any open counts? No.  We are adjourned.

The cases are US v. Leroux, 12-cr-489 and 14-cr-75 (Abrams).


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