Alleged Ecstasy
importer caught

False addresses on a customs form
tip off drug investigators

By Genevieve A. Suzuki

An incorrectly filled-out customs form, including a false sender for a package from England, led to the arrest of a Honolulu man who was allegedly importing thousands of Ecstasy pills.

Daniel W. Vandervort was charged in U.S. District Court yesterday with attempting to import 3,000 pills of the controlled substance MDMA, commonly known as the senses-heightening drug Ecstasy, often associated with teen dance clubs, into the United States.

In an affidavit, Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent Richard Jones said a British law enforcement investigation led to Vandervort's arrest after the customs declaration form for a package from Nigel Williams Rare Books was filled out incorrectly at Business Post Depot in Essex, England.

When Business Post Depot employees called Nigel Williams Rare Books, they were told no one at the book company had sent such a package.

Jones said Business Post Depot personnel then opened the package to find a hollowed-out book containing 3,000 Ecstasy pills.

Business Post Depot contacted British law enforcement personnel who took possession of the parcel, which was then sent to DEA officials in Hawaii for delivery by undercover agents.

The package was to be sent via Federal Express to Mrs. Linda K. Lee of Aloha Gymnastics at 2401 Kula Kolea Place in Kalihi Valley, according to Jones.

When the Star-Bulletin called yesterday for Linda Lee at Aloha Gymnastics World, 1314 Moonui St. in lower Kalihi, its employees said no one by that name works there. Aloha Gymnastics World has no apparent connection to the case.

On Nov. 25, an agent posing as a Federal Express deliveryman delivered the package to the Kula Kolea Place address, and Vandervort signed for it, Jones said.

The package also contained a beeper, or electronic signaling device, Jones said.

Jones said Vandervort indicated to the undercover agent that he knew about the package's contents. When asked about the whereabouts of Lee, Vandervort said she was at Aloha Gymnastics, according to Jones.

Vandervort then left with a red duffel bag containing the package and drove to Ala Moana Center, where he was arrested about 30 minutes later, Jones said.

Agents found in Vandervort's wallet a business card with the Federal Express account number to which the shipping charge for the package was billed, Jones said.

Federal Express records showed that in August it delivered another package billed to the same account from Nigel Williams in England to Mrs. Linda K. Lee of Aloha Gymnastic World at 2401 Kula Kolea Place, Jones said.

Agents also found Vandervort's U.S. passport at his residence at Kula Kolea Place, indicating he had been to England three times this year, the last time on Oct. 25, Jones said.

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