Project Oleo

The Crime

Between 1997 and 2000, David and Carl Pasquantino and 17 other suspects conspired to smuggle large quantities of distilled spirits purchased from U.S. retail dealers into Canada. Their scheme was not sophisticated but very effective, defrauding Canada of $5.8 million in tax revenue.

The Investigation

During a routine inspection, ATF Inspector Mike Fronczak noted suspicious liquor purchases. ATF special agents worked with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), U.S. and Canadian Customs and the Niagara County (New York) Sheriff's Office to investigate. They learned that New York residents were purchasing liquor in Maryland, transporting it via automobile to self-storage sites in Upstate New York, and finally smuggling the liquor into Canada.

The Arrest

ATF Special Agents arrested the Pasquantinos and five co-conspirators, while the RCMP arrested five more in Ontario, Canada. Records recovered during the arrest revealed that over 39,000 cases of liquor had been smuggled across the border. The remaining suspects cooperated with ATF and were not charged.

Arrest Image of David and Carl Pasquantino and 7 other co-conspirators.

Arrest Image of David and Carl Pasquantino and 9 other suspects

The Adjudication

All defendants pleaded or were found guilty. Sentences ranged from 6 to 57 months imprisonment, with David Pasquantino receiving the longest jail term. He later appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, but his conviction was upheld.

Last Reviewed September 22, 2016