Cocaine Ring Used Universal Music's Interscope Label To Ship Drugs & Cash

from the drugs-and-music dept

It's no secret that there was a close connection between major record labels and drugs in the past -- but people keep insisting that's all ancient history these days. So it's interesting to find out, via a federal prosecution of a cocaine ring, the news that the effort apparently hid the shipping of cash and cocaine around the country by using concert "road cases" and shipping them to and from Interscope Records' offices. Interscope, of course, is a Universal Music sub-label, which is home to the likes of Eminem and Lady Gaga.
Department of Justice prosecutors this week provided defense lawyers with shipping records detailing “pickups and deliveries” made at Interscope’s Los Angeles office by a cargo firm that was used to transport the music cases, which were alternately stuffed with kilos of cocaine and upwards of $1 million in cash.
Perhaps, rather than worrying so much about the impact of "piracy," the folks at Universal Music should be paying attention to the drug dealing happening via its own offices. Just saying.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2011 @ 7:11pm

    DO YOU SEE NOW

    Music piracy has forced these poor artists and executives to a life of drug abuse!

    Piracy is killing the drug trade!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2011 @ 7:16pm

    RICO

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2011 @ 7:20pm

    Ahh yes, another of Mike Masnick's pointless hit pieces against the music industry simply because it's the music industry. Never mind that there are crooked individuals working at companies all over the world or that this could happen anywhere. It's the music industry which Mike hates so obviously it's a much bigger problem because it happened there this one time! Seriously Mike, every time you post one of these tantrums like a spoiled brat screaming for attention, you hurt your credibility for the actual serious causes people SHOULD pay attention to.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    icon
    Jay (profile), Sep 20th, 2011 @ 7:23pm

    Re:

    I love it when ACs do nothing but ad hom and attack people for doing nothing but showing the dark side of the recording industry...

    Or the inaccuracies of Hollywood Accounting...

    Or the fact that publishing is having a great year.

    Tell me, was there a point to this besides throwing your temper tantrum like a child?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    MrWilson, Sep 20th, 2011 @ 7:28pm

    Re:

    You said: "it happened there this one time!"

    Mike said: "It's no secret that there was a close connection between major record labels and drugs in the past"

    How is the close connection in the past and this more recent occurrence just, "one time?"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2011 @ 7:29pm

    Re:

    Yep, just one time, no music pop star died recently of overdose no sir the past drug fuelled industry is no more surely.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2011 @ 7:34pm

    Re:

    Oh c'mon everybody knows by now that the pirates will kick the asses of the record industry along with the music industry because they keep sniffing, injecting and breathing fun stuff while the pirates keep reading technical material to build and program new ways to rip the industry.

    Now who do you think will win this, the guys doing drugs or the guys doing the books?

    Please prove that you are not a total idiot and show us your marvelous plan to stop piracy.

    No seriously because I need some laughs right now.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Tallbonez, Sep 20th, 2011 @ 7:34pm

    This explains so much...

    Extorting old ladies and stealing their computers should have been the original tip off

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Sep 20th, 2011 @ 7:34pm

    Re:

    Get coverage of this happening elsewhere and it will be covered, with the caveat of it should involve a tech company.

    And what praytell is your pocket cause that is so vitally important that you've overlooked mentioning?

    (hint its on page 3 of the talking points memo)

    Given the music industries demands that service providers do more to support their business model, the other side of that coin is as they had their system used to run a drug operation shouldn't they be facing charges themselves?

    So other than just trying to troll, and doing a piss poor job of it... did you have a real point or have you gotten the Mike bashing out of your system for the time being?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2011 @ 7:35pm

    Re:

    You wouldn't download a brick of coke...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2011 @ 7:39pm

    Re: This explains so much...

    too many scooby snacks

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Daddy Warbucks, Sep 20th, 2011 @ 7:41pm

    Just One other case please

    Mr. AC, please point out another case, Just One, in which the Department of Justice has shipping records detailing “pickups and deliveries” made by any other company, ANY company, that "were alternately stuffed with kilos of cocaine and upwards of $1 million in cash."

    Prove me wrong and produce your evidence you low life.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Chris, Sep 20th, 2011 @ 7:47pm

    Wonder who paid for moving the cases

    I wonder if the cases got charged to some uninvolved Artist account as an expense that need to be recouped.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
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    nelsoncruz (profile), Sep 20th, 2011 @ 7:48pm

    Wasn't "piracy" supposed to be funding the drug trade?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2011 @ 7:53pm

    Re: Just One other case please

    Good point. We hear unsubstantiated stories of how terrorists and mafia are profiting from piracy. Now we have a substantiated instance of the property of a major record label being used to smuggle a whole lot of drugs and cash.

    We know from ICE that if your property is used to facilitate crime (regardless of whether you did it yourself), the government can seize it. So I'm waiting to hear of when the feds will be taking over this postal address.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2011 @ 7:59pm

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2011 @ 8:02pm

    So, how soon will we see DHS swoop in to confiscate all of the recordings used by Interscope - after all, they were used in the commission of a crime!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2011 @ 8:02pm

    Re:

    Piracy according to the music industry is one source the other big source of revenue for the drug trade is the whole entertainment industry that apparently has a lot of drunks, pedos and drug addicts.

    Just search "celebrities worst mugshots", most of them are recent from this last decade apparently they are drinking more and one can only assume it is because of piracy right?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2011 @ 8:09pm

    Not to mention the real ties with the real MAFIA, racketeering, tax evasion, fraud, heck they only are rivalled by the banking industry in how they are crooked.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    icon
    mmmmichael (profile), Sep 20th, 2011 @ 8:10pm

    Re: everyone does it

    YEAH, Coward!!! I know how you feel! In my 48 years of working life, most of the companies I've worked for have done this kind of thing!!!!

    .....no, wait a minute, none of them have. Not one. Not a single one. Could it actually be that the music industry is simply rotten to the core?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    icon
    Atkray (profile), Sep 20th, 2011 @ 8:11pm

    Re: Wonder who paid for moving the cases

    That isn't even funny.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2011 @ 8:19pm

    Re: Re: Just One other case please

    Crime is illegal!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    icon
    JMT (profile), Sep 20th, 2011 @ 8:42pm

    Re:

    "Ahh yes, another of Mike Masnick's pointless hit pieces against the music industry simply because it's the music industry."

    Actually it's against a record label, which is not "the music industry", just one tiny piece of it. Don't flatter yourself.

    "Seriously Mike, every time you post one of these tantrums like a spoiled brat screaming for attention, you hurt your credibility for the actual serious causes people SHOULD pay attention to."

    Replace Mike's name with yours and this statement makes perfect sense.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    icon
    Prashanth (profile), Sep 20th, 2011 @ 8:45pm

    So because Universal Music's infrastructure was used by other people to commit illicit activities, doesn't that mean the Feds should go straight over and shut down all of Universal Music? Actually, I wouldn't mind that so much...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    icon
    Angry Puppy (profile), Sep 20th, 2011 @ 8:57pm

    Re: Re: Wonder who paid for moving the cases

    I think it's hilarious. I guarantee an artist/band paid the cost for the record label to ship its own coke.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    icon
    harbingerofdoom (profile), Sep 20th, 2011 @ 9:00pm

    Re:

    You sir, resemble a female hygiene product one might use on a summers eve and the small non-rigid paper container it once was held in.

    that is the biggest collected amount of fecal matter emanating from the male of the species bov taurus that i have viewed in quite some time.

    its hypocrisy laden tripe which forces me to label you as either one whose family tree has no forks or alternately a member of the tsuri ilk commonly found under bridges.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    icon
    The Mighty Buzzard (profile), Sep 20th, 2011 @ 10:05pm

    Re: Re:

    Most likely to get themselves a chuckle when you feed them with responses.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Sep 20th, 2011 @ 10:54pm

    Re:

    Ahh yes, another of Mike Masnick's pointless hit pieces against the music industry simply because it's the music industry

    At a loss as to how anyone can claim I hate the music industry, when just three stories down I was celebrating artists making more money than ever before.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    icon
    The eejit (profile), Sep 20th, 2011 @ 10:59pm

    Re: Re: Re: Just One other case please

    According to the MAFIAA, so is thinking.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Sep 20th, 2011 @ 11:00pm

    Re:

    they advocate it for people "pirating" content using other platforms, so whats good for everyone else is good for them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    icon
    RadialSkid (profile), Sep 20th, 2011 @ 11:05pm

    Re:

    They should certainly be confiscating any of Universal's property used in commission of a crime. You know, like the whole building...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2011 @ 11:43pm

    "Sir, what's that white stuff on your nose?"
    "I-I-I-I don't know!"
    "Is that cocaine on your coffee table?"
    "I swear, it's not mine! The pirates must've put it there or something!"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    Alatar, Sep 21st, 2011 @ 12:43am

    According to their own standards, doesn't it make them liable?

    You know, with their push for third party liability, shouldn't Universal Music execs and staff be arrested for drug trafficking?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    icon
    William N (profile), Sep 21st, 2011 @ 12:52am

    And they're so worried about piracy funding terrorism???

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    icon
    Lauriel (profile), Sep 21st, 2011 @ 2:30am

    Re: According to their own standards, doesn't it make them liable?

    You know, with their push for third party liability, shouldn't Universal Music execs and staff be arrested for drug trafficking?

    No, no, no. That's not how it works. Third party liability would be extended to the postage label manufacturers, for making accessible and redirecting to criminal activities.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    icon
    Lauriel (profile), Sep 21st, 2011 @ 2:36am

    Re: Re:

    You said: "it happened there this one time!"


    Girl: "This one time, at Interscope, we fixed the accounts so it looked like no one made any money, and we kept the profits."

    Guy: "Meh."

    Girl: "This one time, at Interscope, we did coke."

    Guy: "Meh."

    Girl: "This one time, at Interscope, we downloaded a song."

    Guy: "You're a criminal!!!111!"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    icon
    The eejit (profile), Sep 21st, 2011 @ 2:47am

    Re: Re:

    Dude, at this point, WWE is more honest than UMG. Think on that for a minute.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    icon
    Shaun Wilson (profile), Sep 21st, 2011 @ 2:54am

    Learn from each other

    Each group in this story can learn something from the other.
    The music labels from the drug dealers: how to sell something people want to buy instead of trying to force them to buy what they don't want.
    The drug dealers from the music labels: how to properly buy politicians, so your competitors get thrown in jail instead of you.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 21st, 2011 @ 3:12am

    http://business.blogs.cnn.com/2011/09/21/far-east-fashionistas-propel-prada-profits/

    Funny that the place that buys luxury goods is also the place where people are in love with the idea of consumerism, it is the place where there are little to no protections in the form of IP laws.

    The world have changed, the "magic" from the entertainment industry is gone in the west, their appeal is slowly fading away and giving way to other dark emotions that can only lead to loss of sales.

    People will move on and the "industry" will pay the price for being so antagonistic.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 21st, 2011 @ 3:27am

    Real criminals are destroying this country.
    Look at the criminals the industry needs to fight to understand how they are outgunned.
    http://boingboing.net/2011/09/20/another-illegal-kitchen-garden.html

    It seems the American government wants to transform everybody into a criminal these days except the true criminals.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    identicon
    abc gum, Sep 21st, 2011 @ 4:54am

    There are - obviously - two sets of rules.
    One set for the uber rich and another for everyone else.

    Your tax supported law enforcement probably helped ensure the safe and timely arrival of said packages.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    icon
    jsl4980 (profile), Sep 21st, 2011 @ 5:33am

    We need new billboards and stickers and advertisements:
    "Buying CDs funds drugs and terrorists"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 21st, 2011 @ 5:35am

    Re:

    You brought up Willie Nelson's numerous pot busts? Really? Come on, that's like kicking Ol' Yeller. The rest of those examples definitely should be there but Willie Nelson? Come on!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 21st, 2011 @ 5:37am

    RIAA & MPAA = Try them both under RICO Act.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 21st, 2011 @ 5:38am

    Re: Re:

    I'm sure people would if they could!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
    icon
    crade (profile), Sep 21st, 2011 @ 7:15am

    I'm surprised the drug runners would lower themselves to that level.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
    identicon
    S, Sep 21st, 2011 @ 7:16am

    Re: Re:

    Artists aren't "the industry" -- if bribery and exploitation aren't involved it's not a legitimate market force.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
    icon
    Josef Anvil (profile), Sep 21st, 2011 @ 7:27am

    Thank you for FINALLY giving me an answer

    I've been wondering for some time how piracy was related to organized crime. It's about time someone explained it.

    Now I see that piracy is cutting into the CD sales, so organized crime cannot ship as much cocaine as they need to. OMG, think of the children missing out on their cocaine!! Bad pirates.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
    icon
    Josef Anvil (profile), Sep 21st, 2011 @ 7:27am

    Thank you for FINALLY giving me an answer

    I've been wondering for some time how piracy was related to organized crime. It's about time someone explained it.

    Now I see that piracy is cutting into the CD sales, so organized crime cannot ship as much cocaine as they need to. OMG, think of the children missing out on their cocaine!! Bad pirates.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50.  
    identicon
    Anonymoose Custard, Sep 21st, 2011 @ 7:53am

    Re:

    I'm not surprised. Extortion, rackets, money laundering, and drug running all go hand-in-hand. Recording companies fit the profile completely.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51.  
    icon
    Thomas (profile), Sep 21st, 2011 @ 7:58am

    Considering ..

    the huge profits from drug trade, why is the RIAA so worried about piracy??? It costs them more to prosecute than they take get back in fines.

    Drugs and music have been together a lot since the 60s at least.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  52.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 21st, 2011 @ 8:07am

    Home drug abuse is killing the drugs industry.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 21st, 2011 @ 9:12am

    Re:

    I do agree with you, i started to read "techdirt" to read "tech" news. Not the copyright/mpaa/riaa bashing blog this hasw become.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  54.  
    icon
    hmm (profile), Sep 21st, 2011 @ 9:27am

    Well

    Official statement - Universal Music does not supply cocaine or heroin to its contracted employees any more (or any less!)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  55.  
    icon
    hmm (profile), Sep 21st, 2011 @ 9:30am

    At least

    Statement from Universal cocaine/music - Hey unlike those damn evil file-sharers, at least its not possible to needle-share....excuse me the phone's ringing...



    God DAMN IT!!!! this press conference is OVER!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  56.  
    icon
    iBelieve (profile), Sep 21st, 2011 @ 10:24am

    Re: Re:

    And who wants to imagine that they are Angels in all of this. You just can't sit on top of an imaginary fence.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  57.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 21st, 2011 @ 10:28am

    As we all know, if the justice department accuses you of something, you are guilty (unless it's some sort of IP infringement, then the government is just out of control).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  58.  
    identicon
    Twiitchy, Sep 21st, 2011 @ 10:30am

    Brings a whole new meaning to packet sniffing

    Or maybe an old one

    Sorry couldn't resist

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  59.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 21st, 2011 @ 12:01pm

    Re: (AC @11:43 9-20-11)

    Those sneaky pirates, downloading bricks of cocaine and now theyve figured a way to upload it to another's table.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  60.  
    icon
    The Groove Tiger (profile), Sep 21st, 2011 @ 12:09pm

    Re: Re:

    Well, now we know that you get bored after reading more than 4 letters out of each word.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  61.  
    icon
    CommonSense (profile), Sep 21st, 2011 @ 12:14pm

    Re:

    It is....because the recording industry can't make money from music due to piracy....they're left trying to make money from drugs...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  62.  
    icon
    Jeffrey Nonken (profile), Sep 21st, 2011 @ 12:57pm

    Re: Re:

    So buzz off. There's obviously nothing keeping you here.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  63.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 21st, 2011 @ 3:30pm

    Re: Re:

    if the mafiaa can sue little old ladies for downloading songs and movies, then we can point to Willie's hypocrisy as an old junkie as well

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  64.  
    icon
    Karl (profile), Sep 21st, 2011 @ 9:07pm

    Ah ha

    Well, we finally have a rational explanation for the RIAA's business model.

    They are, quite literally, on crack.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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