According to U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama Jay E. Town, a 40-year-old Atlanta man received a prison sentence of more than a decade for ecstasy and MDMA distribution. In April 2017, the suspect pleaded guilty to three charges. On September 20, U.S. District Court Judge Madeline Haikala sentenced him to 10 ½ years in prison and added that the harsh sentence is an effort to keep other criminals from selling to young adults.
According to a testimony in court, Woodie Louis Ochle, 40, operated an Atlanta-based event organizing company called Freakstep Promotions. Through Freakstep Promotions, Ochle organized concerts and raves in the Southeastern United States. These states, according to court document, included Georgia, Alabama, and Florida, among others. The Atlanta man, as evidenced by the sentencing announcement from an Alabama District Attorney, caught drug charges in Alabama.
A grand jury indictment charged the man with one count of conspiracy to distribute the MDMA in Jefferson county, Alabama, and Shelby county, Alabama, from February 2015 to April 2016. He received an additional charge of one count of MDMA possession with intent to distribute on April 13, 2016.
Homeland Security Investigations and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service investigated Ochle in 2016 after U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized 2,000 “Red Supreme” ecstasy pills. All 2,000 pills had been split between two packages, according to statements from investigating officers. Both packages had also been addressed to two different recipients. 38-year-old Kenneth Howard and 31-year-old Jennifer Petitjean.
USPIS agents performed controlled deliveries at both addresses and arrested both recipients. This, according to court documents led to the identification of two more conspirators and then controlled deliveries at both of their residences. 28-year-old Kevin Pederson and the ringleader himself. Later, a fifth recipient was identified: 22-year-old Shawn Perkins. All recipients received packages for Ochle. Three are still waiting for their sentences and one, Howard, already received an eight month sentence. All five, including Ochle, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute MDMA.
When agents arrested Pederson, they found ecstasy, Xanax, LSD, cocaine, and marijuana. The drugs had been packed into his vehicle in preparation for delivery at Spring events at Panama City Beach, Florida. Throughout the course of the investigation, law enforcement seized more than 30 pounds of drugs. Many of the substances seized, including 20,000 ecstasy pills, would have gone unnoticed if not for U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Postal Inspection Service agents and officers. Much of the mail came from Europe, court documents explained.
“Woodie Ochle unlawfully enriched himself through an illicit drug network he devised at the expense of young people,” Town said. “Ochle is among our worst offenders because his exploitation of a combination of youth and willfulness, underscored by his criminal greed, created both addicts and victims. We have bed space reserved in our Bureau of Prisons for Mr. Ochle and those like him.”