A cocaine dealer who had been free on bail pending appeal of a 25-year prison sentence imposed five months ago returned to Los Angeles federal court Tuesday after being arrested on a new drug charge.
Chief U.S. District Judge Manuel L. Real revoked bail for Mark Steven McFarlane, 30, of San Clemente and ordered that he be kept in prison pending the outcome of his appeal.
Real, who sentenced McFarlane to the long prison term in November, had ordered his bail revoked at the time but was reversed by a three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
'Reverse Sting' Operation
McFarlane, originally sentenced as a member of an Orange County drug ring headed by Alan Charles Mobley, was arrested in a "reverse sting" operation by undercover drug agents last week on a new charge of conspiring to purchase at least 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds) of cocaine.
The Mobley cocaine ring, dismantled last year after a massive investigation by the FBI and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, was described as the largest drug network ever prosecuted on the West Coast.
A total of 31 defendants were charged in the case, and many of them received long prison terms after pleading guilty to a variety of charges. Mobley, 24, was sentenced to 45 years in prison.
McFarlane, who received the second-longest sentence in the case, was the only member of the Mobley group remaining free on bail pending appeal of his conditional guilty plea on grounds that illegal wiretaps were used in breaking up the ring.
$250,000 Property Bond
He had been free on a $250,000 property bond originally set by a federal magistrate despite a request from federal prosecutors that bail be increased to $2 million.
Before sentencing McFarlane and attempting to deny him bail during the appeal process, Real had agreed to increase the bond to $350,000 but was reversed twice by three-judge panels of the 9th Circuit.
McFarlane was arrested on the new drug charge last week as a result of a DEA investigation that originally focused on Ali Reza Naimi Mohases, 34, who was also free on federal bond pending sentencing for conspiracy to violate currency reporting laws.
Mohases, who was free on $300,000 bond, allegedly purchased 2 kilograms of purported cocaine from an undercover DEA officer for $62,000 and identified McFarlane as his associate.
Assistant U.S. Atty. Laurie L. Levenson said DEA agents observed Mohases at McFarlane's San Clemente house before the arrests. Mohases was arrested at a house in El Toro after making the purchase, and McFarlane was found inside the house at the time of the arrest, Levenson said.
Mohases and a brother, Mohammad Reza Naimi Mohases, 29, face sentencing on the currency violation charges Thursday. Ali Mohases is now back in federal custody.
Assistant U.S. Atty. John Kuray said McFarlane is charged with conspiracy to possess cocaine with intent to distribute.
McFarlane's attorney, Roger Diamond, opposed the bail revocation by Real and said he will appeal the judge's decision again to the 9th Circuit on grounds that McFarlane had already agreed to remain in federal custody until there was a resolution of the new charge.