Chocolate merchants admit shipping kilos of cocaine to Australia for former USC football player

Owen Hanson pleaded guilty in 2017 to charges of leading an illegal sports gambling and drug-smuggling ring.

The Dulley brothers from Los Angeles worked as importers and exporters of fine chocolate. But hidden in their shipments was something else — large quantities of cocaine, according to federal prosecutors.

The illicit side of Nathan and Andrew Dulley’s business was part of ODOG Enterprises, a global drug-trafficking and gambling empire run by Owen Hanson, a former USC football player, prosecutors said.

On Thursday, the brothers, ages 34 and 36, admitted in San Diego federal court to sending large amounts of cocaine to Australia, where Hanson had secured a network to sell various drugs for enormous profit.

Authorities said that the Dulleys often would receive loads of 10 kilograms or more of cocaine from Hanson or his associates. The brothers then would mix the drugs with legitimate merchandise in order to slip them through customs inspections.


“Using their established import/export routes, the Dulleys would then send the cocaine to Australia, where it was distributed and sold by other members of the ODOG enterprise,” the U.S. attorney’s office said Thursday.

Twenty-two others — including a private investigator, a former NFL football player, an accountant and associates nicknamed “Tank” and “Animal” — have pleaded guilty in the sprawling investigation.

Hanson was sentenced to more than 21 years in prison and ordered to forfeit more than $5 million in cash and assets.

The case also helped secure an indictment against Vincent Ramos, who ran Phantom Secure in Canada and is accused of providing criminal organizations with highly encrypted Blackberries to communicate out of earshot of law enforcement. Hanson’s empire worked off the hard-to-get Blackberries, and he enabled an undercover federal agent to get his hands on one, according to court records.


Davis writes for the San Diego Union-Tribune.