Kosmas Koustas of Hooksett was stopped by a state trooper last March 30 in Windham for defective equipment. But as the trooper approached the 2003 GTI Volkswagen, Koustas bolted, kicking off a police chase along Interstate 93.
State police called off the pursuit as Koustas, then 35, took the Exit 4 off-ramp into Derry. That’s where Derry police took up the chase but Koustas eluded them when they, too, called off the pursuit because high speeds were endangering the public that early afternoon.
Koustas, as he allegedly drove recklessly down the highway and along Derry streets, kept making cell phone calls, like one to a friend saying he was in a car chase and needed a “pickup.”
He also told him to get to Koustas’ house and remove the box on his bureau, the shoe box in the downstairs closet, the “moll” (“Molly” or MDMA, the drug known as ecstasy) and Inositol, a substance added to cocaine to increase its volume. And, he said, have “Jenny,” Koustas’ girlfriend, Jennifer Suk Day, get the “gats” from the box in his drawer.
About three hours after the chase began, Johnson called Koustas to let him know he “couldn’t get there in time.” Koustas’ 1465 Hooksett Road, Apt. 141 home, was surrounded by cops.
Derry ultimately found Koustas’ abandoned car and him walking nearby. He was arrested.
Koustas being pulled over apparently was no accident. Undercover officers had tailed him to Methuen, Mass. where he allegedly purchased cocaine. When police recovered his car, however, Koustas already had gotten rid of the cocaine, according to investigators.
The details of that day and the phone Koustas’ calls are contained in a 96-page federal criminal complaint against 13 men — most from Manchester — for drug distribution and conspiracy charges with ties to a Canadian marijuana drug ring, and for “use of communication facility to facilitate the distribution of controlled substances.”
According to documents on file in U.S. District Court in Concord, Koustas, Alkis Nakos of 366 Arah St., Manchester, and 11 other men were the focus of a federal undercover drug investigation that, by March 30, had been going on for 16 months.
Law enforcement officers used informants, sometimes fitted with wires, to record the alleged drug dealers’ conversations; wiretapped cell phones, repeatedly getting a judge’s approval each time they swapped them out for new ones; and conducted undercover surveillance, tracking the alleged drug dealers and tying them to a Canadian drug ring that brought marijuana illegally across the U.S. border in 50-pound, black duffel bags labeled “NH” for New Hampshire.
The New Hampshire group also was known to deal in MDMA - “Molly” - and cocaine, and at least one of them sold oxycodone as well.
The hookup with a Canadian drug ring apparently began when Nakos was serving a 5-to-10 year sentence for drug and weapons charges at the New Hampshire State Prison.
Canadian Mihail Leventis also was there, serving out a 3 1/2 to -20-year sentence on a drug conviction. Leventis, according to the U.S. government, headed up the marijuana supply side of the Canadian operation.
The government was aware as far back as 2009 that Nakos was receiving about 100 to 200 pounds of marijuana each week from Canada, which added up to between $3 to $5 million in proceeds annually.
Law enforcement had found two stash houses, both in Vermont that year, and had arrested a member of the drug ring who identified Nakos as the intended recipient of all the marijuana the ring smuggled into the state from Canada.
But while the feds arrested numerous people involved in that drug network in 2009 and 2010, Nakos and his associates went unscathed.
All that changed in November 2012, when New Hampshire State Police and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) began focusing on Nakos and Koustas, according to an affidavit by Trooper James R. Norris.
For 19 months, investigators listened in on the group’s cell phone conversations and learned the lingo of their coded conversations allegedly concerning drugs; tailed them to drug buys and gave money to informants to purchase marijuana, two pounds at a time.
In March 2013, Koustas, with an African American man, showed up at one informant’s home demanding $70,000 he was owed.
Koustas told the informant he didn’t have to worry about the Hells Angels in New Hampshire collecting the debt, he instead had to worry about the Vancouver Hells Angels coming to collect.
The informant had given $5,000 to Charles Fowle of 267 Waverly St. to give to Koustas but the money apparently hadn’t been turned over, according to court documents.
At one point, the undercover officers gave the informant $1,000 to pay Koustas, which the informant did, saying he wanted to work out a payment plan of about a $1,000 a week.
Koustas wasn’t enthused. He never did get the $70,000.
The drug network consisted of members who acted as lookouts and security, ensuring whoever was the immediate boss wasn’t ripped off.
The ring included Robert Vargas of Manchester, a convicted murderer who on Dec. 28, 1986, executed Heribeto “Blanco” Pichardo, 31, of Lawrence, Mass., in an incident in Nashua. Vargas was sentenced to 27 years to life and was released last year.
The nearly 100-page complaint depicts the everyday life of drug dealers, trying to sell marijuana with names like Diamonds, Grand Daddy, Master and Hindu Kush, that carry a premium price of $3,000 to $4,000 a pound.
It was sold as quickly as possible to pay off the supplier and have enough to pay for the next delivery. Fowle once bought a half-kilo of cocaine for $21,000 and sold it all in five days, Norris wrote.
But there are the bad days as well, like when someone stole a pound of pot from Fowle’s home or when Koustas accidentally got high on MDMA because he got some on his hands when he moved it while not wearing gloves.
Or like March 17, 2014, when Trooper Stefan Czyzowski pulled over Nakos in his 2014 Mercedes on the F.E. Everett Turnpike.
Christopher Ranfos of 241 Boutwell St., Apt. 1, was with him. They told the trooper they were heading to Foxwoods Resort and Casino in Ledyard, Conn.
The trooper discovered there was a non-extraditable warrant out for Ranfos’ arrest out of Florida on a charge of distributing marijuana. He asked Ranfos to get out of the car. Immediately, the trooper noticed Ranfos’ bulging pockets. He had wads of $100 bills, tied with elastic bands, in both pants pockets.
Asked what he did for work, Ranfos told the trooper, “HVAC, I save.”
Then it was Nakos’ turn. He, too, had wads of $100 bills in both his pants’ pockets. He refused to let the trooper search the car or his luggage.
A K-9 was brought to the scene and the dog had a positive reaction for a controlled substance. A search warrant was obtained and police ultimately seized a total of $19,015 from the two men, along with Nakos’ three iPhones and Ranfos’ Samsung Galaxy.
A small amount of marijuana was found in the car.
Thirteen days later, Koustas was involved in the police chase.
“Let it be known I am arrest(ed),” he told Frank Fowle, Charles’ brother, in a 2:57 p.m. phone call. He was signaling his associates to get rid of the evidence and get out of town, according to investigators.
“Something very serious happened. You will not see me until the next life,” he tells someone else in a telephone call.
Police, in searching Koustas’s home and cars that day, recovered two pounds of MDMA; two bottles of Inositol; a Royal Sovereign money counter; a .40 caliber Ruger P94 and a .45 caliber Glock 30; 12 cell phones; rounds of ammunition, and a pound of vacuum sealed marijuana.
Police also searched the home of his father, Nicholas Koustas, at 140 S. Porter St. where they found an empty duffel bag with a slip of paper in it: Boston - Diamond Kush x50.
Investigators said the duffel bag was used to illegally bring in 50 pounds of marijuana from Canada.
Nakos was arrested Tuesday and Koustas, on Wednesday. The New Hampshire Union Leader was unable to reach their attorneys for comment.
Nakos applied for a court-appointed attorney, saying he was financially unable to hire counsel. It was approved by U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrea Johnstone. Concord Attorney Robert Carey was then appointed.
A detention hearing is set for 11:30 a.m. Monday for Nakos in federal court, while Koustas’ detention hearing is Tuesday at 2:30 p.m.
Investigators have not released any details of the raids or the arrests.