Former USC Football Player Sentenced for Role in Drug, Gambling Crime Operation

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  • Violent international sports betting and drug ring spanned across USA, Latin America and Australia
  • Owen Hanson, who played on 2004 USC Championship team, had been captured trafficking cocaine
  • Man already serving time for his role in ring plead guilty to desecrating family grave of deadbeat gambler
  • Enterprise routinely "used threats and violence against its gambling and drug customers to force compliance”.

Former USC football player was sentenced Friday in a San Diego federal court for his role as ring leader of an international drug-trafficking and offshore gambling ring which ran out of the US and Peru.

Owen Hanson was among 22 charged as part of the investigation with nearly half already pleading guilty.  He played for USC during the years Pete Carroll coached the team as a walk-on tight end, including the 2004 national championship team.  Hanson will serve a 21 year, 3 month sentence. 

Hanson was initially charged only with coordinating a drug transaction before authorities later learned he had been running the elaborate online gambling enterprise, Macho Sports

Prosecutors also allege that Hanson trafficked “well over a ton” of cocaine, methamphetamine and Ecstasy in the U.S. and Australia.  He was also implicated in an Australian case tied to a mysterious suitcase filled with $702,000 in cash in 2011.

Ring Was Known for its Violence

An LA private investigator is already serving a 16 month prison sentence for his role in the gambling ring.  

Daniel Portley-Hanks, 71, pleaded guilty to extortion last December.  He was accused of driving from Los Angeles to a Pennsylvania cemetery where the family burial plot of an individual who owed Hanson’s organization money was located.  Portley-Hanks then splattered red paint over the tombstone, took photos of the grave desecration, then altered the photos to include the targeted individual’s name and words “very soon” as the date of death.  Another photo was altered to show a masked Hanson holding a shovel over the grave.

As if things could not get any worse, Portley-Hanks not only mailed the photos to the alleged deadbeat, he also included videotapes of two beheadings.

Court documents showed that the enterprise routinely "used threats and violence against its gambling and drug customers to force compliance”.

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