Australian Drug-Smuggling Tied to Illegal Gambling Ring

US District Court Judge William Q. Hayes sentenced Nathan and Andrew Dulley to prison time for their role in an Australian drug-smuggling and illegal gambling ring. The two worked for Owen “O-Dog” Hanson, an American crime lord who led an illegal gambling, drug-trafficking, and money laundering syndicate.

Nathan Dulley received 33 months in a federal prison, while Andrew Dulley received 25 months. The US justice system convicted 22 people involved in the ring. The brothers used their chocolate business to smuggle illegal drug substances into Australia.

The crime boss the Dulley brothers worked for what Owen Hanson, sometimes known as “O-Dog”. These days, Owen Hanson is serving a 21-year sentence for his crimes in the United States. Before Hanson’s arrest and confinement, Nathan Dulley and Andrew Dulley became heavily involved in O-Dog’s Australian drug smuggling network.

In the period between 2012 and 2016, the Dulleys smuggled more than 150kg of cocaine into Australia. They would package 10kg or more into chocolate shipments from Southern California, packing the cocaine into chocolate crates to fool customers officials.

Once authorities busted Owen Hanson back in the United States, the Dulley brothers became obvious targets of the investigation. Nathan Dulley partied with Hanson in his vacation home in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico — a mansion called the “Millionaire’s Playbox”. Once law enforcement began to look into the Dulley’s activities, their drug smuggling became known.

Owen Hanson’s Life Story

Owen Hanson was a tight end on the 2004 USC Trojans football team, which won the BCS Title Game. The muscle-bound Hanson parlayed his connections into life as a successful drug dealer. Over a 10-year span, O-Dog built his drug ring into an international operation.

At the same time, Owen Hanson built an illegal gambling ring with tens of millions of dollars in turnover each year. Hanson also developed a money laundering operation to keep federal law enforcement from learning about his drug trade and gambling dens.

Eventually, O-Dog’s aggressive debt enforcement practices led to his arrest. The drug lord made the mistake of desecrating the graves of one gambler’s parents, which led the man to report the threats to police. A task force comprised of state, local, and federal law enforcement agencies investigated the syndicate for months, then busted Owen Hanson and his syndicate mates for a variety of drug, gambling, and money laundering crimes.

“Like an Italian Gangster from Queens”

A former debtor told Rolling Stone magazine, “He ran his gambling business like drug dealers run the drug business. If you’re short a little money they’ll kill you — that’s the attitude that he brought.”

The attitude shocked people involved in the gambling ring. The former customer said, “It took all of us off guard. We are all educated…white dudes. We thought he was one of us, but he acted like an Italian gangster from Queens.”

Yet Owen Hanson’s employees, including right hand man Giovanni “Tank” Brandolino, acted like mob enforcers. Hanson acted like a successful legit businessman to many. The act help him cultivate ties to former USC Trojans and even figures in pro football.

Silver-Plated AK-47

Over the years, O-Dog lived an opulent lifestyle in Southern California, driving a Porsche and buying a Redondo Beach mansion. His conspicuous consumption modeled the worst excesses of the Ugly American, such as the silver-plated AK-47 he displayed in his home.

Meanwhile, Hanson intimidated his clients with images of beheadings — implying they were next. Only certain people saw O-Dog’s dark side, though.

After O-Dog was arrested, US law enforcement questioned former New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski about his friendship with Owen Hanson. Gronkowski was not associated with the illegal syndicate.  In fact, Gronk told the FBI he thought O-Dog was a simple businessman like himself.

Money Laundering at Star Sydney

Gronk wasn’t the only one fooled, nor was he the only prominent person in O-Dog’s world. Using much different tactics, Hanson forced famous Philadelphian blackjack player Robert J. Cipriani to launder millions of dollars at Sydney’s Star Casino.

O-Dog handed Cipriani $2 million in Australian bank notes and gave him a mission. Hanson ordered the blackjack player to wager the cash in the Star Sydney Casino. Later, he handed over another $2.5 million in cash. At that point, Cipriani realized he was being asked to launder money and balked at the mission.

While offering big profits, Hanson threatened the Philadelphia gambler.  He told Cipriani, “You have a beautiful wife. You’re going to do this, you understand?”

Hanson ordered Cipriani’s money laundering activities in Sydney because of a need to hide the drug and illegal gambling proceeds. It was the Australian end of the crime syndicate which roped in the Dulley brothers, who used their chocolate business to ship drugs from America. Owen Hanson’s threats failed, though. The blackjack pro contacted the FBI, which began a multi-state investigation that led to Hanson’s arrest.