Former USC football player sentenced for leading international criminal enterprise

Posted at 12:06 PM, Dec 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-16 15:06:36-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A former University of Southern California football player was sentenced Friday in San Diego for leading a drug and crime operation that spanned at least three continents.

Owen "O-Dog" Hanson was sentenced to 21 years and three months in prison and a lifetime of supervised release for his role as leader of the "violent" international ring that dealt in drug trafficking, illegal gambling, and money laundering from 2012 to 2016.

The criminal operation spanned the U.S., Central and South America, and Australia, according to officials.

"It is difficult to understand how you got here, other than greed," United States District Judge William Hayes told Hanson during sentencing.

Court documents said Hanson's enterprise, "ODOG," trafficked thousands of kilograms of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, marijuana, anabolic steroids, and Human Growth Hormone (HGH). The documents said Hanson admitted the operation, "routinely distributed controlled substances at wholesale and retail levels, including selling performing enhancing drugs to numerous professional athletes."

Documents also said the enterprise, "used threats and violence against its gambling and drug customers to force compliance."

In one instance, prosecutors said Hanson sent DVDs depicting beheadings and pictures of a victim's desecrated family's tombstone to force payment of a more than $2 million debt.

According to court documents, Hanson's illicit activities began while he was playing football at USC, where he began "his drug trafficking empire by selling recreational drugs and steroids to his teammates," and used his business degree "to build a criminal enterprise that exploited people at their lowest moments."

Hanson was arrested on Sept. 9, 2015, after completing a drug deal with an undercover FBI agent.

Hanson was also ordered to forfeit assets totaling $5 million, including $100,000 in gold and silver coins; a Porsche Panamera; two Range Rovers; luxury watches; homes in Costa Rica, Peru, and Cabo San Lucas; a sailboat; and several business interests.

Officials said 21 of the 22 defendants charged in connection with the case have pleaded guilty, including Luke Fairfield, a San Diego-based public accountant who assisted Hanson with money laundering.

Hanson's criminal operation was brought down by a joint investigation between FBI and the New South Wales Police Force in Australia, in conjunction with the New South Wales Crime Commission.

Hanson was a walk-on tight end on USC's 2004 national championship team.