He is known as “Menace” in his stomping grounds of western Pennsylvania.
He has pleaded guilty to distributing hundreds of grams of heroin to other heroin dealers in that area during the months leading up to his arrest in October 2013. Menace also said that he stored heroin and firearms at his residence in Allegheny County and would meet customers there, sometimes while his children were also in the home.
A loaded Beretta pistol was found during the service of a search warrant at Menace’s residence in a location that was accessible to children.
In addition, had the case gone to trial, the prosecution would have presented evidence that Menace threatened to harm an associate who owed money for heroin and fired shots into an apartment building in August 2013 where another drug-trafficking associate he was feuding with lived.
Neil “Menace” Thomas, 30, faces a maximum total sentence of at least 15 years and up to life in prison and a fine of up to $8,250,000.
Former Sergeant Helped Protect Traffickers
He was once a respected member of the Arizona Army National Guard – until he decided to use his military position to protect shipments of cocaine in transit.
Raul Portillo, 42, of Phoenix, pleaded guilty in November 2014 to conspiracy to commit bribery and interfere with commerce by attempted extortion. He was sentenced to serve 52 months in prison.
By his own admission, Portillo, a sergeant in the Arizona Guard, conspired with others in the Guard to accept cash bribes to protect purported narcotics traffickers who were transporting and distributing cocaine from Arizona to other locations in the southwestern United States.
Unbeknownst to Portillo and the others, the supposed narcotics traffickers were actually undercover lawmen.
Portillo admitted that he wore his official uniform, carried official forms of identification, used official vehicles and used his official authority, where necessary, to prevent police stops and searches as he drove cocaine shipments through checkpoints manned by the U.S. Border Patrol, the Arizona Department of Public Safety, and Nevada law enforcement officers.
Portillo admitted that he took bribe payments totaling $12,000 for transporting cocaine on two separate occasions. Portillo also admitted that he accepted a $2,000 cash payment in exchange for recruiting an Immigration and Customs Enforcement inspector into the conspiracy.
To date, 58 defendants have been convicted and sentenced for charges stemming from this investigation.