May 2, 2012

SandBoxBlogs: Willits News "Covelo pair gets five years for federal pot crime; supplied marijuana for coast-to-coast ring"

Linda Williams:
"Two Covelo pot growers were among 18 defendants who pleaded guilty at the end of 2011 and beginning of 2012 in a multi-state federal marijuana prosecution originating in Virginia. The defendants received sentences ranging from five to 18 years in federal prison.
The operation generated profits estimated at $3 million from 2005 until the June 2011 arrests, according to court documents. The operation mailed packages of boutique California marijuana to individuals and groups in Virginia, Georgia, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Texas, Louisiana, Florida, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
The ringleader, Anthony Guidry, 46, of Vallejo, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute 100 kilos of marijuana or more and possession of a firearm in the furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, and is now serving 220 months in federal prison.
Guidry could have been sentenced from 40 years to life in prison.
He and all the other defendants also agreed to forfeit all assets including guns, property, a motorcycle, banking accounts and cash discovered by federal agents.
Agents seized 71 total pounds of weed and about $160,000 in cash from various locations during the arrests.

Guidry purchased specialty bud marijuana from a variety of sources throughout Northern California including Anthony Scott Giuliani, 45, and Annette Marie Ross, 52, both of Covelo..... 

.......One of his East Coast distributors recruited an ever-growing group of friends and family members willing to accept pot shipments to avoid raising the suspicions of postal, Fedex and UPS workers. The group admitted it was "sometimes necessary and prudent to use violence to enforce debts" in court documents.
Whenever a bank became too inquisitive, members of the group would open a new account at a different bank or arrange for a courier to fly out to transport the cash.
The entire plot began to unravel when Virginia police arrested Moataz Mohammad Masoud in January 2010 with $2,000 cash, three pounds of pot and a sales list of people owing him a total of $20,000. Masoud was still on probation after a 2008 conviction for intent to deliver marijuana for sale.
Masoud phoned several members of the network from the tapped phone at the jail asking for help to collect enough money to pay for his lawyer. Detectives from a growing number of state and federal agencies began investigating the people Masoud called. By the time the conspirators were arrested in June 2011, agents had intercepted more than 14,000 calls or texts from across the nation and tracked 38 marijuana packages and 21 bulk-cash packages.

Most of the individual conspirators received five-year prison sentences; the main distributors got 90 months. In exchange for a reduction in the number of counts and charges, all defendants agreed to provide law enforcement with detailed accounts of their operations.....(Read more?  Click title)

"Unapologetically pursuing and tracking patterns within the news others make since 2010."

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