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Eleven Members Convicted in Phoenix Area Marijuana Distribution Conspiracy
Defendants used parcel companies to ship drugs to the east coast

 

DEC 19 (PHOENIX) –On April 25, 2012, a federal grand jury in Phoenix returned a 76 count superseding indictment against 11 defendants charging them with multiple crimes including conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana, structuring financial transactions through a domestic financial institution and promotional money laundering. The defendants are being held until sentencing. 

Packages of marijuana ready for shipment.
Packages of marijuana ready for shipment.

The investigation was part of Operation Lost Package, an 18-month long investigation regarding a drug trafficking organization responsible for the shipment of large quantities of marijuana from Phoenix, Arizona to multiple cities on the east coast.  Cash proceeds from the trafficking were structured and deposited into accounts at various domestic financial institutions in amounts ranging from $4,000 to $9,000 to further the conspiracy.

) Packaging material at a Phoenix residence where agents recovered  over 171 pounds of marijuana, currency and 3 weapons.
Packaging material at a Phoenix residence where agents recovered over 171 pounds of marijuana, currency and 3 weapons.

"DEA and its partners are successfully striking back at drug traffickers who use Arizona as a major transshipment point for their criminal operations,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Doug Coleman. “By conducting cooperative investigations like this, law enforcement is able to use all the resources and expertise available to us to attack these significant drug trafficking organizations that sell their poisons throughout Arizona and the United States.”

On December 11, 2012, following a four day trial, a federal jury in Phoenix found Rafiq Albert Brooks guilty of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana and possession with intent to distribute marijuana. The case was tried before U.S. District Judge James A. Teilborg and the sentencing is set for March 4, 2013. 

The other ten defendants in the case pleaded guilty prior to trial.  Three of the defendants have already been sentenced: 

  • Koy Kayon Williams pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possession with intent to distribute marijuana and was sentenced to 135 months in federal prison.
  • Genaro Barra-Mendoza pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute marijuana and was sentenced to time served.  
  • Victor Arrellano-Zuniga pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute marijuana and was sentenced to 14 months in federal prison.  
  • Maximiliano Riviera-Landers pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute marijuana.  He is scheduled to be sentenced on March 11, 2013.  
  • Luis Alberto Gutierrez pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute marijuana.  He is scheduled to be sentenced on January 7, 2013.  
  • Chelliean Latanneya Duncan pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute marijuana.  She is scheduled to be sentenced on January 7, 2013.  
  • Sharon Sophi Johnson pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute marijuana.  She is scheduled to be sentenced on January 7, 2013.  
  • Bianca McKinney pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute marijuana.  Sentencing date to be determined.   
  • Kristopher Paul Stone pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana and structuring financial transactions through a domestic financial institution.  He is scheduled to be sentenced on February 19, 2013.  
  • Renard Allistere White pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.  He is scheduled to be sentenced on January 14, 2013.  

 

Defendants face 5 years to 30 years in prison.

The investigation in this case was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Scottsdale Police Department, Internal Revenue Service, and the United
States Postal Inspection Service.  The prosecution was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael A. Lee and Glenn McCormick, District of Arizona, Phoenix.



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