Oregon Man Sentenced in Multi-State Drug Trafficking Conspiracy
BOISE – Gregory Norman Josi, 43, of Hillsboro, Oregon, was sentenced in federal court today to 30 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release for conspiracy to manufacture, distribute, and possess with the intent to distribute over 1,000 kilograms of marijuana, U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced. Chief U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill ordered Josi to forfeit $150,000 in proceeds that he obtained from his drug trafficking activities, including $40,000 that Josi had paid prior to sentencing. He pled guilty to the charge on August 31, 2010.
According to the plea agreement, Josi was involved in a conspiracy to manufacture, distribute, and possess with the intent to distribute marijuana with members of the Kent Jones drug trafficking organization. Josi's primary role was to transport marijuana in quantities between 100-250 pounds from Southern California to the Portland, Oregon area, or to locations in Kentucky, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and elsewhere. Beginning in approximately 2002, Josi allowed members of the organization to use a pole barn on his property in Woodburn, Oregon, to store quantities of marijuana and currency. The pole barn was later sold for in excess of $150,000. Josi admitted the amount of marijuana directly handled by him was over 1,000 kilograms, but not more than 3,000 kilograms.
“Mr. Josi is one more member of a significant drug trafficking organization who has ended up behind bars, deprived of his freedom and stripped of his ill-gotten gains,” said Olson. “Federal, state and local law enforcement officials worked tirelessly to successfully bring to justice these drug traffickers.”
The Jones organization, which had been identified as a Regional Priority Target by the Federal Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), operated throughout the United States, importing drugs from Mexico and Southern California. The drugs were transported to the Portland, Oregon area before being shipped to Idaho, Washington, and other places in the Midwest and East Coast, including Colorado, Ohio, North Dakota, Nebraska, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Jersey, and New York. In addition to the importation and transportation of marijuana, the organization was heavily involved in growing large quantities of marijuana in the 1990s. The organization is alleged to have reaped more than $20 million in drug proceeds over a 30 year period. The original indictment charging Kent Jones and others, filed in June of 2006, sought forfeiture of more than $24 million in proceeds from drug trafficking.
The OCDETF investigation was handled by the District of Idaho because it stemmed from the case of a major drug trafficker, Leland Lang of Stites, Idaho, who was successfully prosecuted in Idaho in 2002. The Jones organization supplied Lang with large quantities of drugs which were distributed in Idaho and various Midwest and eastern states. Over $1 million in currency was seized from Lang's mountaintop residence in Stites in 2002. Lang was sentenced to 9.5 years in prison and ordered to forfeit $1.1 million. He was released from prison in 2009.
Following the indictment of Lang and other co-conspirators in Kentucky, the investigation led to the Jones organization. Defendants sentenced in the related conspiracy include Kent Jones of Vancouver, Washington; Mark Daniel Kitzman of Lake Oswego, Oregon; Dennis Bruce Hammons of Medford, Oregon; Mark M. Alders of Lakeside, Oregon; Harold Carl Ballenger of Bend, Oregon; Gerald Francis McDonald of Costa Mesa, California; Jerod Lee Keyser, John Phillip Keyser and Texanna M. Keyser of Priest Lake, Idaho; Robert David Long of Eugene, Oregon; Damon John Marsh of Portland, Oregon; Mark William Pursley of Vancouver, Washington; Dale Eugene Barker of Evergreen, Colorado; Gregory Frank Sperow of Los Angeles, California; and Lawrence Edward Weitzman of Placerville, California.
Through previous indictments in Idaho, and the cooperation of local and federal authorities in other states, including the U.S. Attorney's Office in the District of Oregon, the Douglas County Oregon Prosecutor's Office, and the Oregon Department of Justice, the following defendants linked to the Jones organization have been successfully prosecuted in Idaho or elsewhere as a result of this investigation: Alan Russell Williamson of Beaverton, Oregon; Nicholas Ray Albano of Portland, Oregon; Tami Ballenger of Bend, Oregon; James Dale Rose and Hubert Ivy, Jr. of Winchester, Kentucky; and Raymond L. Haddon of Clarkston, Washington. Two other defendants associated with Jones passed away before trial and/or sentencing.
Agencies involved in the investigation and arrests include Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, the Idaho State Police, the Drug Enforcement Administration, Douglas County Interagency Narcotics Team, Oregon Department of Justice, Oregon State Police, the U.S. Marshals Service, Westside Interagency Narcotics Team, the Bonner County Sheriff's Office, and the Pacific Northwest Fugitive Task Force.
“There are serious consequences for dealing drugs. IRS CI is committed to fighting the war on drugs along with other federal, state and local agencies to take drugs off the streets and put drug dealers behind bars,” said Sean Sowards, Special Agent in Charge of IRS Criminal Investigation, for the State of Idaho.
The OCDETF program is a federal multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional task force which supplies supplemental federal funding to federal and state agencies involved in the identification, investigation, and prosecution of major drug trafficking organizations.
Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) is a collaborative effort by federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, and communities to prevent and deter gun violence.