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JOINT LAW ENFORCEMENT EFFORT LEADS TO SEIZURE OF ASSETS FROM MARIJUANA DISTRIBUTION BUSINESS

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2010

$650K Going Back to the Community

BOSTON, Mass. - During a presentation in Springfield today, United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz announced the distribution of $650K to local, state and federal law enforcement agencies as a result of an asset forfeiture, stemming from a joint law enforcement drug investigation.

Last year, law enforcement officers discovered a long-standing, sophisticated indoor marijuana grow, which resulted in the arrest, conviction and sentencing of 48-year-old MARK DANALIS of Agawam. The investigation began in Hampshire County by the Massachusetts State Police assigned to the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office, together with members of the Northampton and Easthampton Police Departments.

“Forfeiture is a very powerful enforcement tool used against a wide spectrum of crimes, including drug trafficking, money laundering, gaming, public corruption, as well as a whole host of health care and mortgage fraud schemes,” said U.S. Attorney Ortiz. “I am delighted to be able to present these funds which will aid these law enforcement agencies in their efforts to investigate and prosecute drug dealers throughout Western Mass.”

The investigation, which began in 2008, led to the Agawam garage owned by Danalis, where assistance was provided by the Massachusetts State Police assigned to the Hampden District Attorney’s Office and the Springfield Resident Agency of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Western Massachusetts Drug Task Force, which includes members of several local police departments.

This January, Danalis was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Michael A. Ponsor to three years probation and ordered to forfeit $650,000 in proceeds to the United States from his marijuana distribution business. Danalis had earlier pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute marijuana as a result of the execution of a search warrant at his garage. As part of a plea agreement, Danalis agreed to forfeit a total of $650,000 to the United States.

Today, U.S. Attorney Ortiz announced that the equitable sharing proceeds would be provided to the following law enforcement agencies for their assistance in the investigation:
Northwestern District Attorney’s Office: $207,677.95; U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency: $130,000; Northampton Police Department: $98,805.11; Easthampton Police Department: $98,805.11; Hampden District Attorney’s Office: $45,349.50; West Springfield Police Department: $19,886.85; Springfield Police Department: $19,886.85; U.S. Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division: $10,185.06; Chicopee Police Department: $9,701.79;
and Holyoke Police Department: $9,701.79.

U.S. Attorney Ortiz congratulated each of the federal, state and local law enforcement agencies today, for their cooperative efforts which resulted in the elimination of a large scale marijuana distribution business and the forfeiture of $650,000 in drug proceeds.

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