News and Press Releases

Brandon Laster, Jeffrey Laster, Jr., Phillip Witten, and Shannon Wiegand Indicted with conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute approximately 171 kilograms of marijuana

January 5, 2012

Mike Tobin, Public Affairs Specialist, (216) 622-3651

A federal grand jury returned a three-count indictment charging Brandon Laster, 29, of Cleveland Heights, Ohio; Jeffrey Laster, Jr., 27, of Avondale, Arizona; Phillip Witten, 32, of Cleveland; and Shannon Wiegand, 27, of Avondale, Arizona, with conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute approximately 171 kilograms of marijuana, and charging Brandon Laster and Jeffrey Laster, Jr. with two counts of interstate transportation in aid of racketeering enterprises, said Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio.

The conspiracy spanned between May 2010 and the present, according to the indictment.

The defendants used the U.S. Postal Service to ship packages of marijuana to the Cleveland area from Arizona and ship packages of money to Arizona from Cleveland, Ohio, according to the indictment.

In thwarting this marijuana trafficking operation, U.S. Postal Inspectors intercepted four packages containing marijuana which were shipped to the Cleveland area, and two packages of U.S. currency, totaling more $50,000, which were shipped to Arizona, according to the indictment.

If convicted, the defendants’ sentences will be determined by the Court after review of factors unique to this case, including the defendants’ prior criminal records, if any, the defendants’ roles in the offenses and the unique characteristics of the violations. In all cases, the sentences will not exceed the statutory maximum and in most cases it will be less than the maximum.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Teresa L. Dirksen following an investigation by the U.S. Postal Service.

An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government's burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.


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