Eighteen Members of Nationwide Marijuana Trafficking Organization Charged
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Eighteen individuals have been charged in the Eastern District of Virginia for allegedly participating in a nationwide distribution ring smuggling high-quality marijuana from grows in northern California to mid-level dealers in numerous states throughout the country. After coordinated arrests yesterday, 17 conspirators are in custody and one remains a fugitive: Marvin Powers, Jr., a/k/a “Marv,” 39, of Vallejo, Calif.
Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; James W. McJunkin, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office; Daniel Cortez, Inspector in Charge of the Washington Division of the United States Postal Inspection Service; Earl Cook, Alexandria Chief of Police; and Colonel David Rohrer, Fairfax County Chief of Police, made the announcement after the case was unsealed.
“We have dismantled a significant, national drug ring that allegedly made millions trafficking marijuana and recruited college athletes to target fellow students for drug sales,” said U.S. Attorney MacBride. “Marijuana is an addictive, dangerous gateway drug that often leads users to graduate to other deadly narcotics. Distributors often rely on guns and physical violence to enforce debts and ensure the success of their business, allured by the potential for significant profit peddling contraband. We’re grateful to the tight partnership of the agencies who worked together to bring charges against those in every level of this organization.”
According to court documents, the ring is led by Anthony Guidry, Sr., a/k/a “Ant,” 46, of Vallejo, Calif., who allegedly trained and now works with three other men as interconnected wholesale dealers of marijuana they either grow or purchase from growers in northern California. From 2005 through the present, the conspirators are accused of taking orders for various marijuana strains and shipping multi-pound quantities to suppliers in more than a dozen states. The complaint affidavit states that many conspirators carry firearms while conducting drug sales and use weapons and assault to intimidate those who have not paid, including targeting the young children of those in debt to conspirators.
Guidry is allegedly focused on extending his enterprise to as many states as possible, recruiting distributors from all walks of life, including college athletes, to help open distribution centers in cities and college campuses in Virginia, Georgia, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Texas, Louisiana, Florida, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Court records indicate that he controls more than 20 bank accounts that conspirators use to deposit proceeds from marijuana sales in whatever state sales are made. To avoid law enforcement detection, Guidry allegedly also hires individuals to fly around the country to pick up bulk cash payments and return to California. Court documents state that Guidry is the owner of a company named “Daddy’s Girl Handyman,” which is based out of his residence and is allegedly a front for him to launder illicit drug proceeds and appear to have legitimate income. He is accused of using drug proceeds to purchase multiple homes, vehicles, and a boat. In a two year period, investigators allege he received deposits of nearly $1 million into his various accounts.
According to the affidavit, Guidry would obtain wholesale marijuana for as little as $1,200 a pound, which he would sell for as much as $5,000 per pound at the retail level. Investigators conservatively estimate that the conspiracy has generated at least $2 million in profit during the course of the conspiracy. Prior to arrest, law enforcement had seized 71 pounds of marijuana and $161,980 in money orders from the conspirators.
Court records indicate that the ring was uncovered through the arrest of Moataz Mohammad Masoud, a/k/a “Mo,” “Fat Mo,” or “Gyp,” 26, of Alexandria, Va., in Alexandria on Jan. 12, 2010. While detained on marijuana distribution charges, court documents state that Masoud telephoned other conspirators to ensure that they continued his marijuana dealing operation. This arrest and ensuing investigation contributed to the initiation of the overall investigation that resulted in today’s charges.
All 15 individuals were charged with conspiracy to distribute 100 kilograms or more of marijuana, which carries a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison if convicted. Court documents indicate that additional charges carrying a maximum penalty of life imprisonment may also be filed against certain co-conspirators. In addition to Guidry, those charged include:
- James Cody Cutri, 22, of Springfield, Va., is alleged to be the leader of a marijuana and oxycontin distribution network based in the Eastern District of Virginia and extending into West Virginia. Court records indicate that he has received marijuana from Johnson for at least five years and is the largest and most lucrative of Johnson’s distribution outlets. Cutri works with Masoud; Nahom Hagos, a/k/a “Fat Boy,” 23, of Alexandria, Va.; and Yonata Noah Hagos, a/k/a “Yoni,” “Yone,” or “Little Black Boy,” 24, of Alexandria, Va., on retail sales of marijuana.
- Justin Dacory Johnson, a/k/a “Jay,” 23, of Pittsburg, Calif., is alleged to be a wholesale dealer with a distribution network in several states and is the primary supplier to Cutri and his network operating in the Eastern District of Virginia. Cristina Delores Patino, 28 of Pittsburg, Calif., is alleged to be the live-in girlfriend of Johnson who assists him in packaging and shipping marijuana to others in his network.
- Munir Abdalla Saad, a/k/a “Saad Munir Abdalla,” 36, of Benicia, Calif., and Powers are alleged to be wholesale dealers who work closely with Guidry in operating the marijuana ring, along with operating their own distribution networks. Saad is allegedly working with Guidry on renting property in California to grow marijuana.
- Noe Briones, 26, of Rodeo, Calif., is alleged to be a marijuana grower and one of Johnson’s regular marijuana suppliers. Court documents state that he rents a home in Sacramento, Calif., that he refers to as “the ranch” where he is running one of his marijuana grow operations.
- Nathaniel Scott Wilson, a/k/a “Nate,” and Jeremiah Adam Wilson, a/k/a “Jay,” – twin brothers, 26, of Atlanta, Ga. – are alleged to operate a distribution outlet from Atlanta, Ga., for Guidry.
- Julius Jamar Watson III, a/k/a “Ju Ju,” 23, of Sacramento, Calif., is alleged to be a distributor for Guidry and, according to court documents, is helping to establish distribution outlets in Pennsylvania and New York.
- Tracy Christopher King, a/k/a “T.C.,” 44, of Norfolk, Va., is alleged to have established a distribution network for Guidry in the Tidewater area of Virginia, particularly at local colleges and the beaches on the Eastern Shore.
- Tiffany Nicole Solorio, a/k/a “Tiff,” 22, of Rio Linda, Calif., is believed to be Guidry’s daughter or stepdaughter. She is alleged to receive between work for Guidry and Johnson transporting tens of thousands of dollars in proceeds via commercial airline from members of the distribution ring and returning them to Guidry and Johnson in California.
- Anthony Scott Giuliani, a/ka/ “Ant,” 44, and Annette Marie Ross, 51, of Covelo, Calif., are alleged to be growers who supply Guidry with high-grade marijuana.
- Robert Williams, 22, of Springfield, Va., was discovered by law enforcement at Cutri’s residence at the time of Cutri’s arrest on June 16, 2011, and was found to have allegedly possessed a .40-caliber pistol, $11,000 in cash, and bundles of marijuana.
Today’s charges are a result of an ongoing Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation being conducted by the FBI Washington Field Office, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the Alexandria and Fairfax County police departments. Assistant United States Attorneys Sean P. Tonolli and Lisa Owings are prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.
Criminal complaints are only charges and not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty.A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.justice.gov/usao/vae. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.vaed.uscourts.gov or on https://pcl.uscourts.gov.