News and Press Releases

LEADER OF MARIJUANA AND COCAINE TRAFFICKING RING SENTENCED TO A DECADE BEHIND BARS
Drug Ring Linked to 23 Kilos of Cocaine, $1.3 Million Cash

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 13, 2006

JOHN JAY CUNNINGHAM, 31, of Kent, Washington was sentenced today to ten years in prison and five years of supervised release for Possession with Intent to Distribute Cocaine, Conspiracy to Distribute Marijuana, and Conspiracy to Engage in Money Laundering. At his sentencing CUNNINGHAM told U.S. District Judge Ricardo Martinez that his drug dealing was motivated by greed and he vowed to change his life. Judge Martinez told him “You can talk the talk all you want. You need to follow through and walk the walk.”

CUNNINGHAM was arrested November 21, 2005 following a wire-tap investigation of the drug organization. CUNNINGHAM was heard on the wiretap discussing drug deals worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. A search of the residence of one of CUNNINGHAM’s co-conspirators turned up thousands of dollars in cash. On November 19, 2005 CUNNINGHAM led police on a high speed chase in his black Mercedes. The car crashed and CUNNINGHAM fled leaving behind more than $8,000 in cash strewn on the floor of the vehicle and in the trunk. Police later found a handgun that CUNNINGHAM had tossed from the car during the chase. CUNNINGHAM’s wallet was found in the car. During some of the recorded conversations, CUNNINGHAM told his father he needed to store cash at his parents home. Following his arrest, authorities searched CUNNINGHAM’s parents’ home and in the garage found a suitcase stuffed with cash. In all more than $294,000 was recovered from CUNNINGHAM’s parents’ home and more than $161,000 was recovered at CUNNINGHAM’s home.

CUNNINGHAM pleaded guilty on April 20, 2006, admitting he was a leader of the drug conspiracy. According to records filed in the case, the drug organization smuggled marijuana from Canada and distributed the drug throughout the western United States. In turn, the group allegedly purchased multi-kilograms of cocaine and distributed it throughout the Pacific Northwest and Canada. In all, 22 individuals were arrested, 23 kilograms cocaine and 1500 pounds of marijuana were seized along with $1.3 million dollars in cash and assets.

This was an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation, providing supplemental federal funding to the federal and state agencies involved. The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Douglas B. Whalley and Lisca N. Borichewski.

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110.

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