News and Press Releases

Drug Ring Used Lawyer, Real Estate Agent, and Businessman to Launder Drug Money

July 13, 2007

JOSHUA MACKE, 35, of Bellevue, Washington was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to six years in prison, and three years of supervised release for Conspiracy to Distribute Marijuana and Conspiracy to Engage in Money Laundering. As part of his plea agreement of March 24, 2007, MACKE will forfeit to the government three late model vehicles, nearly $1 million in currency and investments, and his home. At sentencing U.S. District Judge Ricardo Martinez noted “this was an extensive organization with large amounts of illegal drugs and money.”

MACKE was arrested in May 2006, following an investigation of his drug trafficking activities. MACKE was distributing pound quantities of B.C. Bud marijuana in the Seattle area. The marijuana was being transported into Washington State from Canada. MACKE was one of some 40 defendants identified as part of Operation Frozen Timber. MACKE attempted to launder the proceeds of his drug activity by using cash to invest in real estate and in one instance a fledgling business. Specifically, between June 2003 and February 2005, MACKE invested more than $100,000 in cash in a flat screen TV company called Flat TV USA. No records of the investment were ever created. Later MACKE delivered more than $500,000 to a mortgage broker for real estate investments. Some of that money was transferred to real estate lawyer Joel Manalang. MACKE also invested in real estate in Kent, and purchased a Lexus, Ford Truck and Dodge Truck with cash from the drug trade.

Some of MACKE’s co-conspirators have already been sentenced to prison. Attorney Joel Manalang and businessman James Baxter were both sentenced to 18 months in prison for their roles in the money laundering.

The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Susan Roe and Ronald Friedman.

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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