News and Press Releases

Marijuana Trafficker Sentenced
To 27 Years in Federal Prison



Sept. 28, 2011

KANSAS CITY, KAN. – The leader of a drug trafficking organization that did more than $20 million worth of business distributing marijuana in metropolitan Kansas City was sentenced today to 27 years in federal prison, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said.

Gladstone McDowell, 60, Kansas City, Mo., was convicted on one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana, one count of engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, one count of money laundering and one count of attempted possession with intent to distribute more than 50 kilograms of marijuana.

During trial in April in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Kan., prosecutors presented evidence that McDowell was the leader of a drug trafficking organization with outposts in Phoenix, Ariz., Las Vegas, Nev., Kansas City, Kan., Kansas City, Mo., Nashville, Tenn., and Paterson, N.J., as well as other cities in Florida and in the country of Jamaica. The traffickers acquired marijuana from sources of supply based in Arizona, distributing marijuana to cells across the country via shipments sent through parcel services. The traffickers also used parcel services to send bulk currency back to sources of supply in Phoenix. McDowell’s organization laundered money through members using bank accounts based in the United States and in Jamaica.

In July 2007, federal investigators identified large money transfers through the Bank of America, with the majority involving the Kansas City metro area and the Paterson, N.J., metro area. They identified a business called Global Cable Company that was used to launder drug funds. In May 2007 five members of Gladstone’s operation were arrested in Maricopa County, Ariz., and investigators seized more than $200,000 in cash and more than 600 pounds of marijuana. In November 2007, three members of McDowell’s organization were stopped in Goodwell County, Okla. Investigators seized more than $139,000 in cash concealed in their vehicle. In February 2008, Las Vegas police seized more than $366,000 in cash from top boxes at a UPS store. In May 2008, investigators seized $150,000 on three Fed Ex packages in Marietta, Calif.

Grissom commended the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department, Assistant U.S. Attorney Kim Martin and Assistant U.S. Attorney David Smith for their work on the case.


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