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Press Release

Two Men Sentenced to Prison for Roles in Cross-Country Marijuana Distribution Ring

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Arizona

     PHOENIX – On March 9, 2015, two defendants were sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Neil V. Wake for their roles in a cross-country marijuana distribution ring.  Darius Blackwell, 38, of Mesa, Ariz., was sentenced to over 9 years in prison and Grady Blackwell, 62, of Lithonia, Ga., was sentenced to 5 years in prison.  Both defendants previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess marijuana with intent to distribute and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

     According to their plea agreements, the Blackwells participated in a conspiracy to distribute marijuana using the United States Postal Service.  Their organization purchased marijuana in Arizona, mailed it throughout the United States, primarily to Georgia, and then arranged for the proceeds to be sent back to Arizona.  Shipping records and seizures show that at least 50 kilograms of marijuana were mailed in this fashion.  In addition, seven bank accounts were opened in March 2012 for the purpose of receiving and transferring the proceeds of the scheme.  Nearly $410,000 was deposited into these accounts (largely via cash deposits in Georgia) and over $395,000 was withdrawn (largely via cash withdrawals in Arizona).

     The investigation in this case was conducted by the United Postal Inspection Service, Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation, and the Mesa Police Department. The prosecution was handled by Donald Pashayan, Brian Larson and Mark Wenker, Assistant U.S. Attorneys, District of Arizona, Phoenix.


CASE NUMBER:           CR-13-1462-PHX-NVW

RELEASE NUMBER:   2015-023_Blackwell

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Updated March 11, 2015