Virginia Man Pleads Guilty to Participating in Large-Scale Narcotics Trafficking and Possession of a Firearm
WASHINGTON – Amir Gibreel, 30, of Northern Virginia, pled guilty yesterday for his role in a large-scale marijuana distribution enterprise, announced U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu, Charles A. Dayoub, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Criminal Division, FBI Washington Field Office, and Ashan M. Benedict, Special Agent in Charge of the Washington Field Division of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
Gibreel pled guilty before the Honorable Rudolph Contreras in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to one count of possessing with intent to distribute marijuana and one count of unlawful possession of a firearm by a person previously under felony indictment. Gibreel faces up to five years of prison, up to three years of supervised release; and a fine up to $250,000. As part of his plea, Gibreel accepted responsibility for running a marijuana business and possessing with intent to distribute over 80 pounds of marijuana. This conviction represents Gibreel’s third marijuana-related conviction. Judge Contreras scheduled sentencing for October 24, 2019.
According to the Government’s evidence, in the summer of 2018, law enforcement associated with the FBI’s Safe Streets Task Force began investigating the defendant for the illegal distribution of marijuana. The FBI learned that Gibreel was operating a website called JetpackDC. The website specifically sells marijuana through an online distribution system. Much like Uber Eats or other internet delivery services, a user would obtain contact information from the internet, and then contact a telephone number to coordinate the sale and drop-off of various packages of marijuana, ranging from small sales in the low-dollar amount, or high sales in the hundreds of dollars. The FBI learned that Gibreel operated stash houses to prepare and market his product. Gibreel also utilized Airbnb, a housing internet rental company, to store his marijuana. Gibreel and his associates were making $80,000 to $100,000 monthly.
In September and October of 2018, the FBI conducted three separate controlled purchases to identify the defendant’s Airbnb safe house. Based on the controlled purchases and coordinated surveillance, FBI was able to identify two locations as possible premises associated with the distribution of marijuana: 18 N Street N.W. (an Airbnb apartment used by the defendant) and 230 Rhode Island Avenue N.E. (Gibreel’s leased apartment).
On October 30, 2018, FBI executed search warrants at both locations. The defendant was present at the 18 N Street apartment, along with four other individuals who stated that they did not reside at the location. Law enforcement identified one individual as one of the delivery drivers from the earlier controlled purchases.
During the search of 18 N St. N.W., law enforcement found several of Gibreel’s personal belongings in an upstairs bedroom, including a blue backpack with the JetpackDC label. Law enforcement found several documents, mail matter, and notebooks inside the backpack, which belonged to the defendant. In the same bedroom, law enforcement found approximately $17,230 in cash on the closet shelf, and another $1,939 in cash in the front right pocket of a pair of blue jeans that Gibreel identified as his own. On a folding table in the same room, law enforcement found Gibreel’s bankcard and $352 in cash. On the bed, law enforcement found two ledger books containing information pertaining to the sale of marijuana. In a second upstairs bedroom, law enforcement located multiple bins, cardboard boxes, and canisters containing various amounts of marijuana, a suitcase containing marijuana vape cartridges, and marijuana packaging materials, such as a label maker and heat-sealing equipment. In total, the approximate weight of the marijuana found in the second bedroom was 80 pounds, with a street value of over $100,000.
During the search of 230 Rhode Island Avenue N.E.—no one was present during the warrant’s execution—law enforcement found a black 9mm Springfield XD semi-automatic pistol (Serial No. US8499099), which contained 16 rounds of ammunition, in the sole bedroom.Underneath the firearm was mail matter addressed to the defendant, $15,000 in cash, and medical cannabis stickers. In the kitchen, law enforcement also seized an extended magazine, marijuana packaging materials, grinders, four ledgers (containing information pertaining to marijuana sales in the thousands of dollars per day), bank statements, nine cell phones, additional mail matter, four laptops, a money counter, three tablets, and a bag containing JetpackDC paraphernalia. Law enforcement also recovered approximately 900 grams of marijuana from the kitchen and living room.
Both the firearm and ammunition possessed by Gibreel had been shipped and transported in interstate commerce and in fact, the defendant had purchased the firearm through an intermediary in Northern Virginia.
Finally, on October 30, 2018, the defendant was aware that on April 30, 2018, he had been indicted by a grand jury in Arlington County, Commonwealth of Virginia, in case number CR18000582 (Sale/Distribute Marijuana) and CR18000583 (Possession of a Controlled Substance). Both of the indicted charges are felony offenses in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and are punishable by a prison term not exceeding one year.
In announcing the plea, U.S. Attorney Liu, Acting Special Agent in Charge Dayoub, and Special Agent in Charge Benedict commended the assistance provided by our joint law enforcement partners and the Arlington County Commonwealth Attorney’s Office. They also acknowledged the efforts of those who handled the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory Rosen of the Violent Crime and Narcotics Trafficking Section.