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Press Release

Ohio Man Pleads Guilty to Structuring More Than $200,000 in Proceeds of Drug Trafficking

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

FRESNO, Calif. -- Jeremy Michael Murphy, 26, of Monroe, Ohio, pleaded guilty today to one count of conspiring to structure cash transactions, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.

According to court documents, Murphy and seven co-defendants opened and maintained bank accounts for the purpose of funneling cash proceeds of marijuana that had been shipped from Fresno and other cities in California and sold in Florida and other states.  Murphy withdrew more than $240,000 in cash proceeds of this marijuana trafficking from his bank accounts in amounts of $10,000 or less to prevent the banks from filing Currency Transaction Reports, which are prepared for any transaction over $10,000 in cash. In total, Murphy and his co-conspirators structured more than $7.5 million of proceeds of drug trafficking.

This case is being brought as part of Operation Footprint, a nationwide law enforcement initiative led by the U.S. Attorney’s Offices, the Internal Revenue Service- Criminal Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the United States Postal Inspection Service. Operation Footprint targets large drug trafficking organizations by identifying the transfer of drug proceeds through financial institutions, bulk cash smuggling and other forms of money transfers. Operation Footprint is focused on bringing criminal charges based on Bank Secrecy Act violations in addition to violations of the Controlled Substances Act and the Money Laundering Control Act.

This case is also the product of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), a focused multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional task force investigating and prosecuting the most significant drug trafficking organizations throughout the United States by leveraging the combined expertise of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Grant B. Rabenn, Patrick R. Delahunty, and Jeffrey Spivak are prosecuting the case.

On February 11, 2015, Chad Riffle, 23, of Citrus Springs, Florida, was sentenced to five years in prison after pleading guilty to the structuring conspiracy. Peter Capodieci, 24, of Crystal River, Florida; Miguel Gonzalez, 32, of Fresno; and Bree Benson, 21, of Citrus Springs, Florida, have pleaded guilty to conspiring to structure financial transactions and are awaiting sentencing. Charges are pending against Brandon Michael Thomas, 25, of Fresno, California. Ashley Starling Thomas, 28, of Lake Charles, Louisiana; and Aseel Al-Saber, 26, of Orange County, California, are scheduled for trial on April 26, 2016. The charges against Brandon Thomas, Ashley Starling Thomas, and Al-Saber are only allegations; they are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Murphy is scheduled to be sentenced by United States District Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill on March 7, 2016. The maximum statutory penalty for conspiracy to structure is five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The actual sentences, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.

Updated November 23, 2015

Drug Trafficking
Press Release Number: 1:14-cr-228 LJO