Skip to main content
Press Release

Canton Man Sentenced To Nearly 14 Years In Federal Prison For Managing Transnational Methamphetamine Trafficking Ring

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

BOSTON – A Canton man was sentenced yesterday in federal court in Boston in connection with managing and supervising a methamphetamine trafficking and money laundering ring operating between Massachusetts and California that authorities say was responsible for distributing 200 pounds of methamphetamine.

James Giannetta, 64, was sentenced by U.S. Chief District Court Judge Patti B. Saris to 167 months in prison, five years of supervised release, and ordered to forfeit $281,107. On Feb. 14, 2019, Giannetta pleaded guilty to his role in managing and supervising a cross-country methamphetamine distribution ring. 

Giannetta and 10 co-defendants from Massachusetts and California were indicted in 2016 for their roles in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and to launder monetary instruments. The indictment was the result of a two-year investigation of methamphetamine trafficking that alleged that beginning in at least 2013, the defendants conspired to transport sizeable quantities of methamphetamine from San Diego, Calif., to Massachusetts, where it was distributed in the greater Boston area. Proceeds from the sale of that methamphetamine were then transported and/or transferred back to California and laundered in various ways.  

At Giannetta’s sentencing hearing, one of Giannetta’s co-conspirators testified that Giannetta had been the organizer of the conspiracy. The co-conspirator explained that Giannetta had served as a mentor to him and that Giannetta introduced him to his San Diego-based suppliers. Later, after the co-conspirator took over a leadership role, Giannetta continued to receive methamphetamine for his Boston-based customers and received a share of the profits from the methamphetamine distribution ring. The co-conspirator estimated that approximately 200 pounds of methamphetamine was sent from California to Massachusetts during the conspiracy. 

Giannetta was convicted of federal drug trafficking in the 1980s, and after his release from federal prison, he continued to distribute drugs. When apprehended by law enforcement, Giannetta provided information about others in the hopes of limiting his own personal criminal exposure.

All 11 defendants have pleaded guilty to federal charges and four (including Giannetta) have been sentenced: Christopher Halfond, a California-based supplier was sentenced by U.S. Senior District Judge George A. O’Toole, Jr., to 140 months in federal prison; Mario Castro, a Boston-based street-level distributor, was sentenced to 57 months in federal prison; and Jorge Grandon, Castro’s distribution partner, was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison.

United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling; Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; Joseph W. Cronin, Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service; Brian D. Boyle, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Boston Field Division; Kristina O’Connell, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigations in Boston; William Ferrara, Director of Field Operations of U.S. Customs and Border Protection; Colonel Kerry A. Gilpin, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police; and Boston Police Commissioner William Gross made the announcement. The Massachusetts Department of Correction; Norfolk County Sherriff’s Office; Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office; and the Reading, Watertown, Quincy, Chelsea, Braintree, Peabody, Waltham, and Woburn Police Departments; Connecticut State Police; San Diego Harbor Police Department; and Postal Inspectors in San Diego assisted with the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys James E. Arnold and Jared C. Dolan of Lelling’s Narcotics & Money Laundering Unit prosecuted the case.

Updated May 21, 2019

Drug Trafficking