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Press Release

Columbia Marijuana Dealer Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Maryland
Distributed More Than a Ton of Marijuana

Greenbelt, Maryland – U.S. District Judge Paul W. Grimm sentenced Leonaldo Harris, age 34, of Columbia, Maryland today to 10 years in prison, followed by five years of supervised release, for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute between 1,000 and 3,000 kilograms of marijuana.  Judge Grimm also ordered Harris to pay a money judgment of $2 million.

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Andre R. Watson of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); Colonel William M. Pallozzi, Superintendent of the Maryland State Police; and Colonel Tyree C. Blocker, Commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police.

According to his plea agreement, Harris conspired with Jermaine McGregor and Jennifer Sims to obtain and transport marijuana from California to Maryland for distribution. Harris arranged for bulk cash to be transported from Maryland to California to purchase marijuana. McGregor assisted in the transportation of the cash, packing money in suitcases which he took with him on commercial flights from Maryland to California. Harris arranged for McGregor to make at least six trips to California, transporting between $200,000 and $250,000 on each flight.  Harris directed McGregor and other conspirators where to go in California to obtain the marijuana, which the conspirators then transported to a residence in California controlled by Harris. Harris, McGregor, and other co-conspirators then packaged the marijuana for shipment to Maryland. 

Harris arranged for the marijuana to be shipped to a warehouse in Beltsville, Maryland, where Sims often accepted delivery of the marijuana.  Harris, McGregor and other members of the conspiracy then repackaged the marijuana for distribution and sold it to others in Maryland.  Harris and Sims lived together in Columbia, where they counted the drug proceeds and stored.

On April 19, 2013, law enforcement executed a search warrant at Harris and Sims’ residence and recovered a money counter, 17 kilograms of marijuana, and a 9mm handgun.

Jermaine McGregor, age 37, of Inglewood, California, and Jennifer Simms, age 33, of Columbia, Maryland previously pleaded guilty to their roles in the conspiracy.  McGregor was sentenced to 30 months 14 days in prison, and Sims was sentenced to four years of probation.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised HSI Baltimore, the Maryland State Police and Pennsylvania State Police for their work in the investigation.  Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nicolas A. Mitchell and Bryan E. Foreman, who prosecuted the case.

Updated March 25, 2016

Drug Trafficking