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Press Release

Seven People Arrested in Marijuana Trafficking Conspiracy

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

BIRMINGHAM – Federal agents this week arrested seven people indicted in April on charges that they conspired to distribute marijuana, announced U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town and Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Special Agent in Charge Marcus Watson.

A 12-count superseding indictment charges Stephen Lamar Gadson, 38, Lynn Darnell Gadson, Jr., 32, Ryan Jamal Washington, 31, Keoni Keith Gaddy, 30, Erica Jacinda Gadson, 30, Cormisha Ketua Quinn, 24, and Janacia Latrice Thomas, 28, all from Birmingham, in a conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute more than 100 kilograms of marijuana between January 2016 and late March 2019.  The charges arise from an operation to bring large quantities of marijuana from California to Birmingham via commercial airline flights.

“These arrests are the result of a long-term investigation by our law enforcement partners,” Town said.  “Guns and drugs are a volatile mix, as well as a problem for the Northern District of Alabama, which we will continue to do everything within our power to stop.” 

“These indictments represent the long term enforcement efforts by ATF and area law enforcement,” Watson said.  “As a result, the violent criminal acts that plaque our neighborhoods have been reduced.

The indictment includes one count charging Stephen Gadson, Lynn Gadson, Jr., Ryan Washington, Erica Gadson, and Cormesia Quinn with in a money laundering.

According to the indictment, Stephen Gadson, Lynn Gadson, Jr., and Ryan Washington also have individual federal firearm charges.  Stephen Gadson is charged with possessing and discharging a firearm during a drug trafficking crime.  Lynn Gadson, Jr. and Ryan Washington are charged with felon in possession of a firearm. 

Stephen Gadson, who led the conspiracy, was indicted in February for being a felon in possession of a firearm.  In January 2019, ATF agents and Jefferson County Sheriff's deputies found a gun in his car while arresting him on an outstanding state trafficking marijuana warrant from 2016.  The state warrant arose from an incident where Gadson is alleged to have shot a Jefferson County Sherriff’s Deputy during a narcotics search warrant in June 2016.  Three of Gadson's individual charges in the April 2019 federal indictment deal with Gadson's conduct during the 2016 arrest, including discharging a firearm during a drug trafficking crime, which has a mandatory minimum consecutive sentence of ten years in federal prison.

The mandatory minimum for possession with intent to distribute 100 kilograms of marijuana is five years in prison.  The maximum penalty for money laundering is 20 years in prison.  The minimum penalty for discharging a firearm during a drug trafficking crime is a 10 years in prison, which must be served consecutively to any other sentence imposed.  The penalty for felon in possession of a firearm is a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. 

ATF investigated the case along with the Irondale Police Department, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, Birmingham Police Department, and Oxford Police Department.  Assistant United States Attorney John Geer is prosecuting. 

An indictment carries only charges. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.


Updated May 3, 2019