Nine people indicted for marijuana distribution and money laundering conspiracy
Nine people were charged in a superseding indictment for their roles in a conspiracy to ship marijuana from California to Ohio, then launder the drug proceeds and send the money back to California, said Steven M. Dettelbach, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio.
Indicted are: James Sorgi, 33, of McKinleyville, Calif.; Robert Serina, 35, of Cleveland; Stuart Pflaum, 34, of Hudson; Craig Kavak, 26, of Parma; Allyson Love, 27, of McKinleyville, Calif.; Dino Silvestri, 32, of Parma; Dustin Allred, 34, of Parma; Madelaine Davidson, 21, of McKinleyville, Calif., and Daniel Linton, 27, of McKinleyville, Calif.
Sorgi operated a drug trafficking organization that shipped marijuana from California to Cleveland. He grew the marijuana in California and also obtained marijuana from other growers. Sorgi then worked with Serina and Pflaum to direct others to receive multi-pound shipments of marijuana in Ohio and sell it there, according to the indictment.
Sorgi, working with Serina, Pflaum and others, then directed people to collect the drug proceeds and make cash deposits into various bank accounts. Sorgi, through Pflaum and Serina, then directed people to convert the cash into money orders and send the money to California, according to the indictment.
This took place between June 2013 and Februay 2015, according to the indictment.
Prosecutors are seeking to forfeit at least $86,000 from the organization.
“The laundering of illegal drug profits is as important and essential to drug traffickers as the very distribution of their illegal drugs,” said Kathy A. Enstrom, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, Cincinnati Field Office. “Without these ill-gotten gains, the traffickers could not finance their organizations. IRS Criminal Investigation is committed with taking the profit away from the drug traffickers and ensuring the major players of these operations are held accountable.”
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michelle Baeppler and Margaret Sweeney following an investigation by the Northern Ohio Law Enforcement Task Force. The NOLETF is a task force comprised of investigators from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Cleveland Division of Police, Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority, Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service, Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office, Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation and the police departments of Cleveland Heights, Euclid, Lakewood, the Regional Transit Authority, Westlake and Shaker Heights. The NOLETF is also one of the initial Ohio High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area initiatives, which supports and helps coordinate numerous Ohio drug task forces in their efforts to eliminate or reduce drug trafficking in Ohio.
If convicted, the defendants’ sentences will be determined by the court after a review of the federal sentencing guidelines and factors unique to the case, including the defendant’s prior criminal record (if any), the defendant’s role in the offense and the characteristics of the violation.
An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.