Five Dallas Men Sentenced For Various Roles In Hydroponic Marijuana Growing Operation
DALLAS — Today, Louis Michael Olerio, Jr., 36, of Dallas, was sentenced to 24 months in federal prison, following his guilty plea in October 2012 to conspiracy to commit money laundering, stemming from his role in a hydroponic marijuana growing operation. Five other defendants charged in the case also pleaded guilty to various felony offenses and received sentences of 18 months to 36 months, as noted below. Today’s announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas.
The other five defendants convicted and their sentences are:
Brian Edward Deloney, 37, 18 months
Jeremy Cash McElroy, 37, 36 months
Eric Irving Love, 35, 30 months
Jeffrey Scott Gannon, 34, 27 months
Stephen Ray Willeford, Jr., 39, 24 months
McElroy also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering. Love and Gannon pleaded guilty to conspiracy to maintain drug involved premises and Deloney pleaded guilty to maintaining a drug involved premise.
According to documents filed in the case, McElroy, Olerio, Gannon, and Love were fraternity brothers at Southern Methodist University (SMU) in the past. Between 2004 and June 2010, the defendants conspired to maintain 11 houses, in Dallas and Richardson, Texas, to cultivate and distribute highly potent hydroponic marijuana. Almost all of the marijuana grown at these houses by the defendants was ultimately delivered to Deloney for distribution.
After having grown marijuana with Olerio at one of the houses for numerous cycles, McElroy decided to distance himself from the day-to-day operations of the conspiracy and agreed to sell two of the marijuana grow houses to Olerio, while retaining a percentage of the proceeds in the sale of marijuana grown in those houses. To that end, McElroy transferred the deed for one of the houses to Olerio and sold another one of the grow houses to Olerio, leaving the marijuana grow equipment in both houses so that Olerio could continue to growing operation in them. Olerio agreed to continue the operation in these houses and pay McElroy twenty percent of the profits from the sale of the marijuana. McElroy and Olerio conducted financial transactions with the intent to conceal any ownership McElroy had in the profits from the marijuana sales.
The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigations and the Drug Enforcement Administration. Deputy Criminal Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Dewald was in charge of the prosecution.