Two More Plead Guilty for Roles in Interstate Marijuana Trafficking Conspiracy
PORTLAND, Ore.—In related criminal cases, Cole Williams Griffiths and Raleigh Dragon Lau pleaded guilty today for their roles in a conspiracy to traffic marijuana grown in Hood River, Oregon and Portland to Virginia, Texas, and Florida.
Drug proceeds, in the form of bulk U.S. currency, were returned to Oregon via U.S. mail and passenger luggage on commercial airlines. As part of this investigation, federal authorities have seized approximately 11,000 marijuana plants, 546 pounds of processed marijuana, more than $2.8 million in cash, 51 firearms, 26 vehicles, trailers, pieces of heavy equipment, a yacht, and three houses used as marijuana grow sites, all since August 2017.
Griffiths, 30, of Hood River, and Lau, 33, of Portland, both pleaded guilty to conspiring to manufacture, possess with intent to distribute, and distribute marijuana, maintaining drug-involved premises, and money laundering.
Conspiring to manufacture, possess with intent to distribute, and distribute marijuana and maintaining drug involved premises carries a maximum sentence of life in prison, a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison, a $10 million fine, and a lifetime of supervised release. Money laundering carries a max sentence of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and three years’ supervised release.
Griffiths and Lau will be sentenced on August 5 and 7, 2019, respectively, before U.S. District Court Judge Robert E. Jones.
As part of their plea agreements, Griffiths and Lau have agreed to forfeit any criminally-derived proceeds and property used to facilitate his crimes identified by the government prior to sentencing.
Co-defendants Brittany Lesanta Kizzee, 28, of Houston, Texas and Paul Eugene Thomas, 38, of Portland, pleaded guilty on November 27, 2018 and April 10, 2019, respectively. Thomas will be sentenced on August 6, 2019, and Kizzee will be sentenced on August 7, 2019. Co-defendant Trent Lamar Knight, 30, of Houston, is scheduled to plead guilty on May 8, 2019. Finally, co-defendant Jody Tremayne Wafer, 29, of Houston, is scheduled for trial on June 18, 2019.
This case was investigated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, IRS Criminal Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations and the FBI. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon.
This case was brought as part of the Justice Department’s Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) program, the centerpiece of the department’s strategy for reducing the availability of drugs in the U.S. OCDETF was established in 1982 to mount a comprehensive attack on drug trafficking by disrupting and dismantling major drug trafficking and money laundering organizations. Today, OCDETF combines the resources and expertise of its member federal agencies in coordination with state and local law enforcement.