Utah Brothers Sentenced For Trafficking Marijuana Into Rhode Island
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Benjamin J. Daniels, 38, of Sandy, Utah, was sentenced today in federal court in Providence, R.I., to 34 months in federal prison to be followed by 5 years supervised release for his participation in a conspiracy to ship 239 pounds of marijuana to Rhode Island from Pennsylvania in December 2013.
Benjamin’s brother, Michael Daniels, 33, of Provo, Utah, formerly of Tiverton, R.I., was sentenced on December 18, 2014, to 18 months in federal prison to be followed by 3 years supervised release for his participation in the drug trafficking conspiracy.
The sentences, imposed by U.S. District Court Chief Judge William E. Smith, are announced by United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha and Bruce M. Foucart, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) for New England.
Benjamin Daniels pleaded guilty on September 14, 2014, to conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute fifty kilograms or more of marijuana. Michael Daniels pleaded guilty on August 28, 2014, to conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute fifty kilograms or more of marijuana.
According to court files and information presented to the court, in December 2013, HSI agents in Pittsburgh, working with the Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Division in Riverside, CA, conducted an investigation of a single-engine aircraft located at an airport in New Castle, PA, believed to be involved in the transportation of large quantities of marijuana. A court authorized search of the aircraft resulted in the discovery of twelve sealed boxes marked “Sun Max, Hot Water Solutions” which contained a total of 239 pounds of marijuana. HSI agents determined that Benjamin Daniels arranged to have the packages flown to New England for delivery, either to Benjamin Daniels or a person designated by him.
On December 16, 2013, federal agents followed the shipment from Pennsylvania to North Central Airport in Smithfield, RI. Once on the ground, at the direction of Benjamin Daniels, the boxes were transported to a hotel in Lincoln, RI. At the hotel, HSI agents arrested Michael Daniels as he was loading the boxes into a rented vehicle that he was driving. Agents seized the twelve boxes of marijuana and $4,694 in cash found on Michael Daniels’ person.
A federal arrest warrant was issued for Benjamin Daniels. He was arrested on January 31, 2014, during a traffic stop in Park City, Utah.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul F. Daly, Jr.
The Rhode Island State Police High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force and Warwick Police Department assisted in the investigation of this matter.
To assist the media and the public, a glossary of federal judicial terms and procedures is available at http://www.justice.gov/usao/justice101/