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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Ohio

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Brothers Sentenced for Roles in Vegas-to-Columbus Oxy Ring

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Two Columbus brothers were sentenced in U.S. District Court for their roles in leading a narcotics trafficking conspiracy. Marcus L. Pryor, 38, was sentenced to 140 months in prison and Marquis L. Pryor, 26, was sentenced to 93 months in prison.

Benjamin C. Glassman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, Timothy J. Plancon, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Ryan L. Korner, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Criminal Investigation, Tommy D. Coke, Inspector in Charge, U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), Pittsburgh Division, and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced the sentence handed down today by U.S. District Judge Michael H. Watson.

According to court documents, the two brothers had been diverting oxycodone pills from the Las Vegas area to Columbus since at least 2012. Law enforcement officials seized numerous U.S. mail packages containing thousands of oxycodone pills and large amounts of cash being sent between Las Vegas and Columbus in connection with this drug trafficking organization.

Agents made additional seizures connected to the defendants at airports and during traffic stops. For example, law enforcement seized 771 pills from Marquis Pryor in June 2016 and a mail parcel addressed to Marquis Pryor containing more than $17,000 in drug proceeds in June 2015.

Airline records show Marcus Pryor traveled between Las Vegas and Columbus no less than 30 times between 2012 and 2017. Similarly, Marquis Pryor took at least 20 flights between the two cities. 

The co-conspirators also engaged in financial transactions – making use of wire transfers, bank accounts, and prepaid debit cards – involving hundreds of thousands of dollars to conceal the nature and source of their profits and promote the drug trafficking organization’s activities.  Money was used to purchase airline tickets, pay for hotel rooms and cover other costs associated with bringing the drugs to Columbus for distribution. 

The Pryor brothers were indicted by a grand jury in June 2017.  In August 2017, each defendant pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute oxycodone and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.

“Marcus and Marquis Pryor orchestrated a significant opioid distribution ring in the Columbus area,” U.S. Attorney Glassman said. “The organization distributed hundreds of thousands of oxycodone pills in our district and laundered in excess of one million dollars. Thanks to cooperative law enforcement efforts from a number of agencies, that operation is now dismantled.”

Marcus and Marquis Pryor also enlisted other co-conspirators to further the drug trafficking organization’s goals by, for example, sending and receiving parcels containing Oxycodone pills or drug proceeds and transporting pills or cash on their persons.

In October 2017, Maisha Caples and Michael Griffin were each sentenced for the same drug distribution and money laundering conspiracy crimes as the Pryors. Caples was sentenced to 45 months in prison and Griffin was sentenced to 80 months in prison.

U.S. Attorney Glassman commended the cooperative investigation by the DEA, IRS Criminal Investigation, USPIS and Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, as well as Assistant United States Attorney Brian J. Martinez, who is representing the United States in this case. 

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Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Opioids
Component(s): 
Contact: 
jennifer.thornton@usdoj.gov
Updated April 11, 2018