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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of North Carolina

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Leader Of Marijuana Trafficking Network Sentenced To Almost 25 Years In Prison

Defendant’s Father, a Former SBI Narcotics Agent, Previously Sentenced

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The leader of a drug trafficking network responsible for transporting more than one ton of marijuana to the Charlotte area and laundering over $1.7 million in drug proceeds was sentenced today by Chief U.S. District Judge Frank D. Whitney, announced Jill Westmoreland Rose, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.  Ryan Tucker, 31, of Charlotte, was ordered to serve 292 months in federal prison, to be followed by 10 years of supervised release.

U.S. Attorney Rose is joined in making today’s announcement by Nick Annan, Special Agent in Charge of ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Atlanta and the Carolinas; Thomas J. Holloman III, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CI); and Chief Kerr Putney of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department.  

According to filed court documents and court proceedings, from in or about 2008 to in or about 2014, Tucker used individuals operating as “couriers” to transport well in excess of 2,000 pounds of marijuana from California to the Charlotte area.  Court records indicate that Tucker’s network of drug couriers included Tucker’s father, Frederick Elwood Tucker, a retired SBI narcotics agent, and an unindicted commercial pilot who used a private jet to transport a shipment. According to court records, in most instances, Tucker’s couriers transported the packaged marijuana in vehicles and commercial freight carriers. 

Court documents show that Tucker also utilized his and other individuals’ bank accounts to launder more than $1.7 million of the proceeds of his drug trafficking.  In court today, Tucker’s prison sentence was enhanced, based on other relevant factors, including Tucker’s possession of firearms, his leadership role, his extensive criminal history, and an incident in which he shot and killed a person who was attempting to rob his residence of drugs or drug money.

Ryan Tucker’s father, Frederick Elwood Tucker, 69, of Lead, South Dakota, was previously sentenced to 37 month in prison, and three years of supervised release for his role in the drug conspiracy. 

The defendant will be transferred to the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons upon designation of a federal facility.  All federal sentences are served without the possibility of parole.

This case is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation, codenamed “All Tuckered Out,” which is being led by HSI, IRS, and CMPD.  OCDETF is a joint federal, state and local cooperative approach to combat drug trafficking and is the nation’s primary tool for disrupting and dismantling major drug trafficking organizations, targeting national and regional drug trafficking organizations and coordinating the necessary law enforcement entities and resources to disrupt or dismantle the targeted criminal organization and seize their assets.

The ongoing investigation and prosecution for the government is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven R. Kaufman of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte.


Updated February 23, 2016