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Press Release

California Man Pleads Guilty To Marijuana And Money Laundering Conspiracies

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of New York

CONTACT:      Barbara Burns
PHONE:         (716) 843-5817
FAX:            (716) 551-3051
BUFFALO, N.Y.-U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. announced today that James Parish, 31, of Carlsbad, California pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute 100 kilograms or more of marijuana and money laundering conspiracy, before U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara. The marijuana distribution conspiracy carries a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison and a $5 million fine, and the money laundering conspiracy charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $2,000,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Frank T. Pimentel, who is handling the case, stated that between January and September 2014 the defendant sent packages of marijuana from the Carlsbad, California area to Western New York, where the marijuana was then distributed and more than $800,000 in proceeds from the marijuana distribution shipped back from Western New York to the defendant in California
The investigation featured numerous successful law enforcement interceptions and discoveries.  For example, On August 21, 2014, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) seized a package that a person was attempting to ship at a local shipping company. The package contained $66,705 in United States currency. On that same date, the DEA seized a second package containing $77,000 in United States currency that was shipped to a shipping company in Carlsbad, California. On September 26, 2014, DEA agents executed a search warrant at co-conspirator Benjamin Golembiewski’s Buffalo residence and seized $224,123 in United States currency.
Regarding seizures of drugs, on September 18, 2014, Parish dropped off two large boxes at the shipping company in Carlsbad to be shipped to the Buffalo area. These boxes were seized by the DEA and found to contain a total of 30 pounds of marijuana.
The investigation concluded on September 30, 2014, when the defendant traveled from California to Buffalo to collect approximately $600,000 in payments for the shipped marijuana. Parish, who was arrested at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport, was planning to stay at a hotel on Genesee St. in Cheektowaga. The investigation determined that Parish shipped a box to the hotel in his name, and upon locating the box, discovered that it contained an AirSoft Gun, a taser, a bullet proof vest, a knife, handcuffs, a flashlight, a tourniquet strap, a bandage kit and a GPS tracking device.
Defendant Golembiewski previously pleaded guilty to money laundering conspiracy and is pending sentencing.
The plea is the result of an investigation on the part of DEA Special Agents, under the direction of James J. Hunt, Special Agent in Charge, New York Field Division, and the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority Police, under the direction of Chief George W. Gast.
Sentencing is scheduled for December 9, 2015, at 1:00 before Judge Arcara.

Updated August 19, 2015