A 28-year-old Maryland man received an 11-year federal prison sentence for marijuana crimes and money laundering charges. His attorney said that the sentence was much lower than the 13-year sentence that the government wanted. However, she still thinks the sentence is too long. The drug charges involved the distribution of 700 to 1,000 kilograms of marijuana.
The accused man was one of 10 people involved in the drug ring and money laundering plot. He was also sentenced to an additional four years of probation and will need to give up more than $1 million in alleged proceeds from the schemes. He was engaged in the transactions with three other people between March 2011 and December 2012 in Montgomery County.
Officials heard nearly 80 wiretapped phone conversations with two others who were also allegedly involved in drug trafficking. During the investigation, packages with between 2 and 4 pounds of marijuana were sent to him each month from California via mail, car and plane. He paid $3,000 to $4,000 for each pound of the drug. The money was then allegedly laundered in several bank accounts.
His defense attorney said that the man was drawn in because of the easy money of drug sales. The courts enhanced his sentence because he has prior drug-sales convictions. However, his attorney claimed that one of those was a relatively minor conviction for selling a small amount of marijuana for only $55. She insisted that he wasn’t a career criminal but that he worked to help his family.
The courts sometimes try to increase penalties for offenders who have a criminal record. A criminal defense attorney might be able to seek a reduced sentence for clients even if they have prior convictions.
Source: Gazette.net, “Silver Spring man gets 11 years on drug charges”, St. John Barned-Smith , December 11, 2013