President Barack Obama's War on Drugs is alive an well as the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) arrests 18 business owners and employees alleged to be part of a marijuana business operating in Anne Arundel and Howard Counties, Maryland; New Jersey; and California. Libertarians have been working to convince Obama not to continue these raids and focus the federal government's resources on crimes with actual victims, however he has yet to relent.
Approximately 250 law enforcement agents participated in the execution of search and arrest warrants on last Wednesday. Fifteen of the defendants have been charged by indictment with conspiring to distribute 1,000 kilograms or more of marijuana, and all of these defendants except Charles Thomson are also charged with conspiring to bank and spend the fruits of their labor:
Kerem Dayi, a/k/a “Kenny” and “Cashmir,” age 40, of Gambrills, Maryland, and California;
Robert Randall Glickman, age 61, of Dallas, Texas;
Scott Russell Segal, age 31, of Glen Burnie and Hanover, Maryland;
Gabriel Gonzalez, age 26;
Gokahn Bergal, age 29, of Clifton, New Jersey;
Steven Neil Madden, age 43, of Randallstown, Maryland;
Martin Dandy, age 31, of Arnold, Maryland;
Patrick Russo, age 39, of Fairfield, New Jersey;
Ryan Burton Wheeler, age 32, of Annapolis, Maryland;
Anthony Caesar Santoiemma, a/k/a “Bo,”age 43, of Annapolis;
Anthony Evans Owings Seen, age 26, of Glen Burnie;
Christopher John Garner, age 41, of Hanover;
Frederick Blair Thomas, age 31, of Glen Burnie;
Sae Hyong Hwang, age 33, of Odenton, Maryland; and
Charles Michael Thomson, age 62, of Savage Minnesota.
The indictment was returned under seal on January 10, 2013. Three defendants are charged by complaint with the marijuana business:
Lineberry, age 36, of Arnold;
Jeffrey Dennis Small, age 32, of Annapolis; and
Donald Goodman, age 63, of Baltimore.
The complaint was filed on Tuesday, January 15, 2013 under seal. The indictment and complaint were unsealed today upon the arrests of 15 defendants and the execution of search warrants at 17 residences and businesses of the defendants in Maryland, five in New Jersey and one in California. At least 30 vehicles, 60 pounds of marijuana, $300,000 in cash and 35 firearms have been seized.
Just about everyone got in on the action as the indictment and complaint were announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Acting Special Agent in Charge Robert Brisolari of the Drug Enforcement Administration - Washington Field Division; Anne Arundel County Police Chief Larry W. Tolliver; Howard County Police Chief William McMahon; Special Agent in Charge Steven L. Gerido of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives - Baltimore Field Division; Acting Special Agent in Charge Sheila Olander of the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation, Washington, D.C. Field Office; Special Agent in Charge William Winter of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); and Postal Inspector in Charge Gary R. Barksdale of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service - Washington Division.
The affidavits supporting the complaint and search warrants allege that the defendants operated a marijuana business in Anne Arundel and Howard Counties, but also dealt a little in cocaine and diverted pharmaceuticals. The investigation began when defendant Frederick Thomas was in a single car accident on Route 100 at Quarterfield Road in Anne Arundel County on January 7, 2012. Inside his car, agents discovered a shrink-wrapped package of 590 grams of marijuana, a money counting machine, a tally sheet and 126 bank money bands for $2,000.
The affidavits allege that further investigation revealed that Dayi is the business’s leader. Dayi obtains the product from contacts in California and New Jersey. Dayi has 20 pounds or more of marijuana shipped, or 50 to 400 pounds of marijuana driven, to Maryland at a time. Dayi directs the storage of the business's product at houses rented and managed by him and employees of the business, and directs the movement of their product and cash between Maryland, California, Ohio and New Jersey.
According to the affidavits, Dayi supplies the product to Segal, who is the main wholesale distributer in Anne Arundel County. Segal maintained a house off of Interstate 97 in Anne Arundel County. Santoiemma allegedly brokers deals on behalf of Dayi and makes a commission. Proceeds from the business were allegedly sewn into handbags and delivered to the source of supply in California. Santoiemma allegedly supplied young women to the organization who would fly from Baltimore International Airport (BWI) to California with these handbags. Thomas allegedly worked at the direction of Dayi, Segal and Santoiemma.
The affidavits allege that Wheeler is a wholesale customer of Dayi, and supplies ounce and pound quantities of marijuana and cocaine to others for further distribution. Co-defendants Segal, Madden, Bergal, Gonzalez, Glickman, Hwang, Dandy, Seen and Russo are in Dayi’s innermost, trusted business partners, who either buy/sell the business's products and/or operate the daily business of Krush, and Ebay business they established.
Glickman allegedly advised Dayi as to the best ways to operate the business's cash flow. They did this by: putting bulk cash in cars; sending cash through the mail and commercial delivery services; making business cash deposits into bank accounts and removing it from banks in other states; and by investing money into, and removing money from, otherwise legitimate businesses operated by members of the business . The organization allegedly established an Ebay business named Krush, NYC, LLC for diversification purposes and to help move other products. Krush conducts EBay sales of liquidated shoes, clothing and accessories, and used a warehouse in Jessup, Maryland for their business purposes.
The indictment seeks a money judgment of at least $10 million, and the forfeiture of eight properties, 22 bank accounts, 24 vehicles, and the assets and inventory of three businesses.
All of the defendants face a maximum sentence of life in prison for operating a business; and the 14 defendants charged in the indictment with the money laundering conspiracy face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Initial appearances of the defendants arrested in Maryland began at 2:00 pm today in U.S. District Court in Baltimore.
An indictment and complaint are not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by indictment or complaint is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.