EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio (WKBN) – Six people, including a man from East Liverpool, are facing federal charges for shipping over one ton of marijuana from California to Ohio with the intent to sell it.
Federal prosecutors filed charges against Dustin Robinson, of East Liverpool; William B. Murphy, of Hawaii; Michael W. Spellman, of Hawaii, Peter Reichert, of Lyndhurst, Ohio; Young Hee Park, of Broadview Heights; and So Young Park, of California.
All the defendants are charged with conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute 100 kilograms or more of marijuana. Murphy, Spellman, and Parks are charged with conspiracy to launder money.
According to the indictment, Murphy grew marijuana in Hawaii, California and Oregon and had it shipped to Ohio. The pot was shipped in foil coffee bags, which also contained loose coffee beans.
The packages were mailed to various locations in Northeast Ohio for distribution.
Marijuana and money changed hands between all six suspects, resulting in over $348,000 being laundered before cash payments were sent back to Murphy in California from over 25 different post offices in Ohio.
The scheme also involved a bank account opened up in Mentor where the dealers would make deposits from different bank branches to avoid suspicion.
Investigators say the group used money from their profits to run a greenhouse in California, living expenses, drones, plane tickets, and other living expenses.
“From coast to coast the IRS will take every step to ferret out those who attempt to launder the proceeds of illegal drug profits,” said Ryan L. Korner, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, Cincinnati Field Office. “The laundering of illegal drug profits is as important and essential to drug traffickers as the very distribution of their illegal drugs. Without these ill-gotten gains, the traffickers could not finance their organizations.”
In all, 1,113 packages were shipped to Ohio between 2014 and 2016, and 965 packages of bulk cash were mailed from Ohio to California.