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Conspiracy allegations result in seizure of airplane and property

An alleged drug conspiracy that supposedly centered on the Maryland area ultimately resulted in the seizure of an airplane worth $450,000 by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Individuals supposedly involved in the drug ring were accused of selling marijuana in Maryland that was brought in by the airplane from out-of-state.

A large number of arrests have resulted in three federal cases and a number of other state-level cases in Maryland.  The federal case involved 16 people indicted back in late 2010.  Those arrested are claimed to have been involved in a $30 million drug operation involving distribution of marijuana to a number of eastern states.  Others arrested in a federal case have apparently pled guilty and made plea agreements with federal prosecuting attorneys.

Everything adds up to a complex set of allegations that seemed to have come to light due to dealings with a number of so-called cooperating witnesses. A criminal defense attorney for one of the individuals indicted describes the government witnesses as "looking for a benefit from the government." While those cooperating likely are trying to buy themselves shorter sentences with their testimony, others are facing seizure of properties and federal charges that may result in decades of imprisonment.

It must be remembered that it is up to law enforcement officers and prosecuting attorneys to prove drug offense cases such as this. Individuals cannot be convicted on anecdotal evidence that have come about by law enforcement officers twisting some arms. The evidence must demonstrate that each individual arrested was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Source: City Paper, "Potrepreneurs' High-Flying Operation Faces a Pricey Reckoning," Van Smith, Aug. 15, 2013

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