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9 people face federal drug charges after sting

People facing drug charges come from a host of backgrounds. Some of them have traditional jobs, while others might rely on irregular income. Those factors are all evident in the story of the lasted cocaine ring sting made in Maryland.

Officials say that a money laundering and drug trafficking operation was running out of the Fells Point Rita's Italian Ice and some other properties. Nine people were indicted on charges resulting from the sting. The federal grand jury opted to indict two women and seven men on these charges.

It is believed that the cocaine ring was a major supplier in the Baltimore area. It is believed that the ring is tied to a homicide in the city that happened in 2012, and it is said that there is evidence of a connection to Houston, Texas, North Virginia and Staten Island.

Investigators used cellphone data and surveillance to get some of the information necessary to build this case. They claim the members of the drug ring had vehicles with hidden compartments, used alias identities and used front businesses to evade law enforcement. The affidavit says that cars with hidden compartments were used to transport money and cocaine from Maryland to Texas and back. In some cases, the cars were moved on transport trucks.

The co-owner of Flavor Factory LLC, which owns Rita's Italian Ice in Fells Point, is one of the defendants in the case. On top of the connection to that business, the affidavit alleges that real estate transactions were part of the money laundering scheme.

These defendants have a long battle ahead of them. It is vital that they understand their rights and options in this case. Whether they choose to try for a plea deal or stand before a jury, they must know the effect any action will have on their case.

Source: The Baltimore Sun, "Federal officials say alleged cocaine ring laundered money through Rita's Italian Ice in Fells Point" Alison Knezevich, Oct. 15, 2014

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