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U.S. court jails drug smugglers with ties to Angels

Monday, 26 March 2012

 

Three key players in a multinational drug-smuggling operation with ties to B.C.'s Hells Angels were sentenced Friday in U.S. District Court in Seattle. Jacob Burdick, 34, of Marysville, Wash., was sentenced to 12 years for directing the distribution of drugs and money from a warehouse in Kent, Wash. A California couple, Michael Murphy, 62, and Pamela Marie Murphy, 58, of Penn Valley were sentenced to prison terms of 12 years and 18 months, respectively. Michael Murphy served as chief pilot in distributing B.C.-grown marijuana and cash across the U.S. to cities such as Chicago, St. Louis and Atlanta. He would collect money made from pot sales and return it to California to buy cocaine bound for B.C. Pamela Murphy assisted her husband in counting the cash and laundering it through an antiques business. The couple's California home was searched in April 2011 by agents who found $315,000 in cash - some of it bundled on their kitchen counter. "The smuggling organization had ties to members of the Hells Angels outlaw motorcycle gang in British Columbia," the U.S. Department of Justice said. Judge John Coughenor highlighted the connection between the marijuana going south and the cocaine going north. "This [marijuana] is the commodity that is sold to generate cash to buy cocaine, which has done significant damage in Canada," the judge said. According to U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan, the defendants "literally moved tons of illegal drugs for a violent criminal gang." "They sought to enrich themselves by spreading addiction through communities here and across the border," Durkan said. A Canadian man, Trevor Alan Jones, has been indicted on several counts in the drug bust, along with several others. Jones, born in 1970 and now a fugitive in the U.S., is wanted by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency for conspiracy to distribute marijuana and cocaine in the western district of Washington state. Jones, who goes by the alias "Red," is six-foot-one, weighs 220 pounds, has red hair and brown eyes. Rewards for his capture are available at the discretion of the U.S. Marshals Service. Through wiretaps, U.S. investigators determined the drug ring was transporting and distributing 450 to 1,000 kg of marijuana and 100 to 200 kg of cocaine every month for at least five years. Investigators seized more than $2 million and 136 kg of cocaine over the course of the investigation. On April 28, 2011 - the day search warrants were executed - investigators seized more than 1,000 kg of marijuana from several location across the U.S.

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A person charged with a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty

A person charged with a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty

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