DEC 19 (PHOENIX) –On April 25, 2012, a federal grand jury in Phoenix returned a 76 count superseding indictment against 11 defendants charging them with multiple crimes including conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana, structuring financial transactions through a domestic financial institution and promotional money laundering. The defendants are being held until sentencing.
Packages of marijuana ready for shipment.
The investigation was part of Operation Lost Package, an 18-month long investigation regarding a drug trafficking organization responsible for the shipment of large quantities of marijuana from Phoenix, Arizona to multiple cities on the east coast. Cash proceeds from the trafficking were structured and deposited into accounts at various domestic financial institutions in amounts ranging from $4,000 to $9,000 to further the conspiracy.
Packaging material at a Phoenix residence where agents recovered over 171 pounds of marijuana, currency and 3 weapons.
"DEA and its partners are successfully striking back at drug traffickers who use Arizona as a major transshipment point for their criminal operations,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Doug Coleman. “By conducting cooperative investigations like this, law enforcement is able to use all the resources and expertise available to us to attack these significant drug trafficking organizations that sell their poisons throughout Arizona and the United States.”
On December 11, 2012, following a four day trial, a federal jury in Phoenix found Rafiq Albert Brooks guilty of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana and possession with intent to distribute marijuana. The case was tried before U.S. District Judge James A. Teilborg and the sentencing is set for March 4, 2013.
The other ten defendants in the case pleaded guilty prior to trial. Three of the defendants have already been sentenced:
Defendants face 5 years to 30 years in prison.
The investigation in this case was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Scottsdale Police Department, Internal Revenue Service, and the United
States Postal Inspection Service. The prosecution was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael A. Lee and Glenn McCormick, District of Arizona, Phoenix.