BOISE – Gregory Norman Josi, 43, of Hillsboro, Oregon, was sentenced in federal court today to 30 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release for conspiracy to manufacture, distribute, and possess with the intent to distribute over 1,000 kilograms of marijuana. Josi was also ordered to forfeit $150,000 in proceeds that he obtained from his drug trafficking activities. He pled guilty to the charge on August 31, 2010.
According to the plea agreement, Josi was involved in a conspiracy to manufacture, distribute, and possess with the intent to distribute marijuana with members of the Kent Jones Drug Trafficking Organization. Josi’s primary role was to transport marijuana in quantities between 100-250 pounds from Southern California to the Portland, Oregon area, or to locations in Kentucky, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and elsewhere.
The Jones Organization, which had been identified as a Regional Priority Target by the Federal Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), operated throughout the United State, importing drugs from Mexico and Southern California. The drugs were transported to the Portland, Oregon area before being shipped to Idaho, Washington, and other places in the Midwest and East Coast, including Colorado, Ohio, North Dakota, Nebraska, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Jersey, and New York. In addition to the importation and transportation of marijuana, the organization was heavily involved in growing large quantities of marijuana in the 1990s. The organization is alleged to have reaped more than $20 million in drug proceeds over a 30-year period. The original indictment charging Kent Jones and others, filed in June 2006, sought forfeiture of more than $24 million in proceeds from drug trafficking.
This OCDETF investigation was handled by the District of Idaho as it stemmed from the case of a major drug trafficker, Leland Lang of Stites, Idaho, who was successfully prosecuted in Idaho in 2002. The Jones organization supplied Lang with large quantities of drugs which were distributed in Idaho and various Midwest and eastern states. Over $1 million in currency was seized from Lang’s mountaintop residence in Stites in 2002. Lang was sentenced to 9.5 years in prison and ordered to forfeit $1.1 million. He was released from prison in 2009.
Following the indictment of Lang and other co-conspirators in Kentucky, the investigation led to the Jones organization. Defendants sentenced in the related conspiracy included Kent Jones of Vancouver, Washington; Mark Daniel Kitzman of Lake Oswego, Oregon; Dennis Bruce Hammons of Medford, Oregon; Mark M. Alders of Lakeside, Oregon; Harold Carl Ballenger of Bend, Oregon; Gerald Francis McDonald of Costa Mesa, California; Jerod Lee Keyser, John Phillip Keyser and Texanna M. Keyser of Priest Lake, Idaho; Robert David Long of Eugene, Oregon; Damon John Marsh of Portland, Oregon; Mark William Pursley of Vancouver, Washington; Dale Eugene Barker of Evergreen, Colorado; Gregory Frank Sperow of Los Angeles, California; and Lawrence Edward Weitzman of Placerville, California.
Through previous indictments in Idaho, and the cooperation of local and federal authorities in other states, the following defendants linked to the Jones organization have been successfully prosecuted in Idaho or elsewhere as a result of this investigation: Alan Russell Williamson of Beaverton, Oregon; Nicholas Ray Albano of Portland, Oregon; Tami Ballenger of Bend, Oregon; James Dale Rose and Hubert Ivy, Jr. of Winchester, Kentucky; and Raymond L. Haddon of Clarkston, Washington. Two defendants associated with Jones passed away before trial and/or sentencing.
Agencies involved in this investigation include the Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, the Idaho State Police, Douglas County Interagency Narcotics Teams, Oregon Department of Justice, Oregon State Police, the U.S. Marshals Service, Westside Interagency Narcotics Team, the Bonner County Sheriff’s Office, and the Pacific Northwest Fugitive Task Force.
The OCDETF program is a federal multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional task force which supplies supplemental federal funding to federal and state agencies involved in the identification, investigation, and prosecution of major drug trafficking organizations.