Brothers Admit Involvement in Marijuana Trafficking Ring
MAY 05 -- Steven W. Derr, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration for New England and Nora R. Dannehy, Acting United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that MICHAEL DANZI, 31, and his brother, BRIAN DANZI, 34, of Hamilton Avenue, Greenwich, each pleaded guilty today before United States District Judge Mark R. Kravitz in New Haven to one count of conspiracy to distribute marijuana. In addition, MICHAEL DANZI pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to smuggle bulk cash out of the United States, and BRIAN DANZI pleaded guilty to one count of distribution of marijuana. Jury selection for a trial in this matter was scheduled for today.
According to documents filed with the Court and statements made in court, MICHAEL and BRIAN DANZI were members of a drug trafficking organization that was responsible for transporting shipments of high-quality hydroponic marijuana from Canada to southwestern Connecticut for distribution in and around Fairfield County. The investigation revealed that the organization in which the DANZIs participated imported hundreds of pounds of marijuana into the United States over several years, and that the DANZIs sold approximately 30 pounds of the marijuana per month at a wholesale cost of approximately $4,000 per pound, and routed the proceeds of the marijuana distribution back to Canada. During the course of the investigation, federal agents seized nearly $800,000, which was being smuggled to Canada.
On December 20, 2007, a federal grand jury in New Haven returned an Indictment charging the DANZIs and four others, three of whom are Canadian citizens, with various marijuana trafficking and cash smuggling offenses. All six have pleaded guilty.
MICHAEL and BRIAN DANZI are scheduled to be sentenced on July 23 and 24, 2009, respectively. Each faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years and a fine of up to $1 million on the marijuana conspiracy count. In addition, BRIAN DANZI faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years and a fine of up to $1 million on the marijuana distribution count, and MICHAEL DANZI faces a maximum term of imprisonment of five years and a fine of up to $250,000, on the cash smuggling conspiracy count.
The seized cash, two Mercedes Benz automobiles and three all-terrain vehicles have been forfeited to the Government.
Acting U.S. Attorney Dannehy commended the investigation of this matter that was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Greenwich, Stratford, Stamford, Norwalk, and Naugatuck Police Departments. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys H. Gordon Hall and Peter D. Markle of the Office’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force.