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Organizers of Long Running Marijuana Production and Distribution Ring Sentenced to Prison
Bellingham leader marketed and distributed marijuana to New York

APR 14 (SEATTLE) – The leader of a marijuana manufacturing and distribution conspiracy was sentenced today to five years in prison for drug and money laundering charges. Scott Johnson, 48, of Bellingham, Washington also forfeited property in Whatcom County and Priest River Idaho, as well as multiple luxury vehicles, snowmobiles, boats and jet skis.  Johnson also forfeited gemstones, a sculpture valued at $12,000, and 17 firearms.  Johnson and his cohorts admit they entered the marijuana conspiracy because of their greed.  At sentencing, U.S. District Judge James L. Robart told Johnson, "you broke the law in a flagrant manner… you are a drug dealer and a criminal."

On March 28, 2013, a federal grand jury returned an indictment charging Johnson and seven others with multiple counts of marijuana and money laundering charges.

According to filings in the case, Johnson was the leader of a group of marijuana cultivators and undertook sophisticated steps to market the marijuana across the country.  He used others to transport the marijuana hidden in a motorhome.  Johnson flew to New York on multiple occasions to finalize the sale to buyers in that city.  Another leader in the organization, Jay Wright, 50, also of Bellingham, was sentenced to three years in prison today.  Wright assisted in running the marijuana grows and served as the "number two" leader behind Johnson. 

Items forfeited in the case include: 14 gemstones valued at $9,279; a 2012 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 LTZ; a 2009 Mercedes-Benz GL550; a 2009 Acura TL Sedan; a 2008 Honda Civic; a 2007 BMW 328i sedan; a 2004 Cadillac Escalade SUV; a 1997 Ford Expedition Eddie Bauer SUV; a forklift, backhoe, tractor, and snow blower;  two motorcycles; seven snowmobiles; a 2000 Maxum Sport boat; a trailer valued at over $10,000; two wave runners; and 17 firearms seized in Bellingham and Priest River including hand guns, shot guns, and rifles.

This was an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation, providing supplemental federal funding to the federal and state agencies involved.

The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), U.S. Marshal Service, and Washington State Patrol.

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