Drug Enforcement Administration

San Francisco

Christopher Nielsen, Special Agent in Charge

July 29, 2013

Contact: Casey Rettig

Phone Number: (415) 436-7994

Fresno Men Plead Guilty To Shipping Marijuana To Alabama

FRESNO, Calif. - Vincent Graves, 53, and Herman Graves, 46, both of Fresno, pleaded guilty today to their involvement in a drug ring that shipped marijuana grown in rural Fresno to Birmingham, Ala., Acting Special Agent in Charge Bruce C. Balzano and United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.

Vincent Graves, who is unrelated to Herman Graves, pleaded guilty to possessing marijuana with intent to distribute, and Herman Graves pleaded guilty to conspiring to manufacture, distribute and possess with intent to distribute marijuana. According to court documents, Herman Graves cultivated marijuana at a rural location on Marks Avenue in Fresno. It was ostensibly grown for a “medical” marijuana dispensary in Fresno owned by Elgeron Graves; however, the marijuana was actually shipped to drug dealers in Birmingham, Alabama. Nearly $700,000 in drug proceeds was structured by other participants in the conspiracy. The crime of structuring occurs when cash is deposited or withdrawn from a bank in amounts of $10,000 or less to avoid the filing of a currency transaction report with the IRS.

Herman Graves and Vincent Graves are scheduled for sentencing before Senior U.S. District Judge Anthony W. Ishii on October 7, 2013. Herman Graves faces a mandatory prison term of five years and a maximum of life, along with a fine of up to $5 million. Vincent Graves faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

This case is the product of an investigation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and IRS Criminal Investigation with assistance from the Treasury Inspector General of Tax (TIGTA), U.S. Postal Inspection Service in Birmingham, Ala., California Highway Patrol, Fresno County Sheriff’s Office, Fresno Police Department, the Madera County Narcotics Enforcement (MADNET), and Birmingham Police Department. Assistant United States Attorneys Karen A. Escobar and Grant B. Rabenn are prosecuting the case.
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