August 31, 2015
Contact: Special Agent Cheryl Davis
Phone Number: (571) 362-1859
Columbus, Ohio Man Pleads Guilty In Marijuana Distribution Conspiracy
Richard Spriggs also pleaded guilty to money laundering and firearms charges
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Richard Spriggs, Sr., 47, of Columbus, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana, conspiracy to commit money laundering and unlawful possession of a firearm.
Carter M. Stewart, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, Joseph P. Reagan, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Drug Enforcement (DEA), Kathy A. Enstrom. Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue (IRS), Cincinnati Field Office, and Columbus Police Chief Kim Jacobs, announced the plea entered before U.S. Magistrate Judge Terence P. Kemp.
According to court documents, Spriggs and others in the marijuana trafficking group were responsible for distributing multiple kilograms of marijuana by use of Ohio residences, business fronts, commercial freight, semi tractor-trailers and vehicles. Spriggs and others transported marijuana to various places in Columbus, Ohio from suppliers in Houston, Texas. The drug shipments were disguised as hair care products, beauty supplies and whole grain rice.
Spriggs used the drug proceeds to purchase at least two residences by paying cash. He used pre-paid debit cards which he funded in another person’s name as his personal credit card, buying air travel, rental vehicles and paying cellular telephone bills.
Spriggs pleaded guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute marijuana, one count of money laundering and one count of unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
The marijuana charge carries a potential maximum sentence of 40 years imprisonment, and conspiracy to commit money laundering and unlawful possession of a firearm each carry a potential maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
Spriggs has agreed to forfeit approximately $86,000 in cash, firearms and ammunition.
“The laundering of illegal drug profits is as important and essential to drug traffickers as the very distribution of their illegal drugs. Without these ill-gotten gains, the traffickers could not finance their organizations,” said Kathy A. Enstrom, Special Agent in Charge of the IRS Criminal Investigation, Cincinnati Field Office.
U.S. Attorney Stewart commended the cooperative investigation by law enforcement, as well as Assistant United States Attorney Kenneth F. Affeldt, who is representing the United States in this case.