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The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts announced the sentencing of a 48-year-old man from Randolph, Massachusetts, for orchestrating a massive marijuana distribution and money laundering scheme. A federal court in Boston convicted the defendant, Michael Gordon, of possession with intent to distribute more than 2,200 pounds of marijuana. He will be spending 85 percent of the next 15 years in prison—if he behaves.
Gordon’s crimes were detailed in court documents filled with evidence from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). Investigators found that from July 2011 to November 2014, Gordon shipped at least 2,200 pounds of marijuana from California to Boston. He then distributed the marijuana throughout Boston in what became an incredibly lucrative drug trafficking operation.
The 48-year-old shipped too many packages of mail through the United States Postal Service (USPS) and Federal Express (FedEx) to handle by himself. He needed a partner. In December 2017, a U.S. District Court in Boston convicted another Randolph resident, Daphne Jean, 38, of conspiracy to distribute marijuana, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, and laundering drug money.
Investigators found that Jean helped Gordon by providing new addresses that could receive packages of drugs from California. The method used to obtain new addresses reflected the level of profit seen by the duo. Many darknet drug buyers who order personal quantities of illegal substances safely ship to their own house or apartment. Some ship to P.O. boxes under their name. Buyers who want to avoid shipping to their own addresses sometimes use a P.O. box under a different identity, the ‘cultivated’ address of an empty house, or even random abandoned houses.
Gordon and Jean took a far more expensive route. When Gordon needed marijuana delivered, Jean rented an apartment somewhere in Boston. Presumably on very short leases. Although authorities traced the numerous rentals back to Jean, the tactic kept USPS from delivering packages to the defendants’ houses. Postal inspectors would have noticed a staggering number of packages from one location that all landed at one address.
Handling the money earned through the marijuana distribution conspiracy became its own job. In order to hide millions of untaxed dollars, Jean started investing in real estate in Florida and in Massachusetts. At the time of his arrest, Gordon had purchased (through Jean) one house in Boston and two houses in Florida. At the sentencing, U.S. District Court Judge Douglas P. Woodlock ordered Gordon to pay a five million dollar forfeiture, to forfeit the three houses purchased with drug money, to forfeit almost $400,000 in cash seized during a raid, and to forfeit an Acura SUV used to traffic marijuana.
In addition to forfeiting millions of dollars of cash and possessions, Gordon will spend 15 years in prison and five years on supervised release. A sentencing hearing for Jean has been scheduled for April 6.