U.S. District Judge Howard F. Sachs sentenced Justin Polson, 29, to five years in prison for conspiracy to distribute marijuana and participation in a money laundering conspiracy. Polson, according to court documents, participated in a marijuana distribution conspiracy worth $3 million. In addition to the five years in federal prison without parole, Judge Sachs required Polson’s share of the earnings from the operation: $1.5 million. The investigation involved U.S. Customs and Immigration (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the IRS-Criminal Investigation division, and several other agencies.
According to the press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Western District of Missouri, a judge sentenced Polson’s partner during trial back in March 2018. For playing what the courts considered an equal role in the conspiracy, the judge sentenced James Mack, 38, to five years in federal prison and ordered that Mack forfeit $1.5 million to the U.S. government. Mack lived in Westminster, Colorado. Polson lived in Overland Park, Kansas. One defendant shipped buckets of marijuana to the other defendant.
Mack, the Colorado defendant, shipped between two and six buckets of marijuana to Polson every week. Each bucket contained at least three pounds of marijuana. Investigators found evidence that the operation began in September 2012 and lasted for several years before law enforcement intervened. On average, Polson received 40 pounds of marijuana every month. He turned around and resold the majority of the product to buyers throughout the United States. According to court documents, most of the buyers have not been identified.
The operation began not long after Mack had finished serving a 37-month prison sentence for cocaine trafficking conspiracy that involved a former player for the Denver Broncos. A State Trooper in Montana pulled over the former footballer, then-millionaire Travis Henry with several kilograms of cocaine in his car. While Henry was considered the “money guy” of the group, he was offered a plea deal for information. Law enforcement performed a ‘reverse sting’ and sold Mack six kilograms of cocaine. After his 2009 conviction, a judge sentenced him to 37-months and a period of supervised release.
Not long after the conviction, Mack had already started selling marijuana to Polson and others unknown to authorities. His money laundering tactics, according to the court documents, involved two basic tactics: use bank accounts associated with fake businesses and keep the deposits under $10,000. The IRS caught on fairly easily and included print-outs of the bank statements in court documents. Both Polson and Mack, during the investigation, found themselves in unrelated cases that required forfeitures of their own. Polson already forfeited his Corvette and Camaro LT—both of which he had purchased with drug money.
If Polson behaves while in federal prison, he will be out in roughly 51 months.