Sunday, March 31, 2019

Major marijuana trafficker sentenced to federal prison

Defendant provided drugs for cross-country conspiracy targeted by multiple agencies in Operation Five Hole

SAVANNAH, Ga:  A California man who supplied large amounts of marijuana for a drug trafficking operation across the country has been sentenced to eight years in federal prison.

Daniel Martin, a/k/a “Whiteboy,” 38, of Roseville, Calif., was sentenced by United States District Court Judge William T. Moore Jr. to 96 months in prison and a $30,000 fine after pleading guilty to Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and Conspiracy to Distribute 50 Kilograms or More of Marijuana, said Bobby L. Christine, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. After completion of his sentence, Martin will serve an additional three years of supervised release. There is no parole in the federal system.

Martin has two prior marijuana-related convictions in California and Ohio. He was one of 20 defendants indicted in August 2017 in Operation Five Hole, a multi-agency investigation targeting an extensive drug trafficking organization that used the sale of marijuana to finance cocaine purchases for further distribution. The traffickers shipped cash proceeds hidden in candy machines to hubs in Atlanta and California, with conspirators transporting large amounts of marijuana and cocaine to Savannah by U.S. Mail and in vehicles with hidden compartments.

During this investigation, agents seized eight firearms, more than 200 pounds of marijuana, multiple kilograms of cocaine, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash.

The ringleader of the drug trafficking organization was alleged to be Eugene “Poncho” Allen, who directed the distribution network using smuggled contraband phones despite currently serving a life sentence for murder in a Georgia state prison.

“From thousands of miles away in California, Daniel Martin took part in a scheme that distributed massive amounts of illegal narcotics here in our community,” said Southern District of Georgia U.S. Attorney Bobby L. Christine. “But distance isn’t a factor when investigators and prosecutors are determined to bring these merchants of misery to justice.”

“Despite prior felony convictions, Martin continued to plague our communities with drugs and the crimes that result from it,” said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “With eight years to spend in federal prison without the possibility of parole, hopefully he will come to the realization that his actions need to change. If not, rest assured the FBI and our law enforcement partners will go to every length to uphold the law.”

 “It’s time we put a stop to those in prison from enriching themselves and others through violence and drugs,” said Eastern Judicial Circuit District Attorney Meg Heap. “I want to thank the U.S. Attorney Bobby Christine and his staff for their role in this conviction.”

Chatham-Savannah Counter Narcotics Team Director Everett Ragan said, “CNT prides itself in operations like this. It shows we stand united with our local, state, and federal partners to enforce drug laws and we are not restricted by borders.”     

This investigation was conducted by the FBI, the Chatham County Narcotics Unit (CNT), the Savannah Police Department, the Chatham and Effingham County Sheriffs’ Offices, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the U.S. Marshals Service as part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) program, which is the premier law enforcement unit whose task is to dismantle multi-jurisdictional drug trafficking organizations. The cases are being prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney/Assistant District Attorney Noah Abrams, and Assistant United States Attorneys Greg Gilluly and Frank Pennington.

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