Two in court in California-to-Ohio marijuana-trafficking case

One California man pleaded guilty and another was sentenced today in a marijuana trafficking case that has drawn international attention.  Henry A. Hernandez, 25, of Los Angeles, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Columbus to one count of conspiracy to distribute and conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 220 pounds of marijuana.

He was a courier “recruited and directed” by Lisette Lee in a large-scale marijuana distribution organization, said Matthew Heufelder, a special agent with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

Lee, the Los Angeles socialite who has claimed to be an heiress to the Samsung fortune, helped bring a number of people into a drug ring that flew marijuana from California to central Ohio, according to federal officials.  DEA agents eventually concluded that she had made 14 trips and helped bring more than 3 tons of marijuana to Ohio before she was arrested on June 14, 2010. She is serving a six-year prison sentence.

Hernandez made one of those trips, officials said. He is the last of the seven people originally charged in the marijuana ring to plead guilty. He is to be sentenced later.  The other man in court today, Frank S. Edwards, 40, made two of those trips. He pleaded guilty in February to a conspiracy charge.

U.S. District Judge Algenon L. Marbley sentenced Edwards today to one year and one day in prison. The minimum sentence for the conspiracy charge is usually five years, but the U.S. attorney’s office requested a reduction in the sentence as a part of the plea, said assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy D. Pritchard.  Officials said that Edwards, like Hernandez, was a courier directed by Lee. He also served as Lee’s bodyguard.

Marbley said he will recommend that Edwards, of Hacienda, Calif., be able to serve his sentence at a prison near his home.

via : Dispatch

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