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Boston Chinatown restaurant served up multimillion dollar money laundering operation, feds say

At least one restaurant in Boston’s Chinatown had a scandalous secret menu, according to a recent federal indictment — a multi-state money laundering operation. A federal grand jury in Boston indicted eight alleged members of the conspiracy that the feds — which investigated it under the moniker “Operation Good Fortune” — say funneled tens of millions of dollars in drug money and more in a gift card fraud scheme. “Drug trafficking and money laundering go hand in hand,” said Joseph Bonavolonta, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Boston office, “and this crew is accused of using their family-owned restaurant in Chinatown as a front for an elaborate, international money laundering scheme and money transmitting business in which they conducted tens of millions of dollars in off the books...

Opinion: Here’s a plan for Hancock’s last year in office — do no more harm

Mayor Michael Hancock was all about the future as in “our children’s future….save our future….a future full of possibilities….our bright future” in his final State of the City address. If Denver’s future is anything like the present, the past would be an improvement. There was a time when Denver was a great place to open a business, fix up an old home, or take a stroll in the park. Today’s Denver resembles the Mile High City of the late ’80s, early ’90s back when Larimer Square was an island in a sea of high-crime urban blight and people stuck to the burbs. I remember those days fondly. Thieves broke into my car. Someone stole a dead plant and a yellow macramé off my porch because it was the only thing not nailed down. The neighbors below me were small-time drug dealers. I’m not quite sure...

Colorado couple at center of state’s largest-ever black market marijuana ring reach plea agreement

Published: Jun 21, 2022, 12:54 pm • Updated: Jun 21, 2022, 12:55 pm By Sam Tabachnik A Colorado couple at the center of the state’s largest-ever black market marijuana ring has reached a plea agreement with federal authorities, court records show. Fayin Deng and Kelly Chuong were set to stand trial this week on felony charges related to the distribution of large quantities of marijuana. Late last month, attorneys for both individuals filed notices in federal court, saying agreements had been reached. Terms of the plea agreements were not specified in court documents. Read the rest of this story on DenverPost.com.

Massachusetts post office manager seized cocaine to sell it himself, sentenced to prison

A former Massachusetts post office manager who grew up in Quincy was sentenced to a year and a half in prison for intercepting a “brick of cocaine” and other drugs from the mail and selling them himself. “I’m disgraced at my decision to be coerced into doing this and truly am sorry,” Shawn Herron, who was the manager of customer service at the Fall River Post Office, hand wrote in a statement to the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General in February 2020. “I’ve been trying to get out of the Fall River Post Office in order to get out of this nonsense and to get a fresh start.” Herron, 47, of Whitman, was sentenced Monday by Chief Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV in U.S. District Court in Boston to 18 months in prison and three years of supervised release and to forfeit $4,000. On Oct. 22,...

Pot cook gets burned: Man seriously injured in Pittsfield hash explosion

A man trying to extract hash oils from marijuana with illegally used flammable gases in a Pittsfield industrial building last month nearly blew himself up. “Cannabis extraction methods that use propane, butane, and similar substances without proper safety precautions are illegal because they’re extremely dangerous,” said state Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey in a statement. “The gases used in these processes are highly flammable. If they accumulate in an enclosed area, the smallest spark can cause a devastating explosion.” The explosion happened Feb. 21 on Keeler Street, according to the release. A survey of the property on online mapping shows it to be one in a cluster of old, brick mill buildings housing various companies. Pittsfield’s city zoning map marks the area, which abuts the tree-li...

Boston pot dealer sentenced for illegal distribution, falsifying taxes

Published: Jan 21, 2022, 4:33 pm • Updated: Jan 21, 2022, 4:34 pm By Meghan Ottolini A 36-year-old Boston man will do time for illegal marijuana dealing and falsifying his taxes after failing to pay more than $150,000 in income taxes. Zachary Sweener, 36, was sentenced to three months in prison and three months of supervised release after pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute marijuana, one count of possession with intent to distribute marijuana, one count of filing a false tax return and two counts of failing to file tax returns. Sweener will also have to pay $156,457 in restitution. Read the rest of this story on BostonHerald.com.

Oklahoma is the new “Wild West of weed” — and Colorado marijuana entrepreneurs are helping fuel the green rush

Published: Aug 9, 2021, 6:06 am • Updated: Aug 9, 2021, 6:24 am By Sam Tabachnik RJ Sangosti, The Denver PostCrews head back to work after a lunch break in the fields at Tribe Collective in Okemah, Oklahoma, on July 27, 2021. OKEMAH, Okla. — Chip Baker surveyed a vast field on the outskirts of an old hay farm an hour east of Oklahoma City, his ponytail waving in the thick, humid air, his voice growing excited. “This is probably the largest collection of Squirt in the world!” he boasted, pointing to an array of neatly plotted cannabis plants before him that will soon flower pounds of the popular strain. Read the rest of this story on DenverPost.com.

Marijuana arrests are way down — but Black Coloradans are still twice as likely to get busted for pot, new report says

Seven years after the first recreational pot shops opened for business in Colorado, youth aren’t smoking more weed, older adults are blazing more and marijuana-related arrests are way down — but Black Coloradans are still much more likely to get in trouble for cannabis offenses, according to a state report released Monday. The biennial report — “Impacts on Marijuana Legalization in Colorado,” commissioned by the Colorado Division of Criminal Justice — is the most extensive look since 2018 at marijuana’s impact across public safety, health, driving and youth consumption. Overall, the authors highlight a few notable trends in the way cannabis is being consumed in Colorado: People are moving away from smoking and instead are consuming cannabis through vapes and edibles at higher rates. Read t...

Castle Rock man who shot, killed partner in black-market marijuana scheme sentenced to 36 years in prison

Dominique Wogan, a Castle Rock man who shot and killed his partner in a black-market marijuana scheme, was sentenced to 36 years in prison, according to an 18th Judicial District news release issued Wednesday. Douglas County District Court Judge Patricia Herron sentenced the 35-year-old man for the murder of Fletcher Bodnar, a 36-year-old Highlands Ranch resident, the news release said. A jury found Wogan guilty of second-degree murder in Bodnar’s death in March when he was also convicted of illegal cultivation of marijuana and possession with intent to distribute marijuana. Wogan had a previous felony, meaning his possession of a firearm was not legal. Read the rest of this story on DenverPost.com.

Black market marijuana grows are popping up faster than law enforcement can take them down. But is legalization the cause?

As he awaited sentencing in 2010, Fayin Deng sounded a contemplative, philosophic note. “I have learned now that once you become obsessed with money, no matter how great your original need was,” Deng wrote to the federal judge overseeing his criminal case, “there is no such thing as feeling like you have enough.” The source of his cash came from a different kind of green — marijuana. It was “easy money,” Deng wrote, referring to his role in a large-scale Colorado drug trafficking organization responsible for growing massive quantities of illicit marijuana for sale across the country. Read the rest of this story on DenverPost.com.

21 indicted in Colorado in connection with international black market marijuana and money laundering scheme

Federal and local law enforcement on Thursday announced the takedown of a black market marijuana and money laundering scheme in Colorado — an operation comprising 21 individuals growing millions of dollars worth of illicit pot across metro Denver and funneling their profits back to China through social media apps. Drug investigators seized thousands of plants, hundreds of pounds of packaged marijuana and roughly $1 million during the investigation that began in August 2020, authorities said in a news conference at the 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office in Centennial. “I want to emphasize that while this is a micro-cell in our state of Colorado … we believe that this is going on on a macro-level across the entire United States, said John Kellner, the district attorney for Arapahoe and...

Letters: Not very neighborly, Wyoming (4/15/21)

Published: Apr 19, 2021, 4:56 pm • Updated: Apr 19, 2021, 4:57 pm By Dp Opinion Not very neighborly Re: “Wyoming aims to protect coal,” April 14 news story The hypocrisy of Republicans never ceases to amaze me. For decades the Republicans in states have decried use of the federal government’s constitutional powers as an infringement of states’ rights. Now, Republicans in Wyoming have passed a new law setting aside money to sue states like Colorado that hamper the use of Wyoming coal because of their renewable energy policies. Read the rest of this story on DenverPost.com.

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