LawFuel.com – The US Law Newswire –
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and James T. Hayes, Jr., the Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (“ICE”) Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI”), announced today the unsealing of a three-count Indictment charging 37 members of a Chinese marijuana and contraband cigarette trafficking organization (the “Organization”) that operated throughout the United States.
The Organization allegedly conspired to manufacture and distribute over $45 million worth of marijuana, and to illegally distribute nearly 44 million cigarettes, which resulted in over $7 million in lost tax revenue. Thirty-two members of the Organization were arrested this morning in New York, New Jersey, California, Tennessee, Alabama, and Rhode Island as part of a coordinated operation involving federal, state, and local law enforcement officers.
The Indictment has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum; the 14 defendants arrested in New York and New Jersey will appear before Judge Cedarbaum this afternoon in Manhattan federal court. The remaining 18 defendants will appear before U.S. Magistrate Judges in the Eastern and Central Districts of California, the Northern District of Alabama, the Middle District of Tennessee, and the District of Rhode Island. One additional defendant is scheduled to surrender in Arkansas this afternoon, and four others are still at large.