Conspiracy to Possess and Possession with Intent to Distribute over 1000 Kilograms of Marijuana
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In a criminal complaint, Robert WILLIAMS was charged with Conspiracy to possess and possession with intent to distribute over 1000 kilograms of marijuana. These charges are in violation of Title 21 United States Code section 846 and Title 21 United States Code sections 841(a)(1), 841(b)(1)(A)(VII). The conspiracy and fundamental contents of this immense quantity of marijuana are penalized by a mandatory minimum jail sentence of ten years to life in prison with guideline ranges that can total approximately 25 years in jail.
The facts alleged in the related affidavit filed in association with the complaint contend that there was an investigation initiated in November 2011. This investigation concerned narcotics smuggling, its distribution, and the probing of activities of certain persons living outside the U.S. Throughout that timeframe and ongoing through the present, as well as being related to this specific affidavit, a DEA-FOM Lauderdale Confidential Source (hereinafter known as "CS'') which had been negotiated for the conveyance of roughly three thousand pounds of marijuana whose original location was outside the United States and which entered the Country through the Southern District of Florida.
At the direction & control of agents from the Fort Lauderdale District Office, on October 5, 2013 or approximately that date, a maritime vessel which was
undercover in status set out for a previously-negotiated transfer of roughly 3,000 lbs. of marijuana.
In the course of the late-night hours of the following day, the undercover vessel came across a small seafaring vessel at a prearranged point of navigation within the expanse of international waters. At this location, an amount of approximately two-thousand, two-hundred, fifty lbs. of marijuana was unloaded and transported aboard the nautical vessel that was operating undercover as previously stated.
The stated undercover vessel proceeded to transport the full amount of marijuana back to South Florida. The cargo was subsequently turned over to the Fort Lauderdale District Office of the DEA soon after arrival. The bulk product was then analyzed and field tested for the presence of marijuana which results affirmed as positive.
A little more than a week later, on October 15, 2013, or then about, the Confidential Source contacted WILLIAMS by telephone and arranged a meeting with him that was to take place in Broward County, Florida. Sometime during the afternoon of the following day, an Undercover Agent, to now be referred to as ("UC1'') along with the "CS" came across WILLIAMS and instructed him to follow them to an undercover site where the delivery of the marijuana would take place. This meeting originated and took place in Sunrise, Florida.
WILLIAMS was observed while under surveillance, operating a white Ford SUV following the CS and UC1 to the undercover location pre-arranged for the exchange. Once all parties arrived, another undercover agent, to now be referred to as ("UC2'') opened a bay door to allow entrance to the location. At this point WILLIAMS drove his vehicle inside. The CS and UC1 followed and once all three had entered, the access way was closed. With the CS, UC1, and UC2 present, a small maritime vessel which was secured to a trailer was presented to WILLIAMS. This vessel enclosed the aforesaid load of marijuana.
Upon viewing the contraband, WILLIAMS ascended into the vessel and scrutinized the marijuana load, smelling one of the bales which were sliced open. After his inspection was apparently completed, WILLIAMS instructed the parties present at the scene that he was interested in taking the whole of the cargo but didn't have a vehicle with enough space to transport it. It was then that UC1 offered a cargo van to WILLIAMS, which he accepted.
With this agreement anticipated, WILLIAMS was instructed to move the Ford SUV that he arrived in to make a space for the cargo van to park. Before moving the SUV, WILLIAMS entered his vehicle and removed a bag which appeared dark in color from the rear passenger section of the vehicle. WILLIAMS then reached into the bag and removed two bundles of U.S. Currency. He later claimed that the full amount totaled $8,000.00. WILLIAMS then furnished the aforesaid U.S. currency to UC1 prior to moving his vehicle. Once WILLIAMS' SUV was repositioned, the cargo van was brought into the location, parking in the now available space.
At this time UC1 pointed out to WILLIAMS that one of the bundles containing the marijuana was cut open and exposed. He then offered WILLIAMS a particular packaging material made out of plastic which was accepted by WILLIAMS. WILLIAMS then went on to re-wrap the open bale of the illegal goods with the clear plastic material that was given to him by UC1. WILLIAMS then positioned the remainder of the bales of marijuana inside the provided cargo van. He was aided by both UCs as well as the CS. The repaired bundle that was re-wrapped by WILLIAMS was consequently loaded in to the cargo van with the balance of the marijuana.
It was after this was finalized that the arrest teams approached the suspect and placed WILLIAMS under arrest.
In this case the defendant is charged with Conspiracy to possess over 1000 kilograms of marijuana, as well as the charge of possession of an equivalent amount with intent to distribute. Penalties for a conviction of these charges can be very harsh including terms of lengthy incarceration including a life sentence. All of these charges are tried in Federal Court
Michael B. Cohen, Esq. specializes in cases that are administered by the Government under the Federal Court System. Previously, an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Mr. Cohen can lead a dynamic defense for these types of charges as well as a variety of cases contested under federal law. His more than 35-years of experience in Federal Cases provide his clients a distinct advantage when his services are engaged. Mr. Cohen is also a strong trial attorney in the defense of cases tried by the State of Florida
Mr. Cohen's offices are located both in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. To contact him by telephone call 954-928-0059 or 561-366-8200