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Man agrees to forfeit $1 million for guilty pleas in drug case

A Pinehurst man's sentencing hearing has been rescheduled again in a federal criminal case for money laundering and drug charges. Last December, the man pleaded guilty to conspiracy to launder monetary instruments and conspiracy to distribute and possess more than 220 pounds of marijuana. The details of his plea agreement are sealed until the U.S. District Court judge accepts them.

According to federal prosecutors, the man has also agreed to forfeit at least $1 million from the assets he acquired from unlawful activities. The prosecutors have asked that a judgment be entered against the man for the $822,804 that he agreed to forfeit. He had already agreed to give up the remaining balance of the $1 million. Currently, the government does not have the money and they don't know where it is.

The man was arrested last August and was released on a bond of $1 million. He was on electronic monitoring until January when the restriction was lifted.

Another asset forfeiture occurred in January -- the man's home valued at a little more than $2 million.

The affidavit describes a drug-smuggling plan that was devised in 2012. The man, acting with a co-defendant who is facing the same charges, went to Germany in order to celebrate Oktoberfest. A plan was devised where private jets would be used to move marijuana from somewhere on the West Coast to North Carolina. The man already had a plan in place to move the marijuana, but it had been sent through the U.S. Postal Service.

The defendant used a credit card from his corporation to rent a private jet three times. Another flight was planned, but there was no marijuana on board. Most of the evidence against the two defendants came from recordings worn by a "co-conspirator."

Federal drug charges carry very stiff penalties, including federal prison time without the chance of parole. While it is not known what the man's sentences will be, prosecutors said that he is hoping for leniency after forfeiting so many assets.

If you are facing federal charges for drug possession or trafficking, it is imperative that you begin developing your defense strategy with your lawyer as soon as possible.

Source: thepilot.com, "Village Man to Forfeit $1 Million in Drug Case," David Sinclair, April 28, 2016

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