Monday, April 17, 2017

Four Admit Guilt In Marijuana Conspiracy

In December 2015, U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced an eight count indictment filed against six people from the area. The grand jury indictment accused six with their involvement in a drug trafficking conspiracy and four with related drug crimes such as possession. Many received money laundering charges. In April 2017, four of the six pleaded guilty to serious drug crimes.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Frank T. Pimente, in 2015, released details as the case unfolded. He explained that six individuals from Buffalo, New York, participated in an intercontinental drug trafficking conspiracy. All six faced drug trafficking charges and four faced lesser drug charges that never made it to the hearing. And all but two faced money laundering charges. Police arrested most of the crew in September of the same year; one remained at large for some time afterwards and still has pending charges.

The indictment accused Dashawn Abrams of conspiracy to distribute marijuana and conspiracy to launder money; Damarcus Hennings of conspiracy to distribute marijuana and conspiracy to launder money; Shaquata Hennings of conspiracy to distribute marijuana and conspiracy to launder money; Arthur Clark of conspiracy to launder money; Shahana Beaver of conspiracy to distribute marijuana and conspiracy to launder money; and Janice Humphrey of conspiracy to distribute marijuana and related drug crimes.

Both Damarcus Hennings and Shahana Beaver received charges related to the use and possession of illegal firearms. Damarcus Hennings faced possession of a firearm while committing a drug trafficking crime.

According to U.S. Attorney Pimente, between April 2015, and September 2015, the defendants ordered more than 100 packages of marijuana from Denver, Colorado. The marijuana distributor in Colorado shipped the marijuana “via a commercial delivery service.“ This case took several non-traditional paths, and one was the shipping method; the United States Postal Service held the title of a darknet vendor’s shipping medium of choice since before darknetmarkets existed.

Neither USPS or USPIS received credit for the case either, as expected considering USPS was not involved. The other aspect of those case that stood out in contrast to so many other, similar cases, fell into the payment category. Unlike many cases DeepDotWeb covers, the defendants received at least 50 packages upfront—the supplier fronted or effectively fronted 50 packages of marijuana. The remainder of the payment owed found its way into packages headed back towards Denver, Colorado.

In early April, Damarcus Hennings, Shaquata Hennings, Beaver, and Humphrey pleaded guilty to their respective roles in the conspiracy. The first three pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana. Humphrey pleaded guilty to a different drug crime: maintaining a drug involved premises. Damarcus Hennings pleaded guilty, additionally to possession of a firearm while committing a drug trafficking crime. Shaquata Hennings also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering. The firearm charge carries a mandatory five-year sentence and a possible maximum of life behind bars.

U.S. District Judge Elizabeth A. Wolford set Beaver and Humphrey’s sentencing hearing for July 11, 2017. The date for Damarcus Hennings And Shaquata Hennings has not been announced. Authorities are still investigating Dashawn Abrams and Arthur Clark; all charges against the two are still pending charges.


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