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Kirkland man sentenced for leading international marijuana, cocaine ring
A Kirkland man was sentenced Friday to 15 years in prison for leading an international marijuana and cocaine drug ring.
Jacob Saul Stuart, 39, who was detained at the Seatac Federal Detention Center after his arrest in April 2011, was sentenced in U.S. District Court.
Two dozen other people from U.S. and Canada were also charged in the case and five have been sentenced.
Drug dealers brought marijuana in from Canada via a private airplane and distributed it across the U.S., reaching California, Illinois, Missouri, Georgia and New Jersey, according to charging documents. Money from marijuana sales was used to purchase cocaine in Southern California, which was transported to British Columbia for distribution.
“This is one of the largest drug cases we have had in this district. This is a dangerous business with dangerous people who don’t hesitate to use violence,” said U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour of all his 31 years on the bench.
Bothell investment mortgage broker Robert Wolverton was also charged by federal prosecutors but is still waiting sentencing. Wolverton was charged with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and marijuana with the intent to distribute.
DEA and Homeland Security Investigations officials discovered the drug ring by using court authorized wire taps. About 1,000 to 2,000 pounds of marijuana and 100 to 200 kilos of cocaine were transported every month, court documents continue.
One of the wire tapped phone calls caught Stuart speaking about the purchase of guns, bats and chemical sprays for members of the criminal ring in Canada who were traveling to Washington to investigate 100 kilos of police-seized cocaine.
U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan said Stuart hid his deals while posing as a “stay-at-home soccer dad.” But the smuggling organization allegedly had ties to the Hells Angels outlaw motorcycle gang in British Columbia, Canada.
Michael Murphy, a pilot who transported drugs, was sentenced to 12 years in prison; Jacob Burdick, who stored and organized transportation of the drugs, was sentenced to 12 years in prison; John Washington, a drug distributor for the group, was given 11 years in prison; Mario Joseph Fenianos, a Canadian who obtained and smuggled cocaine for the ring, received 13 years in prison; and Michael William Dubois, another Canadian working on the cocaine side of the smuggling was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Investigators seized $2 million, 136 kilograms of cocaine and more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana from the drug ring’s operation.
The case was investigated by DEA Offices across the U.S., Homeland Security Investigations in Seattle and Sacramento, Customs and Border Protection, the King County Sheriff’s Department, Seattle Police Department, Washington State Patrol, Snohomish Regional Drug Task Force and the Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement in California.