Three leaders of a Baltimore marijuana dealing operation pleaded guilty to federal charges on Wednesday. The operation, which the feds unravelled in 2010, stretched across the country. So justice took a few years.
According to U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein’s office, David D’Amico, Matthew Nicka and Gretchen Peterson sold at least 1,000 kilograms of marijuana from 2007-2009. The base of the operation was a house in the 3500 Hickory Ave. in Baltimore, but it had a much wider reach. The leaders of the operation bought marijuana grown in Northern California and Canada, and transported it to Maryland warehouses by plane, train and tractor trailer. One receipt found in the Hickory Ave. house showed the operation even purchased their own plane for $450,000. Maryland wasn’t the only final point of sale, however, as the pot was shipped out from here to states like Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Kansas, Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Georgia and Louisiana. When the feds raided the house, they found 80 pounds of marijuana, $20,000 in cash, 31 cell phones and tally sheets that showed $14.5 million in sales.
To conceal the operation, the trio maintained false identities, shell corporations. They even managed to evade arrest for a few years. The initial indictment against them came down in 2010, but they weren’t caught for three years. Nicka and Peterson, who are married, were eventually tracked down in Canada in 2013. D’Amico was picked up in Colombia (South America, not Maryland) and extradited to the U.S.
The trio are the final suspects to plead guilty in a case that involved a total of 15 people facing criminal charges. If the court accepts their plea deals, each face lengthy prison terms at sentencing hearings scheduled for May, with D’Amico facing a maximum of 30 years for each of his charges. Nicka faces 12-19 years in prison while Peterson faces 7-12 years.