COLUMBUS, Ohio – A leader of a scheme that shipped marijuana to Ohio on 14 airplane trips oversaw several 500-pound shipments of the drug, sometimes directing others to conceal the odor with fabric freshener and dryer sheets, a federal agent said Wednesday.
David Garrett of Culver City, Calif., a co-leader in the alleged scheme, pleaded guilty Wednesday in U.S. District Court to distributing more than 2,000 pounds of the drug. He didn't make a statement in court and his attorney, Neil Rosenberg, declined to comment afterward. He faces a minimum of 10 years in prison.
Garrett, 28, was one of six California residents charged in September with conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute. He turned himself in to authorities that month.
The other alleged leader, Lisette Lee, was arrested in June when authorities said she flew to a Columbus airport with 500 pounds of marijuana in 13 suitcases. She has pleaded not guilty.
The operation distributed about 7,000 pounds of marijuana and made more than $3 million from November 2009 through April, Matthew Heufelder, a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent, testified Wednesday.
The flights went to several Ohio cities but most of them to Columbus, Heufelder said.
"Garrett oversaw the packaging and concealment of each load in large suitcases, sometimes directing others to conceal the odor of marijuana with Febreze and dryer sheets," Heufelder said.
Garrett was the direct link to the source of the marijuana in Los Angeles and, along with Lee, responsible for shipping the drug from Los Angeles to Ohio and shipping the profits back, Heufelder said.
He said Garrett helped Lee recruit a group of four or five to transport the 500-pound marijuana shipments and gave money to Lee or her associates to pay for round-trip chartered private flights from Los Angeles at a cost of $50,000 per trip.