|Photo: Inmate Telephone Service|
Almost as soon as she was jailed last year for allegedly shipping hundreds of pounds of marijuana to Ohio in suitcases, a woman placed calls to a California accomplice asking about the status of proceeds from the operation, the Drug Enforcement Administration said Thursday.
Lisette Lee asked Christopher Cash several times about “paperwork,” a phrase the DEA said is commonly used for drug money, even though Cash warned Lee over and over to be careful what she said because the calls were being recorded, the DEA said, reports Associated Press legal affairs writer Andrew Welsh-Huggins.
After Lee’s arrest, she called Cash in California on June 21 and told him to get some items out of her apartment, including a white Christian Dior bag. “You know what I’m talking about, right? Everything?” Lee asked Cash, according to the DEA.
|Photo: The Columbus Dispatch|
|Lisette Lee, 29, made calls from an Ohio jail about the status of the proceeds from marijuana sales.|
That same day, she called back and asked about “paperwork,” according to the DEA. Cash responded that he was “dealing with it; don’t ask questions.”
After Lee called yet again that same day, Cash said “Relax, it’s done,” according to the DEA.
Cash, 33, formerly of Los Angeles and now of Louisville, Ky., pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court in Columbus to one count of conspiring to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute more than 2,000 pounds of cannabis.
Law enforcement authorities claim the scheme involved 14 flights from Los Angeles to Ohio and elsewhere, and distributed about 7,000 pounds of marijuana, earning more than $3 million from November 2009 through April 2010.
Another defendant, Young Ko, 36, of Los Angeles, pleaded guilty Thursday to the same charge as Cash, bringing to six the number of people out of the seven charged who have either pleaded guilty or indicated they would do so.
Ko took part in eight trips bringing marijuana from Los Angeles to Ohio, Heufelder said in court. His role was to accompany the pot couriers to make sure the weed arrived in Ohio and to make sure the money made it back to California safely, Heufelder said.
Both Cash and Ko could face a minimum of 10 years in federal prison, but could receive lesser terms based on federal sentencing guidelines. Both agreed to “cooperate with investigators” who are looking into the smuggling scheme.
Charges against more individuals are possible, according to assistant U.S. Attorney Tim Pritchard.
Cash was one of four passengers who flew from the Van Nuys, California airport to Columbus on June 14, 2010, on a private chartered jet to transport 500 pounds of marijuana in 14 suitcases, DEA special agent Matt Heufelder claimed in court Thursday.
Lee, who also made that trip, was arrested that day, while Cash and the other passengers were released, then later charged.