DMV Employee and Nine Others Indicted on Charges of Marijuana Trafficking and Corruption
On December 2, 2008, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration unsealed an indictment of federal drug crime charges against 10 men and women involved in a massive inter-state conspiracy to distribute and sell marijuana illegally. The defendant, most of whom lived in Fresno, California, had (according to the indictment) concocted an elaborate scheme to export more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana throughout the United States.
One of the defendants under indictment, Michelle Meraz, worked for the California Department of Motor Vehicles and used her position as a government official to concoct a false ID by using a stolen identity and a picture of fellow-conspirator Haamid Alie Darcuiel. Charges in the case range from mail fraud to identity theft to corruption and conspiracy. Given the complexity of the arrangement and the sheer number of defendants indicted, the matter will likely take some time to settle out.
The case involved a handful of independent organizations that typically don’t work together on criminal matters. These included: the California DMV, the IRS’ criminal bureau, the Fresno Police Department’s narcotic division, and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency. Eight of the defendants have been taken into custody. Two — Jason Samuel and Haybe Dudeh — are still at large, and authorities are currently searching for them.
Whether you have been charged as an accomplice to a criminal conspiracy, felony drug crimes or accused of some other federal crime, it’s important to recognize that your best options for justice lie in securing excellent legal representation. Fleeing from the law, retaining a second rate attorney, or otherwise under-representing your interests can result in much stricter penalties, such as heavy fines and jail-time.