By Joe Beck -- firstname.lastname@example.org
A defendant in a 10-member ring accused of money laundering and illegal cigarette sales of more than $20 million agreed Wednesday to plead guilty, according to document filed in U.S. District Court.
Under the terms of the agreement, Boss Martin Ramsey will plead guilty to one count of money laundering linked to trafficking in illegal cigarettes. In exchange, the federal government agreed to drop a charge of conspiracy to traffic in contraband cigarettes.
Ramsey also agreed to forfeit hundreds of assets listed with an attachment to the plea agreement. The assets include millions of dollars, much of it held in the name of co-defendants in the case. The attachment also includes a lengthy list of other assets including real estate, jewelry and several vehicles, much of which also is listed under the name of co-defendants and various business entities.
The government also agreed to release to Ramsey a much shorter list of property and currency assets that otherwise would have been subject to forfeiture, according to the agreement. Those assets include one piece of real estate in South Carolina, several vehicles and assorted currency and coins.
The charges against Ramsey and other members of the alleged ring stem from an investigation launched by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
The investigation produced a 180-count indictment spanning 96 pages. The indictment covers offenses allegedly committed over a period from April 2009 to the issuance of the indictment in October 2011.
The indictment states that the investigation involved federal agents opening an undercover warehouse in Edinburg from which they sold untaxed cigarettes to members of the ring who then sold the contraband cigarettes at a considerable profit in states with higher cigarette taxes, according to the indictment.
The indictment also describes another undercover warehouse that Fairfax County Police Department operated in Chantilly as part of the investigation.