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Cunningham's role was to launder the proceeds of drug sales
A Jamaican woman living in Florida who laundered money for an international cocaine ring distributing the drug in Pittsburgh and New Castle, has been sentenced to more than 14 years behind bars.
Marcia Cunningham, 54, of Plantation, Florida, will face deportation once she completes her sentence, the US media is reporting.
She was sentenced by US District Judge Marilyn Horan last week to 178 months in federal prison for violations of money laundering and drug laws in connection with a ring run by Hector Forbes of California.
Forbes pleaded guilty in 2020 and is awaiting sentencing.
The judge also imposed five years of supervised release on Cunningham’s conviction.
Cunningham is not a United States citizen, and is expected to be “deported once she completes her sentence,” a statement from the US Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania said.
According to information presented to the court, Cunningham was part of an international drug trafficking organisation that arranged for the importation of multiple kilogrammes of cocaine from Mexico that were then distributed through mails to various customers, several of whom resided in the western district of Pennsylvania.
The court heard that Forbes was the mastermind. His brother, Robert, was also indicted for his role in the ring, and was sentenced to more than 12 years in federal prison in 2020.
Cunningham’s role was to launder the proceeds of drug sales.
According to the criminal investigation division of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), she set up a post office box using fake ID and used dozens of bank accounts to take in drug money and then used it to buy cars, properties, jewellery and other items to support a lavish lifestyle.
She also arranged to use drug money to buy assets in Jamaica, her native land, where she hoped to return to live, the US attorney’s office said.
Cunningham, Forbes and 15 others in four states were indicted in Pittsburgh in 2019.
Former US Attorney Scott Brady said at the time that the ring was one of the largest cocaine operations that were uncovered in the region.
The charges against Forbes and the others were the product of an 18-month wiretap investigation led by the DEA, along with the state attorney general’s office, the IRS, local police, and the district attorney’s office in Lawrence County.
Wiretaps revealed that the ring dealt cocaine across the country and sent the cashback to Forbes in California and Cunningham in Florida.
A second indictment in the case charged various defendants in New Castle, including three siblings.
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