Detroit Drug Syndicate Laundered Money via Casinos

Multiple alleged participants of a drug ring are facing charges for drug and money laundering conspiracies. The drug syndicate, famous as “Team Cookies,” distributed drugs including controlled substances such as Fentanyl, cocaine, methamphetamine and laundered money, the Department of Justice (DOJ) claims.

Using the Ghost Baggage Method

An investigation was conducted by agents from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Detroit Division, in collaboration with law enforcement from Michigan State Police, Kentucky State Police, Wayne County Airport Police Department and other law enforcement structures. Ultimately the investigation resulted in charges against 13 individuals that were believed to be involved in the drug syndicate. Charges against them were announced by the DoJ back in February this year.

Prosecutors claimed that the “Team Cookies” drug syndicate used a method called “ghost baggage.” The method isn’t something new or unseen before but rather needed to get the attention of law enforcement before charges started to pile up against the alleged participants.

Ghost baggage is a method that involves checking in luggage at an airport but not boarding the plane. Upon investigation, law enforcement found that using the method, the drug syndicate was able to transport luggage filled with money and drugs between Phoenix, Arizona and Detroit. Upon sending the luggage, the drug ring members would have a courier collect it at the delivery destination. The involved parties exchanged a picture of the slip of the luggage for identification purposes. Thanks to the ghost baggage method, the group tried to avoid being busted with drugs, but this did not last for long.

Illegal Proceeds Were Laundered via Casinos

According to prosecutors, the money derived from the illegal activity was used by the drug syndicate to buy guns and expensive items, while some was even laundered through casinos in Detroit. In a recent report released by The Detroit News, Assistant US Attorney David Portelli said that the aforementioned indictment did not involve a small-time gang but a significant drug trafficking organization. He pointed out that the drug syndicate was in charge of millions of pills of fentanyl, as well as other drugs such as crack cocaine, cocaine and more.

This indictment…involved a drug trafficking organization that engaged not only in trafficking some drugs but trafficking an immense amount of drugs. Over a million pills of fentanyl…are involved in this, as well as methamphetamine, cocaine, crack cocaine and other substances, including marijuana.

David Portelli, Assistant US Attorney

The alleged participants of the drug gang are currently awaiting their trial. Prosecutors allege that Leo Todd was the leader of the drug ring. Together with Todd, a 37-year-old man from Detroit, Kyle Kennard, is also believed to be involved in the operation. If the two are convicted, they may be facing a prison sentence of 10 years each.

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