A Laveen-based group shipped nearly two tons of pot through the U.S. Mail in the past three years, a federal indictment states.
Oneil Watson (a.k.a. Richard Powell), was indicted on Friday, and Kerry Ann Hoo, Marlon Powell, Albert Kelly, Rebekah Robertson and Priscilla Zuniga were indicted on February 25th in a separate proceeding, all concerning the suspected large-scale pot-shipping scheme.
Hoo, who had addresses in Arizona and New York, was apparently one of the ringleaders, according to Watson's indictment. Investigators have her on video at various Arizona post offices mailing packages suspected to have contained marijuana.
Members of the group rented at least three homes in Laveen, but would mail the packages from other cities and towns. In February, investigators seized a package that Hoo mailed from Cottonwood; it had about eight pounds of pot and had been headed to a Philadelphia address.
Investigators determined that from December 1, 2010, to February 25 of this year, the organization mailed 352 parcels through the U.S. Mail with a total of about 3,700 pounds of marijuana. Parcels had been shipped from Arizona and Nevada, with destinations in Tennessee, Georgia, Pennsylvania and New York.
Hoo reportedly made good use of the postal service's "Click-N-Ship" program, which allows computer users to generate mailing labels and simply drop off a package at a post office without waiting in line. While convenient, the system apparently helped authorities track what Hoo and the others were doing. Agents with the Postal Inspection Services set up a surveillance operation and watched as Watson, who's from Georgia, Hoo, and others mailed packages over several weeks.
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Watson was arrested at a Laveen rental home on Friday. Hoo and Marlon Powell were in the home at the time, but no arrest information was available for them. Agents seized about 10 pounds of marijuana, three handguns, two rifles and a shotgun.
Got a tip? Send it to: Ray Stern.