Former Baltimore Marijuana Distributor, A Fugitive For Nine Years, Pleads Guilty To Federal Drug Charges
GREENBELT, Md. (WJZ) -- Former Baltimore resident Jeffrey Putney, 43, pleaded guilty Wednesday to maintaining drug-involved premises and possession with intent to distribute 1,000 kilograms of marijuana.
Officials said according to Putney's plea agreement, from 2003 until June 2009, Putney conspired with Matt Nicka, Gretchen Peterson, Andrew Sharpeta, David D'Amico and others to distribute marijuana.
Putney and his co-conspirators were believed to be transporting large amounts of marijuana to a warehouse in Maryland and Pensylvania where it was stored, distributed, and proceeds were collected from the marijuana sales.
Officials said three to four times a week Sharpeta, D'Amico, Nicka, and Putney counted drug proceeds ranging from $20,000 to $100,000, then placed the money in different units.
The money was loaded into a suitcase or duffle bags ranging from $100,000 to $1 million. These suitcases and duffle bags were transported via private plane or tractor/trailer to pay for the source of supply in California.
Putney and his co-conspirators reportedly created a fake company called Air Sky Holdings designed to provide air taxi services to disguise their operation.
The Drug Enforcement Administration executed a raid on one of Putney's warehouses in the 3500 block of Hickory Avenue in Baltimore on March 18, 2009. Officials seized 100 pounds of marijuana, $20,000 in cash, 31 cell phones, four money counters, false identification and various documents.
Officials said at the time of his arrest, Putney was in possession of a duffle bag containing $38,000 in cash and five cell phones.
After the raid, Sharpeta and Nicka reportedly scrambled to clear and burn their drug trafficking organization.
Funds from other co-conspirators were collected to hire a defense attorney for Putney that would later help him to remain on the run.
After the warrant was executed, Putney moved from Baltimore to California to Philadelphia and then returned to California to hide from law enforcement.
Officials also said Putney married his girlfriend in order to stop her from testifying against him in a grand jury.
They later divorced, but she attempted to sell high-end watches of Putney's that were bought with drug proceeds in order to get money for him to remain on the run.
In January 2019, Putney was arrested in Nevada after being pulled over by a traffic violation.
Officials said Putney made an agreement with the government that if the court accepts the plea deal he will be sentenced to eight years in federal prison.
A total of 15 defendants have been convicted and were sentenced up to 188 months in prison.
Putney's sentencing is scheduled for November 8 at 9:30 a.m.
Written By WJZ Apprentice Ju'waun Morgan
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