Four women plead guilty in Twin Ports money laundering ringFour women pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court in Minneapolis to conspiracy to commit money laundering in support of a drug conspiracy in the Twin Ports.
By: News Tribune staff, Duluth News Tribune
Four women pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court in Minneapolis to conspiracy to commit money laundering in support of a drug conspiracy in the Twin Ports.
Taylor Kay Hanson, 21; Talia Jackie Jaros, 20; Danielle Ann Lamberton, 24; and Elizabeth Rose Schlais, 20, each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to launder money. The four, none of whom has a known address, were indicted July 16 and entered their plea before U.S. District Judge David S. Doty.
In their plea agreements, the four women admitted that between at least 2009 and August 2011 they conspired with others to commit money laundering to promote drug distribution. The four facilitated illegal prescription pill purchases by sending more than $30,000 in wire transfers to co-conspirators in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and elsewhere.
The defendants face a potential maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison, as well as possible fines and forfeitures.
Twenty-five co-conspirators have pleaded guilty to roles in the operation and have been sentenced.
Authorities began investigating the group in 2010 after law enforcement noted an increase in Opana trafficking in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Opana is a prescription pain-killer that contains
Investigators conducted surveillance and dozens of controlled purchases before making any arrests. On Sept. 27, 2011, law enforcement also executed search warrants at nine properties in Minnesota and Wisconsin, where authorities seized firearms, ammunition and about $30,000 in cash, as well as narcotics.
The case is the result of work by the Lake Superior Drug and Gang Task Force, the Duluth Police Department, the Hermantown Police Department, the Superior Police Department, the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation Division and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.