Seven Twin Cities men and a Californian are accused of bringing more than a ton of marijuana into Minnesota in a drug enterprise that lasted nearly four years.
Authorities said they seized about 600 pounds of marijuana, more than $200,000, pickup trucks, Jet Skis, luxury cars, motorcycles and a swath of land in far northwestern California during an investigation that has included federal and Twin Cities drug agents and three suburban police departments.
A federal indictment newly unsealed in St. Paul charges the eight men with conspiracy to distribute marijuana. They are: Irineo Serio Moreno, 34, of Minneapolis; Ryan T. Solon, 34, of Eden Prairie; Christopher D. Schumacher, 35, of Bloomington; Shawn A. Withrow, 38, of Shakopee; Jeremy A. Anderson, 38, of Circle Pines; Corey W. Johns, 27, of Mounds View; his brother Arthur E. Johns, 29, of New Brighton, and Matthew R. Waste, 27, of Carnelian Bay, Calif.
The indictment alleges that the conspiracy ran from January 2009 through Dec. 20, 2012, and brought more than 2,200 pounds of marijuana into the state.
The 600 pounds were seized on Dec. 20, according to the U.S. attorney's office in Minneapolis, adding that investigators believe the marijuana was coming from California and Mexico.
Authorities declined to say how the alleged drug operation was first detected, what the street value of the marijuana involved might be or whether the California land, 301 acres, was where the marijuana was grown.
While the indictment put the amount of the marijuana at more than 2,200 pounds, the U.S. attorney's office said that figure was based on a "legal threshold" and did not necessarily represent a close approximation of the amount of the drug involved.
Along with the money, the marijuana and the land, items seized include four pickup trucks, four Jet Skis and two trailers, two SUVs, two BMWs and a Mercedes-Benz, and two motorcycles.
If convicted, the defendants face a potential maximum penalty of life in prison.