Head of Pot Distribution "Conspiracy" That Included Ex-Cowboy Gets 24 Years in Prison

Categories: Crime
davie-vollers-lg.jpg
University of Notre Dame
Bob Davie, then coach at Notre Dame, with a freshman Kurt Vollers back in '97
In April 2009, John Patrick Newton was arrested by Drug Enforcement Administration agents for growing, storing and selling marijuana out of an apartment on N. MacArthur Boulevard in
Irving. Said the feds, he was the leader of "a marijuana distribution conspiracy known as the Newton Drug Trafficking Organization," which included former Dallas Cowboys linebacker Kurt Vollers, who played for the team from 2002 through the '04 season. A year after feds busted up the operation, Newton admitted to, among other charges, selling weed and money-laundering; Vollers pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute 100 kilos or more of marijuana.

Though Vollers was scheduled to be sentenced last July, he's still awaiting word of his punishment; says a release from the U.S. Attorney's Office sent out moments ago, he remains free on bond in advance of his March 25 sentencing, where he faces a max statutory sentence of 40 years in prison and a $2-million fine. His attorney insisted last year that Vollers was a "good guy who made a big mistake." Another man involved in the NDTO, Scott Matthew Kirk, who pleaded guilty to distribution and money-laundering, received a year and a day in prison in December; yet another man, Tommy Don Crutcher, awaits sentencing on March 18.

This morning, it was Newton's turn in front of the judge in Dallas federal court, and Chief U.S. District Judge Sidney Fitzwater handed down a sentence of 292 months in prison. Says the release, the operation was up and running for more than two years -- from January 2006 through May 2008. During that time ...
Newton leased an apartment on North MacArthur Boulevard in Irving, Texas, which was used to unlawfully store, distribute and manufacture marijuana. From February 2008 through May 2008, Newton, Crutcher and Kirk conspired to commit money laundering by conducting financial transactions involving the proceeds of their unlawful activity, designed to conceal and disguise the nature, location, source, ownership and control of those proceeds.

Vollers actively assisted Newton by, among other things, facilitating the delivery of marijuana to the Dallas area, facilitating the storage of marijuana, repackaging bulk marijuana for sale, distributing marijuana to buyers, facilitating the transfer of money from buyers to Newton and counting the proceeds from the sale of marijuana.
The rest of the narrative follows.
DALLAS MAN SENTENCED TO 292 MONTHS IN PRISON FOR ROLE IN MARIJUANA TRAFFICKING CONSPIRACY

Co-Defendant Kurt Vollers, a Former Dallas Cowboys Football Player Admits Role in Conspiracy, Awaits Sentencing

DALLAS - John Patrick Newton, 35, of Los Angeles, California, was sentenced this morning by Chief U.S. District Judge Sidney A. Fitzwater to 292 months in prison for his role as the leader of a marijuana distribution conspiracy, known as the Newton Drug Trafficking Organization that he ran in the Dallas area, announced U.S. Attorney James T. Jacks of the Northern District of Texas. Newton pleaded guilty in April 2010 to one count of conspiracy to distribute marijuana, one count of maintaining a drug-involved premise, one count of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. He has been in custody since his arrest in April 2009.

In April 2010, Newton's co-defendants, Kurt Vollers, 31, of Dallas, Texas; Tommy Don Crutcher, 28, of Lewisville, Texas; and Scott Matthew Kirk, 42, of Omaha, Nebraska, also pleaded guilty to their respective roles in the drug trafficking organization. Vollers, Crutcher, and Kirk each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute 100 kilograms or more of marijuana. In addition, Kirk pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, and Crutcher pleaded guilty to one count of money laundering. Kirk was sentenced on December 13, 2010, to one year and one day in prison. Crutcher is scheduled to be sentenced on March 18, 2011; he faces a maximum statutory sentence of 60 years in prison and a $2.5 million fine. Vollers is scheduled to be sentenced on March 25, 2011; he faces a maximum statutory sentence of 40 years in prison and a $2 million fine. Both are on bond.

According to documents filed in the case, from January 2006 through May 2008, Newton, along with Vollers, Crutcher, Kirk and others, participated in a conspiracy to distribute 100 kilograms or more of marijuana. Newton leased an apartment on North MacArthur Boulevard in Irving, Texas, which was used to unlawfully store, distribute and manufacture marijuana. From February 2008 through May 2008, Newton, Crutcher and Kirk conspired to commit money laundering by conducting financial transactions involving the proceeds of their unlawful activity, designed to conceal and disguise the nature, location, source, ownership and control of those proceeds.

Vollers actively assisted Newton by, among other things, facilitating the delivery of marijuana to the Dallas area, facilitating the storage of marijuana, repackaging bulk marijuana for sale, distributing marijuana to buyers, facilitating the transfer of money from buyers to Newton and counting the proceeds from the sale of marijuana.

Crutcher met Newton after he asked an associate if he knew anyone who sold hydroponic marijuana. Almost immediately thereafter, Crutcher began buying large amounts of marijuana from Newton. Newton would typically "front" the marijuana to Crutcher with Crutcher paying Newton for the delivered product form the proceeds he obtained from selling the marijuana himself.

Kirk was involved in the conspiracy from Fall 2007 through May 2008 and during that time frame, Newton fronted Kirk 10 pounds of hydroponic marijuana but Kirk never paid Newton back for it. Newton allowed Kirk to work off his debt by renting an apartment for Newton in Irving. Kirk was specifically instructed not to identify or mention Newton on any of the paperwork for the apartment, and in fact, Newton gave Kirk enough cash to pay for money orders to pay for six months rent.

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration's (DEA) website, the use of hydroponics has enabled growers to increase the potency of Tetrahydro-cannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient in cannibas plants, resulting in a more-expensive marijuana.

The case is being investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation, the Irving Police Department, and the Coppell Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Dewald is prosecuting.
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Ann Elk
Ann Elk

Perhaps the money laundering is the bigger issue.

jfpo
jfpo

Yet Nate Newton, busted twice, is a free man.

Rollo
Rollo

He was trafficking skunk weed. That don't get as many years because street value is tied to a quart of Boones Farm on the open market.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin

RDP1, you're right thats a lot of time for pot. We give people who kill others in car wrecks or DWI's, or assualts with deadly weapons less time.

TheRealDirtyP1
TheRealDirtyP1

I might be too "new age" here or whatever. But is like 24 years in prison really fair for someone selling pot? I know that's a lot of it, but how about instead fining the guy, or maybe 10 years in prision? Wow. He'd be in there for life if it was cocaine.

Trevor Talbert
Trevor Talbert

Yeah agreed. That's pretty steep, and a big waste of taxpayer dollars.

We should be taxing this stuff legally, and making profit instead of spending money enforcing prohibition.

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