A Columbus man was sentenced Thursday to 135 months in prison for his role as a supplier in a large-scale drug-trafficking and money-laundering conspiracy.
Levi Winston, 50, of Columbus, pleaded guilty on May 2, 2013 to charges of conspiracy to possess and distribute more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana and money laundering. Judge Frost sentenced Winston to 135 months on each count and ordered the sentences to run concurrently.
During the course of the investigation, a known drug trafficking organization transported several tons of marijuana from Mexico to central Ohio. Winston and his associates hid large quantities of the drugs inside tractor trailers and industrial machinery. On October 17, 2011, HSI special agents and task force conducted a controlled delivery of 1,798.12 pounds of marijuana to a warehouse that Winston had rented located in Gahanna, Ohio. Winston and several of his associates were later arrested on conspiracy to distribute illegal drug charges.
In addition to the nearly 2500 pounds of marijuana seized by investigators in Columbus, the cooperation of several individuals and intelligence gathered during the investigation of this conspiracy has directly led to the seizure of an additional 3500 pounds of marijuana worth more than $3 million dollars in several other jurisdictions across the United States.
Nine other individuals have pleaded guilty to possession with the intent to distribute narcotics or conspiracy as a result of the investigation:
Didnicio Diaz-Barrera – Sentenced October 10, 2012 to 33 months in federal prison.
Adan Anaya – Sentenced June 6, 2012 to 57 months in federal prison.
Pedro Barrera-Diaz– Sentenced June 10, 2012 to 33 months in federal prison.
Alberto Hernandez – Sentenced June 6, 2012 to 12 months in federal prison.
Antonio Andriao – Sentenced May 1, 2012 to 21 months in federal prison.
Steven Johnson– Sentenced August 8, 2013 to 60 months in federal prison.
Robert Crook -- Sentenced September 20, 2013 to 12 months in federal prison.
Jose Garza -- Sentenced September 17, 2013 to 46 months in federal prison.
Marco Torres – Sentenced August 8, 2013 to 24 months in federal prison.
U.S. Attorney Carter Stewart, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, William Hayes, acting special agent in charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Detroit, which covers Michigan and Ohio, Kathy Enstrom, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS), Franklin County Sheriff Zach Scott, Columbus Police Chief Kimberley Jacobs and other members of the task force announced the sentence.