FEDS Connect Pittsfield Man to Marijuana Trafficking Ring
Federal prosecutors believe a Pittsfield man ran an operation that trafficked a million dollars worth of marijuana from California to The Berkshires.
According to The Berkshire Eagle, Federal Investigators intercepted a man carrying $74,000 dollars in cash in his luggage at Logan Airport in Boston on September 6 of 2016, which lead to the subsequent year long investigation and the eventual arrest of Anthony Carnute, 35, of Pittsfield.
The man traveling with the cash, referred to as a courier, told investigators they were working for a man in California named Simon Long and their job was to transport cash from marijuana sales, typically moving between $40,000 and $70,000. The money seized on that day in 2016 was believed to be a payment for 20 pounds of marijuana, from Carnute, identified as "Long's biggest customer".
For six months in 2017, investigators tracked packages from Long, which they suspected of containing marijuana. Most return addresses were fake and originated from different post offices, yet investigators said they were able to narrow down the area from which they were sent and then connected those packages and Carnute's associates. Postal records showed that dozens of suspicious packages from northern California were sent to different Pittsfield addresses of alleged associates of Carnute's, between September 2016 and September 2017. Allegedly, after packages arrived, Carnute would pick them up, then store the marijuana at three addresses in Pittsfield, on Linden Street, Strong Avenue and Glendale Avenue.
On Sept. 27, 2017, Feds received a search warrant for one of those suspicious packages and discovered over six and a half pounds of marijuana in heat sealed bags, which gave federal agents the go ahead to raided Long's home in Ukiah, California the next day.
During that search, authorities seized papers which reportedly lists four Pittsfield addresses under the heading "Whale" a nickname Long told police he gave Carnute based on his first order of marijuana from him, which was 30 pounds. After the raid, Long told investigators he'd sold Carnute approximately $1 million worth of marijuana based on a total of 500 pounds at a rate of about $2,000 a pound.
In coordination with authorities, a meeting was staged between Carnute and one of Long's associates in which Carnute was supposed to receive several packages containing marijuana. Police surveyed the meeting spot and arrested Carnute, according to court records.
Carnute's bail was set and posted at $10,000 following his arrest.
On August 8, Carnute pleaded not guilty in U.S. District Court to charges of conspiracy to distribute marijuana, possession with intent to distribute and distribution of marijuana, use of a facility of interstate commerce to distribute the proceeds of drug trafficking and conspiracy to do the same.
A message left Friday by The Berkshire Eagle at the office of Carnute's attorney, Daniel D. Kelly, was not immediately returned.