SPRINGFIELD – Co-conspirators in a $20 million nationwide marijuana trafficking ring often shipped drugs in boxes purporting to contain golf carts, according to an FBI agent who testified at a hearing in U.S. District Court.
During 2018 when federal agents were hitting suspected sites linked to the Oregon-based drug trafficking ring, investigators found 745 pounds of marijuana plus lots of cash at a warehouse in Ellington, Connecticut, according to Special Agent Pasquale Morra, with the Springfield field office. The product and cash totaled nearly $600,000, the agent said.
“Was that wet or dry?” asked U.S. Magistrate Judge Katherine Robertson at a hearing on Thursday.
“I believe that was dry ma’am,” Morra responded while testifying at a bail hearing for two local defendants caught up in the investigation: William P. Murphy, 34, and Claudio Cardaropoli, 40, both of Springfield.
Some of the drugs seized at multiple sites were packaged in boxes labeled “Klub Kars” and shrink-wrapped, Morra said.
Murphy and Cardaropoli have both been charged with marijuana trafficking conspiracy, money laundering and drug distribution. Both men were caught on separate occasions in different states with large amounts of cash on them, according to an indictment unsealed on Tuesday, when the two men were arrested.
They were initially held behind bars as federal prosecutors asked for pretrial detention because of the sheer scale and value of the ring — which generated at least $20 million, according to the indictment out of Kansas City, Missouri.
“That’s a conservative figure, your honor. This case sets itself apart because of the very large volume of cash it generated … a lot of which may be unaccounted for. It could be anywhere,” despite large seizures over two years across the nation,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Neil Desroches told Robertson.