CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) – A man from Chicago pleaded guilty Monday for his part in a drug-trafficking conspiracy, U.S. Attorney Carol Casto said.
Richard Fleming entered his guilty plea to aiding and abetting the attempted distribution of 100 kilograms or more of marijuana.
Investigators say Fleming was involved with a drug-trafficking ring operated out of Arizona and Mexico that included shipment of more than 300 kilograms of marijuana. He admitted to picking up nearly $600,000 in proceeds from a March 2010 shipment to Putnam County, West Virginia.
Police were aware of the transaction and conducted a traffic stop on Fleming’s vehicle in Kentucky where a duffel bag of cash was recovered.
Investigators say Fleming fled the country to Mexico to avoid prosecution, but he was eventually arrested in August of this year.
Fleming faces at least five and up to 40 years in federal prison when he is sentenced Feb. 12.
Fifteen other people have been prosecuted as part of the investigation. Law enforcement officers have seized more than $1 million in drug proceeds, as well as an airplane belonging