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3 indicted for smuggling marijuana

BUFFALO, NY - Three Niagara Falls men were indicted today for smuggling marijuana into the United States.

Curtis Nalls, 27, Joseph Maudlin, 39, and Glenn Bartlett, 48, were indicted for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and to unlawfully import into the United States, over 100 kilograms of marijuana. The indictment alleges that the conspiracy occurred from 2004 to November of 2008.

The indictment charges the defendants with recruiting individuals to smuggle loads of marijuana into the U.S. by secreting the marijuana in hidden compartments of motor vehicles. Once the marijuana was brought into the United States, the defendants would distribute it to others in the Western New York area. Additionally, the indictment charges both Nalls and Maudlin together with conspiracy to obstruct a judicial proceeding pending in the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of New York.

"Working together with the Border Enforcement Security Task Force (BEST), and the Niagara County Drug Task Force, we were able to identify and disrupt this smuggling and distribution organization, and the continuing investigation will work to dismantle it completely," said Lev Kubiak, special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Buffalo. "These arrests and search warrants are directly related to outstanding cooperation between Federal, State, Local and Canadian authorities."

The indictment was the culmination of an investigation by special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Lev Kubiak, the Niagara County Drug Task Force under the supervision of Chief Investigator Mark Driess, and the Niagara Falls Police Department under the direction of Superintendent John Chella. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joel L. Violanti.

The charges carry a mandatory minimum penalty of ten years and a maximum penalty of forty years in prison, a fine of $4 million, or both.

The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.