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Contraband
05/05/2009

Brothers plead guilty to involvement in marijuana trafficking ring

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Two brothers have admitted their involvement in a marijuana trafficking ring investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Michael Danzi, 31, and his brother, Brian Danzi, 34, both of Hamilton Avenue, Greenwich, each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute marijuana. In addition, Michael Danzi pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to smuggle bulk cash out of the United States, and Brian Danzi pleaded guilty to one count of distribution of marijuana.

According to documents filed with the U.S. District Court and statements made in court, Michael and Brian Danzi were members of a drug trafficking organization that was responsible for transporting shipments of high-quality hydroponic marijuana from Canada to southwestern Connecticut for distribution in and around Fairfield County. The investigation revealed that the organization that the Danzis participated in imported hundreds of pounds of marijuana into the United States over several years. The investigation also revealed that the Danzis sold approximately 30 pounds of the marijuana per month at a wholesale cost of approximately $4,000 per pound and routed the proceeds of the marijuana distribution back to Canada. During the course of the investigation, federal agents seized nearly $800,000, which was being smuggled to Canada.

On Dec. 20, 2007, a federal grand jury in New Haven returned an indictment charging the Danzis and four others, three of whom are Canadian citizens, with various marijuana trafficking and cash smuggling offenses. All six have pleaded guilty.

Michael and Brian Danzi are scheduled to be sentenced on July 23 and 24, 2009, respectively. Each faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years and a fine of up to $1 million on the marijuana conspiracy count. In addition, Brian Danzi faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years and a fine of up to $1 million on the marijuana distribution count, and Michael Danzi faces a maximum term of imprisonment of five years and a fine of up to $250,000, on the cash smuggling conspiracy count.

The seized cash, two Mercedes Benz automobiles and three all-terrain vehicles have been forfeited to the government.

The investigation was conducted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Greenwich, Stratford, Stamford, Norwalk, and Naugatuck Police Departments. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys H. Gordon Hall and Peter D. Markle of the Office's Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force.