PANAMA CITY, Fla. – A northwest Florida man was sentenced Tuesday to 15 years in federal prison for his role in a large-scale marijuana trafficking organization. The sentencing resulted from an investigation led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), with assistance from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Drug Enforcement Administration; the Washington County Sheriff's Office and the Bay County Sheriff's Office.
From August 2009 to his arrest in February, Rufus Daniel "RD" Curington Jr., 71, of Vernon, Fla., and his accomplices received four to five tons of marijuana from a Mexican drug-trafficking organization. They stored the marijuana in houses in and around Vernon until they could distribute it in northern Florida or transport it to central Florida for distribution. They also stored drug proceeds at those houses until they could transport the cash to Texas, and subsequently, Mexico.
At the time of his arrest, Curington was holding around $156,000 in drug proceeds that he planned to transport to Texas, as well as three firearms he used to protect his drug activities.
"This investigation dismantled a drug trafficking organization that stretched across state lines with ties to Mexico," said Shane Folden, deputy special agent in charge of HSI Tampa, which oversees the agency's Panama City office. "Our communities are now safer because of the work of HSI and our partner law enforcement agencies."
As a result of this investigation, HSI seized more than 2,700 pounds of drugs, 61 weapons, more than $500,000 of U.S. currency and four trucks.