South Carolina man gets 6 years for smuggling, money laundering involving St. Regis Reservation
William D. Humphries, age 67, of Lake City, S.C. was sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court, Syracuse to 72 months imprisonment by Judge Norman A. Mordue, a news release from the Department of Justice reads. Humphries was also ordered to pay a $7 million monetary judgment, a $4,400 special assessment and undergo three years of post-release supervision.
On November 11, 2013, Humphries was convicted after a two-week-long jury trial of one count of interstate travel in aid of racketeering, one count of a wire fraud conspiracy to defraud Canada of tax revenue, one count of a conspiracy to manufacture of tobacco products without a license, and forty-one counts of concealment money laundering.Humphries conspired with individuals living on the Akwesasne reservation to smuggle Canadian tobacco to an unlicensed Canadian manufacturer.
This tobacco was manufactured into cigarettes and subsequently smuggled into Canada without the payment of any legally required taxes to Canada.
Between the summer of 2005 and May 2006, Humphries supplied the unlicensed manufacturer with approximately one load of cut-rag tobacco per week. He supplied approximately 44 loads of tobacco, with each load producing 13,200,000 contraband cigarettes, causing a tax loss to Canada of approximately $40,000,000, according to the release.
The unlicensed manufacturer was also engaged in a conspiracy to distribute marijuana smuggled in from Canada and then distributed throughout the United States. The proceeds of that marijuana distribution were used to fund the cigarette smuggling conspiracy, which employed the same smuggling routes used to bring marijuana into the United States from Canada.
In February 2006, after delivering a load of tobacco to the unlicensed manufacturer in Akwesasne, Humphries was stopped for a vehicle infraction. Law enforcement officers seized approximately $88,000 in U.S. currency he received for the sale of tobacco. A narcotics detection canine alerted to the currency, and officers were able to smell marijuana on the money. At trial, witness testimony established that the money found on Humphries was the proceeds of marijuana distribution.
In May 2006, the unlicensed manufacturers dealing with Humphries were arrested on federal marijuana charges and thereafter cooperated with the government. However, Humphries continued to sell tobacco and cigarette-making supplies to other unlicensed cigarette manufacturers based in Akwesasne. Humphries continued to receive payments in the form of proceeds of marijuana sales from unlicensed manufacturers to which he had sold Canadian blend tobacco and supplies.
In an attempt to disguise the source of the money, which was criminal proceeds, Humphries began taking substantial sums of U.S. currency to the Mohawk Bingo Palace. In recorded conversations heard by the jury with one of the government informants, he explained that he was inserting large sums of currency into the electronic bingo machines and then repeatedly cashing out at the cashiers’ window in an attempt to clean the marijuana smell from the money.
Agencies involved in the investigation were the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Police Force, Homeland Security Investigations, the Drug Enforcement Administration, Massena Police Department, United States Border Patrol and the Rensselaer County Sheriff’s Office.