The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

March 20, 2013

3 Florence residents arrested in nationwide drug bust



FLORENCE, Ala. (AP) — Authorities say three Florence residents are among 32 people arrested Tuesday on federal indictments involving a Chinese marijuana and cigarette trafficking organization.

Federal prosecutors in New York say the organization conspired to manufacture and distribute more than $45 million in marijuana. The U.S. Attorney's Office in New York's southern district also says the group distributed nearly 44 million cigarettes, resulting in more than $7 million in lost tax revenue.

The TimesDaily reports (http://bit.ly/YW6ejH) that the Florence suspects taken into custody were 51-year-old Denise Ragland, also known as Denise Roy; 27-year-old Norris Patterson; and 40-year-old Oakley Simpson. It wasn't known Wednesday whether the three have attorneys in the case.

The three Florence residents are charged with one count of marijuana conspiracy, punishable by 10 years to life in prison.

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