A Michigan drug gang called “Team Cookies” used Detroit’s MotorCity Casino to launder illegal money after using a system of “ghost luggage” to bring drugs in from Arizona.
The clever scheme was revealed in court documents, Federal authorities having charged 13 members of the “Team Cookies” gang with drug trafficking and money laundering earlier this year.
Quantities of cocaine, crack cocaine, fentanyl, marijuana, methamphetamine, and oxycodone were among the drugs transported using commercial airlines.
The gang would buy tickets to fly from Phoenix, Arizona, filling suitcases with the illegal drugs. After checking in the bags, however, the gang members would not then fly.
Instead, the suitcases were met at Detroit Metropolitan Airport by fellow gang members, who would then distribute and sell them in the usual manner of drug dealers everywhere.
Assistant U.S. Attorney David Portelli explained at a recent court hearing:
“[They] take a picture of the slip provided by the airlines for baggage claim and send it to another person who is waiting at the destination to recover the luggage. U.S. currency and narcotics are often packed and sent in a ghost bag. This method is used to attempt to thwart law enforcement efforts in identification in the event the baggage is interdicted.”
The Feds believe drugs kingpin Leo Todd and 37-year-old Kyle “WhoppDogg” Kennard – both facing 10-years in jail – were behind the criminal enterprise, with Kennard using the fake name “Cajuan Johnson” at the MotorCity Casino as part of the money laundering process.
Described as the crown jewel of the Detroit skyline, MotorCity Casino has hit the headlines for both good and bad reasons in the past.
In 2016, a court heard of a conspiracy case involving a casino dealer, Darryl Green, who paid out on losing bets as part of a cheating syndicate. The ringleader, Earl Railey, claims that Green was drunk, not bent.
“He drank a whole half gallon of Jack Daniels which was a Christmas present from my nurse,” Railey said. “I knew he had a drinking problem. I think he was paying out when he shouldn’t have been. I can’t say he was doing it deliberately.”
In happier news, MotorCity smashed the U.S. Bad Beat poker jackpot record when quad queens beat quad threes in a hand that made all six players at the table a fortune.
The player who suffered the “bad” beat, took home the lion’s share of the jackpot –$427,452.52 – while the winner of the hand pocketed 213,712.76. The remaining four players at the table each won $106,856.28 simply for folding their hands.
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