A California woman was sentenced to federal prison in July for her role in shipping marijuana to Upstate New York.
Simona Borissova, a 31-year-old resident of Danville, Cal., was sentenced in July to two years in prison, three years of probation, and $274,000 in fines. She was convicted in February on charges of conspiracy to launder money and conspiracy to distribute cannabis.
That state allows medical marijuana, but recreational sale, possession, and use remain illegal. It is also a federal felony to carry large amounts of pot across state lines.
Borissova pleaded guilty to the cannabis and money-laundering charges in February. Between 2011 and 2015, she admitted, she drove marijuana from her parents’ pot farm in Northern California to several stash houses in Las Vegas, where she lived.
Shipping marijuana across the country
The marijuana was then shipped out of that city by other runners, Borissova said in court. It was ultimately shipped to many points across the country, including Utica, N.Y. That’s where authorities busted her and stopped her operation.
Money was deposited in multiple bank accounts, some of them opened in Borissova’s name, others in the names of third parties who were participating in the conspiracy, she admitted at her plea hearing Feb. 10. She then withdrew the cash and used it to continue financing the cannabis operation.
Concealing illegitimate nature of transactions
Borissova’s plea included admissions that she intentionally tried to hide the nature of the bank deposits and where the money came from. The use of several accounts would have created the appearance that the cash came from legitimate sources, was being deposited in legitimate amounts, and was being withdrawn by legitimate customers.
Borissova admitted that she used the money to buy $273,665 in money orders, which she then used to buy more pot to ship across the country.
She was arrested on federal charges after an investigation by the FBI; the IRS; the ATF; the DEA; the Oneida County, N.Y., Sheriff’s Office; the Oneida County District Attorney’s Office; and the New York State Police. She was prosecuted by the DA’s office with help from a federal prosecutor in Upstate New York.
It’s not uncommon for police on the East Coast to bust marijuana runners from California. The Golden State produces more than 60 percent of the U.S. cannabis supply, both legal and otherwise. Though much of that product is sold on the state’s legal medical marijuana market, much of it crosses state lines and is sold illegally in other states.
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