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Tattoo Shop Owner Sentenced to 36 Months in Prison for Laundering Money, Conspiring to Distribute Marijuana

U.S. Attorney’s Office October 26, 2011
  • Southern District of Ohio (937) 225-2910

COLUMBUS—Edward A. Rife, 31, of Westerville was sentenced in U.S. District Court to 36 months’ imprisonment followed by four years of supervised release for distributing between 400 and 700 kilograms of marijuana and laundering some of the proceeds of the crime through a tattoo shop he owned.

Carter M. Stewart, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio; Darryl Williams, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS); Franklin County Sheriff Zach Scott; Columbus Police Chief Walter Distelzweig; and Edward J. Hanko, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, announced the sentence handed down today by U.S. District Judge Gregory L. Frost.

Rife pleaded guilty on June 28, 2011 to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 100 kilograms of marijuana and one count of money laundering.

According to a statement read by an IRS agent during the hearing, Rife came to law enforcement’s attention during an investigation into a major drug trafficking organization. Rife was receiving and distributing between 10 and 20 pounds of marijuana per month from the organization starting in 2008. In 2009, Rife developed another source of marijuana and began receiving up to 500 pounds of marijuana at a time. He occasionally used his business, Fine Line Ink Tatoos and Piercings, to launder the drug proceeds.

“The illegal distribution of drugs devastates individuals, families and communities,” Stewart said. “The consequences of crime are often felt far beyond the individuals directly involved with the crime.”

Rife was sentenced to serve four years under court supervision after his release from prison. He also forfeited $50,000 which he netted from his drug trafficking activities.

Stewart commended the cooperative investigation by the task force agents who are conducting the investigation. as well as Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin W. Kelley and former Assistant U.S. Attorney Robyn Hahnert, who prosecuted the case.

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