BOSTON (WHDH) - A 51-year-old Milton woman was arrested Tuesday for allegedly running a multi-million dollar black-market marijuana delivery service that operated in Massachusetts from 2015 to 2018, United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling announced.
Deana Martin was charged with one count of conspiring to distribute more than 100 kilograms of marijuana. She appeared in federal court in Boston on Tuesday and was released on $25,000 bond. Martin’s attorney says a not guilty plea will be entered on behalf of his client.
Her son, Nathan Pierre, also came to Martin’s defense.
“As far as I know, and I know my mom obviously, she never did this to hurt anybody or break any laws,” he told 7News. “We did our due diligence trying to get licensed.”
Martin owned and managed Northern Herb, which had a website that sold an array of products including raw marijuana, pre-rolled cigarettes, and marijuana edibles, according to a charging document.
While Northern Herb purported to provide medical marijuana, prosecutors allege it did not require a customer to provide proof of a medical marijuana card. It’s also alleged that the business would deliver marijuana to unattended locations where unknown third parties might have access to it.
Northern Herb is said to have used locations in Canton, Milton, Foxborough, and Hyde Park to store and distribute marijuana. They employed at least 25 workers.
Martin is accused of setting up incentives for her employees based on monthly marijuana sales. One such incentive was a reward for selling more than 10 pounds of marijuana per month, according to investigators.
From May 2016 through July 2018, Northern Herb allegedly raked in $14 million, and Martin herself is said to have claimed an income of $80,000 per month.
Martin allegedly controlled numerous bank accounts into which funds derived from Northern Herb sales were laundered, and she is said to have used several accounts in another person’s name to conceal her control over the money and to hide it from U.S. Bankruptcy Court.
Martin paid more than $300,000 towards the mortgage on her house and to buy a 2017 Porsche Boxster, among other things, according to investigators.
Prosecutors allege that Northern Herb did not withhold or pay taxes on its millions of dollars in sales and did not remit or pay employment taxes in connection with its workforce or issue its employees W-2s or 1099s.
“We were trying to file taxes for the money that we were showing in the bank,” Pierre claimed. “We purposely weren’t hiding anything, as we figured we were operating in a gray space.”
If convicted, Martin faces up to 40 years in prison, a minimum of four years and up to a lifetime of supervised release, and a fine of up to $5 million.
She is due back in court at a later date.
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