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Seven years for marijuana and money laundering leader

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney’s Office

Northern District of Ohio


Thursday, June 2, 2016

Former Hudson resident sentenced to nearly seven years in prison for leading marijuana and money laundering conspiracy

A former Hudson resident was sentenced to nearly seven years in prison for leading a conspiracy that sent marijuana from California to the Cleveland area, then laundered the drug proceeds and sent the money back to California, said Carole S. Rendon, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio.

James Sorgi, 35, was sentenced to 80 months in federal prison. He also forfeited more than $86,000 in cash and money orders.

Sorgi operated a drug trafficking organization that shipped marijuana from California to Cleveland. He grew the marijuana in California and also obtained marijuana from other growers. Sorgi then worked with Robert Serina and Stuart Pflaum to direct others to receive multi-pound shipments of marijuana in Ohio and sell it there, according to court documents.

Sorgi, working with Serina, Pflaum and others, then directed people to collect the drug proceeds and make cash deposits into various bank accounts. Sorgi, through Pflaum and Serina, then directed people to convert the cash into money orders and send the money to California, according court documents.

This took place between June 2013 and Februay 2015, according to the indictment.

The case against Serina is pending. Pflaum has pleaded guilty to his role in the conspiracy and is awaiting sentencing.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michelle Baeppler and Margaret Sweeney following an investigation by the Northern Ohio Law Enforcement Task Force and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. The NOLETF is a task force comprised of investigators from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Cleveland Division of Police, Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority, Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service, Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office, Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation and the police departments of Cleveland Heights, Euclid, Lakewood, the Regional Transit Authority, Westlake and Shaker Heights. The NOLETF is also one of the initial Ohio High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area initiatives, which supports and helps coordinate numerous Ohio drug task forces in their efforts to eliminate or reduce drug trafficking in Ohio.


DOJ Press Release

Categories: Anti-Money Laundering Department of Justice (DOJ) Updates Enforcement Actions Narcotics Trafficking Pleas and Verdicts


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