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Two Moon brothers arrested in Mexico-Pennsylvania marijuana ring

Jason Cato
| Friday, April 17, 2009, 12:00 p.m.

Two Moon brothers are accused of employing couriers, used cars and safe houses to run a marijuana-distribution operation that brought more than a ton of pot from Mexico to Western Pennsylvania.

Federal prosecutors in Illinois this week unsealed drug-trafficking conspiracy charges against Ross Eugene Landfried III, 27, known as "Tall" or "Old Boy," and Noah Adam Landfried, 24. They are accused of transporting more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana along the Interstate 80 corridor since 2002.

The Landfrieds, arrested Wednesday by the Drug Enforcement Administration, are scheduled to appear for detention hearings today in federal court, Downtown, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Lisa Lenihan. The case will be tried by federal prosecutors in Illinois.

Others charged in the conspiracy include: Victor James Gaydos, 30, and Philip Stephen Preda, 37, both of Aliquippa; Dwayne William Corrigan, 24, and Joshua Wayne Welling, 28, both of Ambridge; and William Keitel, 25, of Bellevue.

A federal investigation into the ring started in April 2007, when two people connected to the group were arrested in Illinois with 217 pounds of marijuana, an Illinois state trooper stated in an affidavit filed under seal April 10 in Rock Island, Ill.

According to the affidavit:

An informant told agents the Landfrieds cultivated a source in Mexico who sold them marijuana for $600 a pound. Informants told investigators the brothers sometimes sold the pot for $2,000 a pound.

The brothers started to pay cash for used cars and often paid drug-runners to register the vehicles in their names after agents searched rental cars the Landfrieds returned to Pittsburgh International Airport in April 2004.

The brothers rented residences in Tucson, Ariz., Las Vegas, Iowa, Nebraska and Chicago to store marijuana, as shipments made their way across the country. Some drugs were picked up in Wyoming.

Corrigan told agents he bought more than 300 pounds of marijuana from the Landfrieds between 2002-05. He said he recruited couriers for the brothers for Tucson-to-Pittsburgh runs and paid them $2,000 per trip.

In February 2007, Iowa state police arrested Gaydos after finding 250 pounds of marijuana in the trunk of the car he was driving. He said he started transporting drugs for the Landfrieds in 2006. Gaydos pleaded guilty to a federal drug charge in February 2007.

Preda, Welling and Keitel worked as couriers for the Landfrieds, prosecutors said. Preda rented a Nebraska residence used a safe house, investigators said.

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