By Steve Elliott
The dramatic exploits of a lifetime of smuggling came to an end on Thursday when 80-year-old Marshall Herbert Dion entered his guilty plea in federal court to running a huge marijuana-dealing and money-laundering operation.
Dion, who owned houses in Massachusetts, Colorado, and Arizona, had $11 million hidden in a North Reading, Mass., storage facility, and once crawled away from a Wisconsin plane crash as thousands of dollars in cash -- suspected drug profits -- floated through the air around him, reports Milton J. Valencia at The Boston Globe.
Under his plea agreement with federal prosecutors, Dion could serve 5 to 7 years in a federal penitentiary, ending a lucrative career that spanned decades until a chance traffic stop in, of all places, Kansas.
“Over the course of the conspiracy . . . he had sold approximately 3,000 to 10,000 kilograms of marijuana,” Assistant US Attorney Leah Foley claimed during a brief court hearing.
"Mr. Dion has embraced his responsibility and is looking forward to the next chapter in his life," said his lawyer, Hank Brennan.
The end began for Dion's smuggling career with a June 2013 traffic stop in Junction City, Kansas. A police officer pulled him over for driving 80 mph in a 75 mph zone; during the stop, the officer searched Dion's old pickup and found nearly $850,000 in cash.