PORTLAND, Ore.—Portland resident Isaiah Holt, 31, pleaded guilty today to conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute marijuana and cocaine, money laundering, and illegally possessing a firearm as a convicted felon. Holt is a licensed electrician, motivational speaker, and fitness coach.
According to court documents, beginning in July 2016 and continuing until his arrest in April 2018, Holt used his association with a licensed marijuana producer in Portland to divert state-legal marijuana into the black market. Holt sold marijuana in-person to out-of-state customers traveling to Oregon and by mail to remote customers using the U.S. Postal Service.
Holt recruited two individuals to use their bank accounts to receive and launder proceeds of his marijuana sales. Out-of-state customers would send Holt mailing addresses and deposit payments into bank accounts in the names of various third-party associates. Holt would then direct these associates to withdraw the money from their accounts on his behalf. He used the cash to purchase multiple vehicles that he registered in his girlfriend and co-defendant’s name, Marjorie Livington. Holt also directed Livingston, 39, of Portland, to purchase and register firearms for him using her name.
On April 4, 2018, agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) obtained and executed a search warrant on Holt and Livingston’s Northeast Portland residence. Agents found 11.5 grams of cocaine and nearly $2,000 in cash on Holt’s person and drug packaging materials, shipping labels, 14 pounds of marijuana, three firearms, and $46,100 in cash in the residence.
After his arrest and federal indictment, Holt continued to distribute cocaine. From April to August 2019, law enforcement conducted three controlled purchases of cocaine from Holt. While on his way to a fourth pre-arranged buy, Holt eluded a marked police car and later fled on foot, discarding approximately two ounces of cocaine along the way. In total, law enforcement purchased or recovered from Holt approximately 158 grams of cocaine during these purchases.
Conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute marijuana and cocaine is punishable by up to 20 years in prison, a $1 million fine, and three years’ supervised release. Money laundering is punishable by up to 20 years in prison, a $500,000 fine or twice the value of property involved, and three years’ supervised release. Illegally possessing a firearm as a convicted felon is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and three years’ supervised release.
Holt will be sentenced on March 9, 2020 by U.S. District Court Chief Judge Michael W. Mosman.
As part of his plea agreement, Holt has agreed to forfeit one Smith & Wesson .40 caliber pistol, one Ruger AR-556 5.56 caliber rifle, one Taurus 9mm pistol, all seized ammunition, and $46,100 in cash. He has also agreed to pay $32,600 to satisfy a forfeiture money judgement.
Livingston was indicted alongside Holt for conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute marijuana and making false statements during the purchase of a firearm. She is scheduled to plead guilty to the firearms charge on December 16, 2019.
The case was investigated by ATF, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Portland Police Bureau. It is being prosecuted by Julia Jarrett and Leah Bolstad, Assistant U.S. Attorneys for the District of Oregon.
The case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN). PSN is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.
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