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Wrong address leads to seizure of $200k

An address that was off by one digit when a box of cash was shipped to a Grants Pass address led narcotics officers to seize nearly $201,000 in cash believed to be tied to the sales of unlicensed marijuana across state lines.

On May 14, FedEx Corporate Security contacted the Medford Area Drug and Gang Enforcement task force about a package of cash that had been sent from Morrisville, North Carolina, to an invalid address in the 200 block of Southwest K Street in Grants Pass, according to an affidavit filed late last month in U.S. District Court in Medford by a special agent with Homeland Security.

FedEx staff tried calling phone numbers listed on the package, but the numbers apparently weren’t valid.

FedEx staff took the package to a facility in Central Point, opened it, and found $200,980 cash in “several heat-sealed bags” — it included 6,060 $20 bills, 600 $100 bills, 234 $50 bills, and eight $10 bills.

Employees and a Medford police K-9 officer involved in the investigation said the heat-sealed packages had been wrapped in carbon paper and filled with packing peanuts, and that the box flaps were sealed with a glue gun.

According to court documents filed by U.S. Attorneys in the forfeiture case, 25 FedEx shipments from the same North Carolina address were made to Oregon between June 2017 and May 2019. Eleven of the previous shipments went to a Grants Pass address in the 200 block of K Street, and a dozen other FedEx shipments in 2017 and January 2018 went to the 4200 block of Avenue E in White City.

The White City recipient, named in court documents as Felice Michael Giorgetti, is serving a 37-month prison sentence after he was convicted earlier this year in U.S. District Court in Nebraska of possessing marijuana with intent to distribute. Giorgetti was caught driving a rental truck containing 526 pounds of marijuana in 17 boxes in January 2018, according to court documents.

The shipments from North Carolina to Oregon stopped after Giorgetti’s Jan. 10, 2018, arrest, according to the special agent’s report.

U.S. Attorneys say a woman in North Carolina, who also has an address in Central Point, filed a claim to the $200,980, but federal prosecutors said her claim to the money lacks documentation.

Authorities identified two women at the North Carolina address, but they have not yet been charged with a crime.

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @MTCrimeBeat.

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