MILTON (CBS) – A Milton woman is facing federal charges after she allegedly ran a black market marijuana company worth $14 million.
Deana Martin, 51, was arrested at her home on Canton Avenue Tuesday. The U.S. Attorney’s office said Martin operated Northern Herb out of that house and from locations in Hyde Park and Foxboro. The company’s website sold several types of marijuana products, with a minimum of $100 an order, according to court documents.
Though Northern Herb offered medical marijuana, federal prosecutors say customers were not required to show a medical marijuana card to make a purchase. Packages were allegedly delivered to unattended homes or mailboxes where anyone could access the drugs.
At least 25 people were employed at Northern Herb, all allegedly paid off the books. According to prosecutors, the company’s revenue exceeded $14 million from 2016-2018 and Martin claimed an income of $80,000 per month.
“Martin allegedly used money from Northern Herb sales to pay more than $300,000 towards the mortgage on her house and to buy a 2017 Porsche Boxster, among other things,” prosecutors said.
Northern Herb did not withhold or pay taxes on its marijuana sales, investigators said. In an email referencing cannabis taxes being charged by one state, Martin allegedly wrote “Zero taxes is still better.”
Martin is charged with conspiring to distribute more than 100 kilograms of marijuana. She faces at least five years in jail and a possible fine of up to $5 million. She was arraigned in U.S. District Court in Boston Tuesday afternoon and released on several conditions, including handing over her passport.
According to court documents, federal agents searched her home back in August. Her attorney, Brad Bailey, told WBZ-TV they were expecting her to be arrested.
“She has every intention of pleading not guilty to all of the allegations in this case,” Bailey said. “She’s planning a vigorous and aggressive defense down the line, but this is so preliminary.”
“We always suspected there was some kind of shenanigans going on,” a neighbor of Martin’s told WBZ. “I wasn’t surprised because there’s always a lot of cars coming in and out of that house.”