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Prosecutors: Head of drug trafficking conspiracy moved tons of marijuana through North Carolina

By Cleve R. Wootson Jr.
cwootson@charlotteobserver.com

A Charlotte man will likely spend the rest of his life in prison after being sentenced Wednesday on federal drug trafficking, money laundering and gun charges.

Parker Antron Coleman, 28, was sentenced to nearly 60 years in prison.

Federal prosecutors say Coleman was the head of a conspiracy that transported more than four tons of marijuana to the Charlotte area. Coleman’s organization was linked to California-based “Mexican Mafia” drug traffickers, authorities said. About 70 people involved in the conspiracy have been prosecuted, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Investigators called the probe into the organization “Operation Goldilocks.”

Coleman’s organization had couriers – mostly his friends and family members – who used commercial flights to travel between California and North Carolina carrying cash one way and 100-pound parcels of marijuana the other way, according to prosecutors. An accomplice at California’s airport helped get the drugs through security.

The scheme unraveled in November 2010, when officers recovered $117,595 from two of Coleman’s couriers and 30 pounds of marijuana from the SouthPark home of a co-conspirator. Another search turned up nearly $100,000 in cash, a gun and money laundering evidence at a home linked to Coleman.

Coleman initially denied owning the home, but investigators found information that tied the property to him, including business records, photos and $15,000 worth of exotic fish and aquarium equipment, according to prosecutors.

Coleman, a convicted felon, was arrested on Nov. 16, 2010. Two handguns were found in a secret compartment of his luxury SUV, prosecutors said.

Wootson: 704-358-5046; Twitter: @CleveWootson
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