u.s. district court worcester

U.S. District Court Worcester

FOXBORO — A Milton woman who ran a multi-million dollar black market marijuana delivery business with a stash house in Foxboro was sentenced Tuesday to four years in federal prison.

Appearing in U.S. District Court in Worcester by video conference, Deana Martin, 53, was also sentenced to three years of probation after her release from prison.

Martin is free on bail and was given until Jan. 10 to report in prison. She has a pending state case on assault charges related to a landlord-tenant dispute.

As part of a plea agreement, Martin, a mother of four children with no prior criminal record, will forfeit her home, estimated to be worth $2.4 million.

She also must pay the IRS $528,146 in unpaid taxes and $453,000 to the federal government, according to a prosecutor.

The sentence was jointly recommended by lawyers for both sides to Judge Timothy Hillman, who was not bound by the agreement.

She pleaded guilty in May to one count each of tax evasion, conspiracy to distribute marijuana, possession with intent to distribute marijuana and three counts of money laundering.

Martin operated Northern Herb, an illegal marijuana delivery service, from 2015 to 2018, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.

Northern Herb used stash houses in Canton, Milton, Foxboro and Hyde Park to store and distribute marijuana, and employed at least 25 workers, prosecutors said.

Authorities referred to the “Foxboro warehouse” in court records but did not disclose the location. It was used until operations moved to Hyde Park.

The sentence was below suggested federal guidelines of 9 to 11 years but lawyers for both sides said Martin engaged in illegal marijuana sales and not harder drugs, and took responsibility for her crimes.

Bailey said Martin started out selling marijuana to help two family members treat serious medical issues before expanding the business.

In brief remarks, Martin apologized for her actions but said she “felt it was wrong not to help” because she believes marijuana and CBD products benefit ill people.

“I shamed and hurt my family and I accept full responsibility for my actions,” Martin said.

Her lawyer, R. Bradford Bailey of Boston, said Martin overcame an abusive childhood to start a cleaning business at age 14 and paid for her education at Boston College.

He praised her business acumen and said had she obtained a license to operate the business, now legal in the state, she would not have run afoul of the law.

Northern Herb had a website that offered marijuana products, including raw marijuana, pre-rolled marijuana cigarettes and marijuana edibles, authorities said.

Between May 2016 and July 2018, authorities say Northern Herb’s revenue exceeded $14 million and it paid no taxes on sales, profits, payroll or other taxes for its employees.

The case was investigated by the U.S. Justice Department’s Tax Division, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, the IRS and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

David Linton may be reached at 508-236-0338.

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