A co-conspirator in a federal drug case involving a Pinehurst business man has also pleaded guilty to drug and money laundering charges in connection with a marijuana distribution ring.
Alexander W. Ferguson, of Suffolk, Va., entered guilty pleas in federal court in Raleigh to conspiracy to distribute and possess more than 100 kilograms (220 pounds) of marijuana and conspiracy to launder monetary instruments after waiving indictment earlier this month, according to federal court records.
A sentencing for Ferguson, who is free on bond, is tentatively scheduled for July 11 in federal court.
Pinehurst resident Michael T. Haas is scheduled to be sentenced on identical charges sometime in April after his initial hearing March 15 was delayed at the request of his attorney. No reason was given for the postponement.
Haas has remained free on an unsecured $1 million bond since he was arrested last August while playing golf on Pinehurst No. 2. Originally, the conditions of Haas’ release included a curfew of 11 p.m. to 6 a.m., and the requirement that he live with his sister in Wake County during that timeframe and be subjected to electronic monitoring. That restriction was lifted last month.
The criminal complaint against Haas, unsealed after his arrest, is based on an affidavit from a special agent with the N.C. Alcohol Law Enforcement division, who is part of a federal task force with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
The affidavit laid out how a “co-conspirator” — identified as Ferguson — helped piece together Haas’ role, as well another man identified in the complaint as Samuel Seth Smitwick, and provided the details on how the scheme reportedly worked. According to that affidavit, filed in the criminal complaint against Haas, the investigation is based in part on conversations Ferguson secretly taped while wearing a recording device in June. He was playing golf with Haas in Hawaii.
Ferguson has been cooperating with investigators in “hopes of receiving leniency in prosecution,” according to the criminal complaint against Haas. The two criminal charges against Ferguson were filed Feb. 22.
According to the affidavit, a drug-smuggling plan was instigated in 2012 when Ferguson and Haas flew on a private jet to Germany to celebrate Oktoberfest. Ferguson asked Haas about using private jets to transport marijuana from the West Coast to North Carolina, according to the affidavit. Before then, he had been sending “bulk shipments” of marijuana through the Postal Service to North Carolina and Virginia.
Haas used his corporate credit card to pay for leasing private jets, costing thousands of dollars, for three shipments that October and early November, and another in January 2014.
A fifth flight was planned flight in July, but no marijuana was shipped. It was used as the final piece in building the case against Haas.