Thomasville Times Enterprise

Local News

October 23, 2013

Canadian claims he didn't know bag held $1 million of cocaine

SALEM, Mass. — A Canadian man admitted the arrangement was "shady" but claims he had no idea a large black bag he was delivering contained 11 kilograms - 25 pounds - of cocaine with a street value of $1.1 million.

Jason Grilli testified in Salem Superior Court on Monday that he was being paid $2,500 to pick up a bag at a hotel in Peabody, a Boston suburb, and deliver it to a truck driver in Boston who would bring it back to Canada. He is on trail on charges of conspiracy and cocaine trafficking of more than 200 grams.

Grilli, 40, who lives outside Montreal, testified he thought the bag contained money that a friend named "Benny" wanted to smuggle into Canada without declaring it. Police confronted him with the bag - with the drugs inside - in December 2011.

Attorney Michael Farrell conceded to jurors that Grilli is guilty of conspiracy to commit an unlawful act. But he argued there’s no proof that Grilli knew what was in the bag he was carrying to a rented minivan in the parking lot of a Holiday Inn in Peabody.

Farrell repeatedly called Grilli a “two-bit gofer," but prosecutor Gregory Friedholm said the story makes no sense.

Why would organized crime kingpins entrust $1 million to a man claiming to be an unemployed waiter? he asked. Why did Grilli use a fake name found in text messages exchanged among leaders of a drug organization?

“I was desperate. I needed the money,” Grilli testified, adding that he was doing what his friend told him to do.

In June, Gerardo Flores, a former staff sergeant in the Arizona National Guard, was sentenced to three years after admitting to driving from Texas to Peabody to deliver money for the deal. In July, Valentine Munoz-Torres, a Mexican citizen, pleaded guilty to a trafficking charge and received a 12-year sentence.

Julie Manganis writes for The Salem, Mass., News

1
Text Only
Local News
Business Marquee
House Ads
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
AP Video
Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Poll

Do you believe President Obama's congressional opposition is fueled by racism?

Yes
No
     View Results
Video
Sports Pulse
Must Read
Must Read