FORT WAYNE, Ind. — Prosecutors told a federal judge that the brother of a former NFL player is a member of a large, profitable drug conspiracy ring that moved thousands of pounds of marijuana and millions of dollars in cash with supply chains in California and Arizona.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony Gellar told Magistrate Judge Roger Cosbey during a detention hearing Tuesday in Indiana that the drug trafficking conspiracy that Michael Fabini, the younger brother of former New York Jets offensive lineman Jason Fabini, and 33-year-old Marshall Butler were allegedly involved in was anything but "run of the mill," The Journal Gazette reported (http://bit.ly/WuxKXu).
Gellar said Michael Fabini helped maintain a drug stash house in Fort Wayne where guns and more than $1 million in cash were found alongside bales of marijuana. He said in a search of Fabini's mother's home, agents found a Chevrolet Impala owned by Michael Fabini with 35 pounds of marijuana in its trunk. At another house, they found an AR-15-type rifle and a Mossburg 500 shotgun registered to Fabini, Gellar said.
Prosecutors said drug ledgers found indicated the operation handled at least 10,000 pounds of marijuana with a value of at least $5 million.
Butler and Fabini were indicted last week on federal charges of conspiracy to distribute more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana and two counts of maintaining a place for the purpose of manufacturing, distributing or using marijuana. The rest of the 41-count indictment accuses Fabini of laundering drug money.
Both men pleaded not guilty. Cosbey ordered they be held without bond. Each faces 10 years to life if convicted.
Fabini's attorney, Randy Hammond, had asked that his client be released from custody, presenting about a dozen letters from family and friends, including Fabini's pastor. Hammond said his client has been in counseling for about 12 weeks and voluntarily turned himself over to officials when news of the grand jury's indictment came down.
A message seeking comment from Hammond was left at this office by The Associated Press on Wednesday. The AP also left a message seeking comment from Butler's attorney, Thomas O'Malley
Gellar told Cosbey that the support for Fabini was evidence of his success at leading a double life.
"He has a great deal of sophistication when it comes to hiding things," he said. "I'm sure some of this information is new to his family and friends. He's led another life for a long period of time."
Information from: The Journal Gazette, http://www.journalgazette.net