Olathe man pleads guilty to casino money laundering, drug trafficking

An Olathe man pleaded guilty Monday to his role in a scheme to launder profits from marijuana trafficking through a casino in Kansas City, Kan., U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said.

Christopher Anderson, 31, Olathe, Kan., pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute marijuana and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.

In his plea, he admitted he and other conspirators inserted more than $470,000 in proceeds of drug trafficking into slot machines at the Hollywood Casino in Kansas City, Kan. Then they cashed out at an ATM machine in the casino without playing, the U.S. attorney’s office said. Their purpose was to convert small denomination bills into large denomination bills that were easier to transport from Kansas to California, according to the U.S. attorney.

Anderson also admitted the following:

• The trafficking organization to which he belonged cultivated marijuana in California and transported it to the Kansas City area for distribution.
• During the early days of the organization, traffickers mailed Home Depot buckets and basketballs containing marijuana from California to Kansas. Over time, they began to drive cars carrying marijuana from California to Kansas, and money from Kansas to California.
• The conspirators also used Money Grams to send cash from Kansas to California.

Sentencing will be scheduled at a later time. Anderson faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison and a fine up to $500,000 on the money laundering charge and a maximum penalty of five years and a fine up to $250,000 on the drug distribution charge.

Grissom commended the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, the U.S. Secret Service and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Erin Tomasic for their work on the case.

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