- Associated Press - Friday, February 12, 2016

A Philadelphia defense attorney who has represented clients in high-profile crimes in Pennsylvania has been indicted in Maryland on charges of laundering money for a large drug-dealing organization, according to prosecutors and court documents.

J. Michael Farrell, 63, of Wenonah, New Jersey, was arraigned Friday in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt, Maryland, on 12 charges, including conspiracy, money laundering, tampering with an official proceeding and witness tampering.

A federal grand jury indicted Farrell in October, and the indictment was unsealed Jan. 28. Farrell pleaded not guilty and was released.

He did not return messages left at his office and on his cellphone.

The indictment alleges that Farrell conducted financial transactions for the alleged drug organization. Prosecutors say the operation was discovered by the Drug Enforcement Administration when agents executed a search warrant on a house in Baltimore in 2009.

The indictment says the home was a center of operation for the drug dealing. Agents say they seized more than 80 pounds of marijuana, $20,000 in cash, 31 cellphones, documents regarding a plane bought for $450,000, and tally sheets showing more than $14.5 million in marijuana sales.

Authorities say Farrell conducted financial transactions using the proceeds of the organization. According to the indictment, Farrell received cash from conspirators, which he deposited in his commercial bank accounts.

Farrell represented Jason Smith, who was convicted of strangling a pediatrician and setting her body on fire in Philadelphia in 2013. He also represented Laquanta Chapman, who was convicted of killing and dismembering a 16-year-old boy in a drug dispute in Chester County in Pennsylvania in 2008.



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