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Eight Indicted in $100 Million Marijuana Ring

November 12, 1986 GMT

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) _ A federal grand jury has indicted eight people linked to a drug ring that allegedly dealt $100 million in marijuana over seven years, prosecutors said today.

Fourteen other people have pleaded guilty to drug charges in connection with the ring, which operated primarily out of northern Indiana and southwestern Michigan, U.S. Attorney John Smietanka said at a news conference.

″This is an indictment which represents an investigation of a case which has Midwest ramifications: Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Illinois are all recipients of some of the marijuana that has been imported by this ring,″ said Smietanka.

The marijuana operation, a cooperative effort between two drug rings, imported and distributed an estimated 100,000 pounds of marijuana with a street value of about $100 million between March 1979 and Sept. 2, 1986, federal authorities said.

The eight people indicted still are being sought, Smietanka said. They include the two alleged kingpins, Thomas Hickey, 30, of Mishawaka, Ind., and William McCarthy, 32, of Niles, Mich.

The 43-count indictment charges the two with running a continuing criminal enterprise, racketeering, and related drug charges as well as filing false federal income tax returns.

McCarthy could face up to 374 years in prison and fines totaling $2.5 million if convicted on all counts. Hickey could face a maximum term of 216 years and fines of $1.4 million.

The six others are charged with conspiracy, possession, distribution and intent to distribute marijuana.