FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) Michael Fabini pleaded not guilty to the more than 40 charges against him on Tuesday. Fabini is accused of being involved in what appears to be a major marijuana trafficking ring. He faces six counts of marijuana trafficking dating back to 2007 and 38 counts of money laundering.
Marshall Butler and Jamison Gudorf were also indicted after the December raids and pleaded not guilty Tuesday. Butler faces three counts of marijuana trafficking. Gudorf is charged with having a machine gun not registered to him and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
In court, Fabini’s attorney presented letters to the judge vouching for his positive community impact and explaining why Fabini would not be a flight risk. The letters were from family, friends, his pastor, and even a principal from an area Catholic school.
On the other hand, a federal attorney said Fabini was leading a double life for quite a long time. He said between 2009 and 2012, Fabini spent $1.7 million cash gained from drug trafficking.
Despite attempts from defense attorneys, the judge decided all three men will remain in custody of U.S. Marshals until their trials.
Jason Fabini, Michael’s brother and former NFL player, was in the courtroom Tuesday along with his mother, brother, and other family and friends.
Only Michael’s former stepbrother, Byron Peters, wanted to speak about the indictment. He said the Fabini family maintains that Michael is innocent until proven guilty.
NewsChannel 15 asked Peters if he was surprised when Fabini received the charges.
“I guess there were rumors and innuendos beforehand. But yeah, a little shocked, yeah. They’re family,” Peters said.
When asked if Peters ever questioned where Fabini’s $1.7 million cash was coming from, he said, “Michael had a very lucrative lawn care company. And he was very good at it.”
A trial date for Fabini, Butler, and Gudorf has not yet been set.
Three indicted following December raids
A series of raids conducted by the FBI in December 2012 prompted the indictment of the three men. According to court documents, Fabini faces more than 40 charges for his involvement in what appears to be a major marijuana trafficking ring.
Fabini is accused of spending $224,910.97 in cash received from drug trafficking. He is said to have spent the money in 36 different payments to four different businesses from May 14, 2010 to March 28, 2011.
Court documents also allege:
- Fabini transferred $70,154.99, gained from drug trafficking, from J.P.M. Chase Bank to Star Financial Bank.
- Fabini deposited $15,000, gained from drug trafficking, into a Wells Fargo Bank account of Research Landings, Inc.
Butler has also been named in three of the charges with Fabini.
In one charge, Fabini and Butler are accused of being involved with a property on Antwerp Road in Harlan back in 2008. NewsChannel 15 discovered the same property had been raided by the Allen County Sheriff’s Department on March 6, 2008.
During the 2008 raid, officials seized almost three and a half tons of marijuana, making it the largest marijuana bust in Allen County history. Matthew McChesney was arrested and later sentenced to 27 years for the estimated $6 million bust.
Gudorf, 40, has also been indicted and faces gun-related charges.
According to Allen County tax records, someone with the last name Gudorf owns a property at 10110 Unita Drive on the southwest side of Fort Wayne. That’s the same property the FBI raided in December and removed dozens of rifles.
According the court documents, if Fabini is convicted of any of the counts against him, he would be forced to forfeit his home at 6619 Cherry Hill Parkway, as well as some other equipment.
The Cherry Hill home has had significant improvements done in recent years. The Allen County assessor’s office valued the home at $277,500 in 2009. But after improvements made under Fabini’s ownership, the value ballooned to $675,000 as of May 2012.