Marshall Dion, an 80-year-old marijuana kingpin, is set to receive his sentence this week for his decades-long involvement with what has turned out to be a massive marijuana distribution network.
Many of the reporters and lawyers who have been involved with Dion’s case over the past 20 years describe him as a charismatic, unassuming, and charming senior citizen—not the kind of person pop culture likes to depict as a drug dealer.
“You could have mistaken him for a businessman or a lawyer,” former assistant district attorney John F. Coffey once told reporters.
“If you walked into a courtroom, you wouldn’t call him a drug dealer.”
Dion’s lawyer, Hank Brennan, had a similar reaction when he first met the octogenarian.
“I find him to be extraordinarily charismatic and intelligent as I’ve gotten to know him,” Brennan said.
But Dion is not your average retiree. He’s the mastermind behind an illegal marijuana distribution empire that’s already becoming the stuff of urban legend.
In 1985, he crashed his single-engine airplane in rural Wisconsin, and was later found crawling away from the crash site with two broken ankles. He denied that the $112,000 found at the wreckage and floating through the air was his.
Later in the ’80s, he was arrested in Boston when authorities found more than 180 pounds of marijuana stashed in his car, along with another 101 pounds hidden in a commercial storage unit.
As it turns out, Dion had a vast network of storage facilities and distribution routes throughout the U.S. At one point, it was rumored that he owned homes in Colorado, Arizona, and Massachusetts, and that he was connected to even more storage facilities and warehouses, all of which were involved in some way with his marijuana business.
Dion had yet another run-in with the law in 2013, when he was pulled over for speeding in Junction City, Kansas. After searching the vehicle, cops discovered just under $1 million in cash stashed in the truck.
That traffic stop eventually led authorities to addresses in Massachusetts and Arizona, where they found another $15 million in cash and 400 pounds of marijuana.
“Apparently he has houses all over New England,” a spokesperson for the Boston Police Department told reporters. “He’s a major operator, there’s no question.”
Dion’s drug distributing career—which many have commented is the stuff Hollywood movies are made of—may be coming to an end, however, as he is scheduled to receive his sentence this Thursday from a federal court.
After making a plea deal with prosecutors, Dion could face as many as seven years in prison.
(AP Photo/Junction City Police Department) (The Associated Press)