Michigan youth football coach helped run illegal marijuana operation

Brandon Ragland left federal court with a years long sentence ahead of him.

The former volunteer coach for a youth football program will spend five years in prison after admitting he played a role in a drug trafficking and money laundering conspiracy that spanned six years.

"The judge gave him time to get his affairs in order," said James Thomas, his attorney. "He's gotta figure out where he's going to go, he's going to get training
while he's in there and he's going to sit awhile."

Ragland's lawyer says his client his remorseful and owned up to what he did during sentencing. Ragland laundered more than $1.6 million dollars of drug money and played a role in transporting large quantities of high grade marijuana from 2012 to 2014.

It was at the tail end of that time or right after it following his arrest, that Ragland enrolled his son in a youth football program and volunteered as a coach.

The program organizer says Ragland told him about his legal situation and was a model parent and volunteer during his time with the club.

"This case goes back to 2012-2014," Thomas said. "It has been pending for quite awhile and as it worked its way through the investigation, Ragland had a chance to turn over a new leaf and he did.

"It wasn't that he said he was sorry, here's a guy that went and got a job working for minimum wage and had the support of his employer and his family. He was supporting his wife and kids in spite the fact he was very well aware he was going to get charged."

That may have played a role in the judge's leniency at ragland's sentencing. The married father of two was facing 14 years in prison. Prosecutors wanted him to serve 12, citing his criminal history, blown second chances and disrespect of the law. 

Even so ragland ended up with just five.

"I think the judge considering both sides of the equation: number one, serious crime," Thomas said. "On the other hand, how much time is too much time to send a lesson to him and the community."

No chance of Ragland getting out of prison early, the five years is a mandatory punishment due to the quantity of marijuana sold.