A 39-year-old Zumbro Falls man pleaded guilty on Tuesday to conspiring to distribute marijuana, money laundering and transporting stolen gems under the name "Kay Diamonds."
Richard Allen Kay admitted in court that he intended to distribute more than 1,000 kilograms of "high-quality" marijuana out of Rochester between 1995 and 2011 with four other Minnesota men, who've already pleaded guilty, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office in Minneapolis.
Kay also admitted that he transported gems and diamonds stolen from Sterling Jewelers, a distributor based in Ohio, with the cooperation of an employee between 2001 and 2009.
The defendants all face a potential maximum penalty of life in prison on the marijuana trafficking charge. Kay also faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison for transporting stolen property, a ten-year penalty for each count of money laundering and another maximum five-year penalty for evading triggers designed to track the flow of cash when large transactions are made at banks. U.S. District Court Judge Ann Montgomery will sentence the men.
The federal government is also trying to seize hundreds of thousands of dollars of Kay's assets, including "cash, jewelry, a boat, a luxury automobile, and lakeshore property in Zumbro Falls," which the government says were bought with money brought in by illegal activity.
Richard Allen Kay and "Kay Diamonds" has no connection or affiliation with the well-known Kay Jewelers.