Matt Nicka, accused head of Sonar-tied pot conspiracy in Maryland, in U.S. custody

Nearly four years after a 2010 federal indictment named Matt Nicka as the leader of a decade-long, cross-country pot conspiracy based in Baltimore, he and his co-defendant wife, Gretchen Peterson, whose lives as fugitives ended when Canadian authorities arrested them in August 2013, are in U.S. custody in Seattle, according to court records. Both had initial appearances on Oct. 16 at U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, and upcoming detention hearings have been scheduled, after which they'll presumably be packed off to face the charges against them in Maryland.

The first indication that Nicka and Peterson had left Canada was filed in Canadian courts, where records docketed on Oct. 15 quote their lawyer, Thomas Bean, as advising the court "that both Matthew John Nicka and Gretchen Jane Peterson (pictured below) were removed from Canada earlier today." In August, another alleged leader of the conspiracy, David D'Amico, was brought to Maryland after his extradition from Colombia, where he'd been living as a fugitive.

With Nicka, Peterson, and D'Amico now in the hands of U.S. justice, the end of the complex, long-running court proceedings in this case is in sight. Most of the 13 other co-defendants pleaded guilty, but two—former Sonar nightclub co-owner Daniel McIntosh and pilot Keegan Leahy—were convicted following a lengthy jury trial in the fall of 2012. McIntosh, due to prior convictions, was facing a potentially severe sentence, possibly even life in prison, but after an emotional sentencing hearing earlier this year, U.S. District Judge Roger Titus handed down the mandatory minimum of 10 years' incarceration.

D'Amico, meanwhile, is currently embroiled in a motions battle with prosecutors, who contend that his lawyer, Steve Levine, suffers from a possible conflict of interest for having previously represented another co-defendant in the case, Anthony Marcantoni, and want him to have a different attorney. D'Amico's health has also been an issue, since his pre-trial detention at the Chesapeake Detention Facility in Baltimore has presented difficulties in treating his numerous medical problems, according to court documents, including pain in his back and shin, a torn miniscus, a host of gastro-intestinal problems, and a skin rash.

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