Philly lawyer convicted of aiding Baltimore drug ring

A Philadelphia attorney was convicted Thursday of laundering money for a multimillion-dollar drug ring based in Baltimore, according to federal prosecutors.

J. Michael Farrell, 63, faces a maximum of 60 years in prison after a federal jury found him guilty of 10 total counts, including conspiracy to engage in money laundering, tampering with an official proceeding, and tampering with a witness, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Maryland said in a news release. He was also acquitted on two similar counts.

Farrell’s son, Brian Farrell, said Friday that his father planned to appeal.

“We’re very disappointed in the verdict but we will continue to fight on as a family,” he said.

Prosecutors said that from 2009 to 2013, the elder Farrell worked with members of the so-called “Nicka Organization” in Baltimore to conceal the source of the profits it made from drug sales. Farrell’s involvement was uncovered during a 2009 raid in Baltimore, when DEA agents found 80 pounds of marijuana, 30 cell phones, and a ledger showing $14 million in marijuana sales inside a house that served as a group headquarters, prosecutors said.

Farrell was indicted last year. During his 15-day trial, prosecutors said, witnesses testified that Farrell deposited drug money into his account and concealed its source; paid for legal representation for other conspirators; and bought and sent money orders to incarcerated members of the “Nicka organization,” among other actions.

The three alleged leaders of the drug organization - David D’Amico, 52, of Baltimore; Matthew Nicka, 46, of Baltimore; and Gretchen Peterson, 37, of Kennett Square - pleaded guilty to charges against them last year and were each sentenced to 10 years or less in prison.

Twelve other alleged conspirators were sentenced to up to 121 months in prison, prosecutors said.

Farrell, who practiced law in Philadelphia and often defended high-profile clients, is scheduled to be sentenced in May.