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Most Wanted: Marshals on nationwide hunt for couple in massive drug operation

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Local,Crime,Scott McCabe,Most Wanted

U.S. marshals are looking for a fugitive couple accused in a massive nationwide pot-dealing conspiracy.

Matt Nicka was the head of the organization, Gretchen Peterson his assistant. Both are wanted by the Drug Enforcement Agency on charges of conspiracy to distribute and manufacture more than 1,000 kilos (or 2,200 pounds) of marijuana.

D.C.'s MOST WANTED
The Washington Examiner has helped bring 50 fugitives to justice through its weekly spotlight on a wanted individual.

Matt Nicka
Description: 5-foot-6; 210 pounds; tattoo of letter "M" on left wrist
Aliases: Anthony Thacker, Matt Marino, Calvin Bartlett

Gretchen Peterson
Description: 5-foot-7; 160 pounds; tattoo of bird in center of upper back
Alias: Bella

IF SPOTTED: Anyone with information regarding their whereabouts can call the Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force at 301-489-1717.

A dozen conspirators already have pleaded guilty in federal court in Greenbelt.

"In terms of a history of arrests, these two are not Bonnie and Clyde, but they are running a huge national drug distribution ring and need to be taken into custody," said Matt Burke, supervisory inspector for the Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force.

Nicka, 38, and Peterson, 33, have enormous resources and a countrywide network to help them hide, authorities say.

"We need to use The Examiner's nationwide network to help bring them in," Burke said.

The drug ring transported huge loads of marijuana from Northern California to warehouses around Baltimore, then shipped the drugs to midlevel dealers north to Pennsylvania and as far south as Louisiana, authorities said.

The couple uses numerous fake identities and may have changed their appearances.

Nicka also goes by Anthony Thacker, Matt Marino, and Calvin Bartlett. He is 5-foot-6 and 210 pounds. He has a tattoo of the letter "M" on his left wrist.

Peterson, 5-foot-7 and 160 pounds, has a tattoo of a bird in the center of her upper back. She also goes by Bella.

Anyone with information regarding their whereabouts can call the task force at 301-489-1717.

Tips from Examiner readers have led directly to the arrests of 50 fugitives, including some as far away as New York and North Carolina.

smccabe@washingtonexaminer.com

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