FEDERAL prosecutors confirmed a Michigan man who died in a plane crash in 2018 was actually the bankroller to an international drug ring who had plans to use submarines to transfer cocaine globally.
The daring Marty Tibbitts may have been the CEO of Clementine Live Answering Service during the day, but he often went by the alias "Dale Johnson" whenever it concerned his illegal business practices pushing massive amounts of drugs across the world.
Tibbitts, who died at the age of 50 in a plane crash three years ago, was a noted bank roller, both in the public and behind closed doors.
The aviation buff not only financed and founded the World Heritage Aviation Museum in Detroit, but he was flying his own vintage fighter jet when he died.
As he was piloting the jet in Wisconsin in 2018, he experienced a failure and nosedived straight into a dairy barn, killing himself and 50 cows.
Somehow, his death is nowhere near as interesting as his life and his eccentric ideas, namely, allegedly offering up funds in the hopes of building "the Torpedo," which federal prosecutors said would be a series of submarines meant to transfer innumerable amounts of cocaine across the world.
A federal indictment unearthed details of Tibbitts' double life this week as the US government brought charges against the alleged leader of Tibbitts' drug ring: Ylli Didani.
The 43-year-old was charged with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances on a boat in U.S. jurisdiction, conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, and money laundering.
Didani was arrested in North Carolina this week, with prosecutors alleging his cartel spanned at least 15 countries.
The federal government alleges the two worked together on the remote-controlled sub that would attach to the hulls of cargo ships through the use of strong magnets.
The plan would be to track the subs – of course stuffed with cocaine – and detach them from the ships up to 100 miles off European shores when then a fishing boat would pick up the sub and its pearl.
The duo went as far as to pay an unnamed company $12,000 in cryptocurrency to develop the sub. Authorities say the company was unaware that the "underwater hull scrubber device" was to be used for nefarious purposes.
Tibbitts not only financed Didani's operation, but even issued a check of $864,000 to the cartel in 2016.
He would fly by private plane to give Didani another $350,000 under the cover of darkness. Overall, he gave more the cartel more than $1.8 million, according to the indictment.
However, after Tibbitts' joyride resulted in his untimely death, Didani paused the Torpedo operation and desperately searched for a new financer, settling with one in the UAE.
But it was too late: investigators had already seized 753 kilograms of cocaine hidden in bananas in Rotterdam in August 2019.
By February 2020, Dutch police got another 644 kilos in duffel bags thanks to a tip from the US Drug Enforcement Agency.
As for Tibbitts, even neighbors of his $6.4 million, 12,000 square-foot home in Grosse Point Park, Michigan expressed doubt at the story.
"I think anybody who would hear something like this would be shocked," said a neighbor named Ari Buchanan.
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