IRS Accuses Cleveland DJ of Laundering Weed Proceeds Through Record Company Bank Account


IRS investigators are accusing a local DJ of being in a drug trafficking organization and funneling some of the money from its marijuana sales through a record label he started.

Stuart "Stu" Pflaum, 33, known as DJ Xplosive, was arrested on Friday and charged with money laundering, according to federal court records, following a nearly two year investigation conducted jointly by IRS agents, United States Postal Inspectors, and the Northern Ohio Law Enforcement Task Force.

According to an affidavit filed by an IRS investigator, Pflaum and others in the Cleveland area received shipments of "high-grade marijuana" and hash oil from California since 2013, and then Pflaum would launder some of the money from the sale of that weed into the bank accounts for the record label he started, Element 9 Recordings. In Cleveland-area banks, he'd deposit less than $10,000 each time to avoid mandatory reporting of that money, and then his people in California would often withdraw that amount the same day, it says.

The post office intercepted 14 Ohio-bound packages associated with the investigation, seizing 75 pounds of marijuana and six pounds of hash oil. They also seized 14 California-pound packages, taking $86,100 in cash and money orders.

Pflaum was just one of a number of people associated with this group, and there were at least 28 bank accounts used by them, it says, where $730,050 was deposited and $662,036 was withdrawn. The affidavit states that Pflaum laundered $45,850 through the Element 9 Recordings bank account.

It is unclear now the entire scope of the investigation and who else is involved. The IRS analyzed financial records from grand jury subpoenas, informants and witnesses were used, and they have security photos from when they were at the bank.

Plaum is a 2006 Ohio University grad, and in 2011, the Athens News wrote a story about his music and record label.

An Ohio University alumnus’ record label is anticipating the release of the label’s first major album.

According to an Element 9 Muzik press release, West Coast hip-hop group Strong Arm Steady’s album, “Arms & Hammers,” will be in stores Feb. 22.

Stu Pflaum founded Element 9 Companies in 2005 while attending OU. The outfit is based in Cleveland.

“I think the album will be well received,” said Pflaum, also known as DJ Xplosive. “It’s hard to sit on a record this good and not want to share it with the world immediately.”

Element 9 Companies house a digital marketing firm, a publishing firm and the record label, Element 9 Muzik.

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Doug Brown

Doug Brown is a staff writer at Scene with a passion for public records laws and investigative reporting. A native of Ann Arbor, Mich., he has an M.A. in journalism from the Kent State University School of Journalism and Mass Communication and a B.A. in political science from Hiram College. Prior to joining Scene,...
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