Leader of Detroit Drug Conspiracy Pleads Guilty
APR 12 -- A 35-year-old West Bloomfield man pleaded guilty to charges of narcotics trafficking and money laundering, United States Attorney Stephen J. Murphy announced today.
Mr. Murphy was joined in the announcement by Special Agent in Charge Robert Corso, United States Drug Enforcement Administration, Special Agent in Charge Maurice Aouate, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, Special Agent in Charge Daniel D. Roberts, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Novi Police Chief David Molloy.
Pleading guilty before U.S. District Judge Avern Cohn was Quasand Daniell Lewis, the principal supervisor of a criminal enterprise involving the distribution of more than 30,000 kilograms of marijuana in Detroit, California, Arizona and elsewhere.
In July 2005, a grand jury sitting in the Eastern District of Michigan at Detroit returned an indictment charging Lewis and 22 other individuals with various drug trafficking and money laundering offenses. The defendants were charged with conspiracy to distribute marijuana and cocaine, and with money laundering, in the Detroit area and elsewhere, from 1994 through the present.
At today ’ s plea hearing, Lewis admitted that he engaged in a conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 10,000 kilograms of marijuana. Lewis also pled guilty to money laundering, and admitted that he engaged in financial transactions knowing that the properties involved in those transactions constituted or were traceable to the proceeds of drug trafficking. Lewis admitted that he organized and managed the organization which distributed marijuana here in the Detroit area.
Under the terms of his plea agreement, Lewis faces up to 264 months imprisonment and a fine of up to $4,000,000.
The indictment also charged criminal forfeiture. In his plea agreement, Lewis has agreed to the judicial forfeiture of more than $9.5 million in various assets, including his interest in real properties, motor vehicles, jewelry, bank accounts, and cash. An additional $8.75 million in currency was seized and has already been forfeited from the Quasand Lewis organization, including currency that was seized from a Novi hotel room in March 2004, as well as cash seized in Ohio, Oklahoma, and Michigan. The total forfeiture, to date, from the Quasand Lewis organization exceeds $18.4 million.
“ I salute the dedication and tireless efforts of the entire law enforcement team who worked together to bring down this drug dealer, who for over a decade, subjected our citizens to violence, and our neighborhoods to the devastation associated with narcotics trafficking, ” United States Attorney Stephen J. Murphy said. “ Their dedication reflects the finest in cooperation and teamwork between federal and local law enforcement agencies. ”
IRS Special Agent in Charge Aouate stated that, "Drug dealers, like any other criminals, are motivated by greed. IRS Criminal Investigation's unique role is to follow the money trail left by drug dealers and seize the money supply that feeds their organization. Our intent is to dismantle their financial empire."
Special Agent in Charge Corso stated, “ I am extremely pleased with today's announcement because it confirms that Mr. Lewis will be staying in prison for a very long time. With each guilty plea and conviction in this case comes another victory for the people of Detroit."
A sentencing date will be set by the Court.
The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Internal Revenue Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Novi Police Department, Michigan State Police, Wayne County Sheriff ’ s Department, Monroe County Sheriff ’ s Department, Oakland County Sheriff ’ s Department, Detroit Police Department, Dearborn Police Department, Farmington Hills Police Department, West Bloomfield Police Department, Troy Police Department, Sterling Heights Police Department, Warren Police Department, and the Oak Park Police Department participated in this investigation.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Janice Terbush and Rita Foley.