17 Additional People Indicted In Large Scale Drug
MAR 29 -- Seventeen individuals have been charged in a indictment with violating various federal drug laws which include conspiracy to distribute cocaine and money laundering, announced United States Attorney Stephen J. Murphy. Mr. Murphy was joined in the announcement by Special Agent in Charge Robert L. Corso, Drug Enforcement Administration, Special Agent in Charge Maurice Aouate, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, U.S. Marshal Robert Grubbs, United States Marshals Service, and Peter Munoz, Director of the Michigan State Police.
The newly indicted were Derrick Armstrong, 35, Elijah Amir Baker, 24, William Boddie, 42, Martez Deon Byrth, 34, Monica Lane Cook, 26, Monique Lane Cook, 26, Jean Paul Grammatico, 34, Anthony Troy Gray, 33, Charles Edward Howard, Jr., 26, Dexter Joseph Hussey, 41, Danny Jones, 35, Joseph M. Jones, III, 57, Ricardo Denard McFarlin, 26, Terrance Lee Short, 34, Robert M. Sills, Jr., 33, Rashawn Simmons, 26 and Pierino Verrelli, 53.
The indictment, which was returned on December 15, 2006 and unsealed today, is related to a previous indictment returned last year that alleges that Terry Flenory, Demetrius Flenory and thirty-six others operated a drug organization, at some point named the "Black Mafia Family" (BMF), which dealt in multi-kilo quantities of cocaine in the Detroit metropolitan area beginning in the early 1990's. By the mid 1990's, the organization extended into other parts of the country including Kentucky, Georgia, Missouri, California, and Texas. As part of the conspiracy, BMF would use vehicles equipped with traps and hidden compartments to conceal and transport the cash generated from the sale of cocaine. The return of this indictment increases the total number of indicted BMF members and or individuals associated with the organization to fifty-eight defendants.
Since 2000, law enforcement has seized approximately 500 kilograms of cocaine and approximately nineteen million dollars in assets, including bank accounts, cash, real property, jewelry and vehicles. The members of this organization, using the illegal proceeds of their narcotic sales, purchased and leased numerous luxury vehicles, acquired and sold real property and purchased jewelry while concealing the true source and nature of the funds involved in the transaction through false names and nominee purchasers.
It is alleged that members of the organization would deposit large amounts of cash derived from the sale of cocaine into various bank accounts; purchase cashier’s checks and money orders; and wire transfer these funds. These funds would then be used to purchase assets and pay personal expenses with the goal of concealing the true source, nature and ownership of the funds which had been derived from the organization’s cocaine sales.
Members of the organization would also purchase winning four digit State of Michigan lottery tickets with drug proceeds from an individual who obtained them from the true winners in cash. These winning tickets, valued at over $1 million, would be redeemed with the State of Michigan's lottery bureau and used to purchase homes, make mortgage payments, and purchase vehicles, hiding the fact that the true source of the money were derived from the drug organization’s cocaine sales.
An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. Every defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government's burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.