Angeles Rapper/Producer Among Those
JUN 28 -- (Phoenix) - A federal grand jury in Phoenix has indicted six men alleged to be the leaders of a multi-state conspiracy responsible for trafficking over 34 tons of marijuana from Arizona to California, Georgia and Michigan over a nine-year period. The three-count indictment was unsealed Friday, following the coordinated arrest of several defendants and the execution of multiple search warrants.
DEA Special Agent in Charge Elizabeth W. Kempshall stated: “This individual portrayed himself as a legitimate music producer, but law enforcement has revealed who he really is: a drug dealer whose criminal enterprise sold nothing but poison and addiction to its customers. This cooperative investigation shows the resolve of DEA and our law enforcement partners in bringing to justice these criminals. Now, these traffickers will face the music for preying upon the weaknesses of others.”
Among the defendants is Rickey Lamonte Colley, Jr., 34, a music producer and rapper in Los Angeles under the name “Mr. Rikk aka the Hard Money Lender.” Also charged are Anthony Eugene Jackson, 42, of Mableton, Georgia, Genairo Eline Higgins, 33, of Alpharetta, Georgia, Sylvester Demetrius Thomas, 39, of Detroit, Michigan, and Michael Lee White, 44, of Ontario, California. Defendants Colley and White are in custody in Los Angeles awaiting detention hearings. Defendants Jackson, Higgins and Broadway are in custody in Atlanta awaiting detention hearings. Defendant Thomas has not yet been apprehended.
The indictment, which was returned in Phoenix on June 16, 2010, charges the six defendants with Conspiracy to Possess with the Intent to Distribute Over 1,000 Kilograms of Marijuana, Conspiracy to Commit Promotional Money Laundering, and Conspiracy to Commit Concealment Money Laundering between December 16, 2003 and May 4, 2010.
The indictment alleges that the six defendants were the leaders of a marijuana trafficking and money laundering organization which investigators say obtained over 34 tons of marijuana over a nine-year period from suppliers in Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona, then shipped it in tractor-trailers to Atlanta and Detroit for distribution. The indictment alleges that the group used multiple means to launder the proceeds of the marijuana sales, including the purchase of real estate, luxury cars and cruise-line stock. Investigators also allege that Colley used criminal proceeds to operate a Los Angeles-based music company called Atomic Music Group.
The indictment also alleges that the defendants are responsible for the forfeiture of approximately $25 million, representing the proceeds of criminal activity or the property involved in the commission of the crimes. Investigators said multiple assets were seized during the investigation, and in search warrants executed last week, including approximately $1.6 million in cash, approximately $330,000 in jewelry, a 2007 Ferrari Scaglietti worth approximately $350,000, a 2006 Saleen Mustang worth approximately $70,000, a 2011 Jaguar worth approximately $140,000, a 2006 Maserati Quattroporte worth approximately $120,000, a 2003 Range Rover worth approximately $60,000, a 2002 Mercedes G500 worth approximately $80,000, a custom luxury van worth approximately $100,000, $200,000 in shares of stock in a cruise line company, and two houses and a condominium in Georgia.
U.S. Attorney Dennis K. Burke stated: “These charges paint a portrait of flagrant criminal conspiracy, where an artist who might have applied his talents elsewhere instead joined with others to flaunt the laws of the United States, to enrich themselves and lead luxury lifestyles.”
Dawn Mertz, Special Agent in Charge of the IRS Criminal Investigations (IRS-CI), stated: “IRS-CI has been involved in combating drug-related crimes since 1919 and we will continue to investigate allegations of drug trafficking by pursuing income tax, currency, and money laundering charges against those pursuing this endeavor.”
A conviction for Conspiracy to Possess with the Intent to Distribute Over 1,000 Kilograms of Marijuana carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment, a $4,000,000 fine, or both. Conspiracy to Commit Promotional Money Laundering and Conspiracy to Commit Concealment Money Laundering each carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, a fine up to $500,000 or two times the value of the property, or both. In determining an actual sentence, Judge Neil V. Wake will consult the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide appropriate sentencing ranges. The judge, however, is not bound by those guidelines in determining a sentence.
An indictment is simply the method by which a person is charged with criminal activity and raises no inference of guilt. An individual is presumed innocent until competent evidence is presented to a jury that establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The investigation preceding the indictment was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration Phoenix Field Division, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Glendale Police Department, DEA Atlanta Field Division Enforcement Group One, DEA Clandestine Lab Team, Alpharetta Police Department, Henry County Sheriff's Office, Lawrenceville Police Department, Georgia Bureau Of Investigation (GBI), IRS Atlanta Field Office, DEA Los Angeles Field Division, DEA Riverside, Los Angeles Police Department and the Riverside Police Department. The prosecution is being handled by Steven P. Logan and Jane E. McLaughlin, Assistant U.S. Attorneys, District of Arizona, Phoenix.
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