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Final Member of Valley Drug Rip Crew Sentenced in Case That Resulted in a Death

SEP 26 (PHOENIX) – On Sept. 25, 2014, the final defendant was sentenced in connection with Operation Push the Pawn – an investigation of a Phoenix area drug rip crew conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Internal Revenue Service and the Phoenix Police Department. Fourteen defendants were sentenced in the case and seven defendants received sentences that ranged from 6 to 15 years in prison for their roles in armed robberies, marijuana trafficking and a murder that took place on Jan. 27, 2011.

Beginning in Sept. 2009 to Jan. 27, 2011, the defendants were part of a drug trafficking organization and drug robbery crew that bought and stole marijuana from drug dealers.  The stolen marijuana would be divided amongst the robbery crew members as payment, and they would then sell the stolen marijuana either locally or out of state.  On Jan. 27, 2011, some of the defendants planned to conduct an armed robbery to steal 200 pounds of marijuana from drug dealers and when they attempted to take the marijuana by force, a passenger of the vehicle containing the marijuana shot multiple rounds at the robbery crew members, who returned fire.  During the exchange, Brandon Edwards was fatally wounded. Both vehicles left at a high rate of speed, leaving Brandon Edwards in the middle of the street.  Police responded to the location and transported Edwards to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead from gunshot wounds.

The following sentences were imposed by U.S. District Court Judge David Campbell:

On April 28, 2014, William Cobb, 29, of Phoenix, Ariz., was sentenced to 8.5 years in prison.  Cobb pleaded guilty on Feb. 3, 2014, to possession with intent to distribute marijuana, and aid and abet possession and use of a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking offense or a crime of violence. 

On May 12, 2014, Robert Barber, 32, of Phoenix, Ariz., was sentenced to six years in prison.  Barber pleaded guilty on Feb. 4, 2014, to possession and use of a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking offense or a crime of violence. 

On May 12, 2014, Muhammed Muhammed, 30, of Phoenix, Ariz., was sentenced to 15 years in prison.  Muhammed pleaded guilty on Feb. 7, 2014, to possession and use of a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking offense or a crime of violence resulting in death. 

On May 22, 2014, Daris Bush, 30, of Chandler, Ariz., was sentenced to 13 years in prison.  Bush pleaded guilty on Feb. 7, 2014, to aid and abet possession and use of a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking offense or a crime of violence resulting in death. 

On June 3, 2014, Dominic Chatman, 27, of Mesa, Ariz., was sentenced to 8.5 years in prison.  Chatman pleaded guilty on Feb. 7, 2014, to possession with intent to distribute marijuana, and aid and abet possession and use of a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking offense or a in a crime of violence.

On Aug. 27, 2014, Charles Young, 29, of Tempe, Ariz., was sentenced to seven years in prison.  Young pleaded guilty on Feb. 3, 2014, to possession and use of a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking offense or a crime of violence. 

On Sept. 4, 2014, Reginald Edwards, 28, of Phoenix, Ariz., was sentenced to seven years in prison.  Edwards pleaded guilty on June 16, 2014, to aid and abet Hobbs Act robbery, and possession with intent to distribute marijuana.

On Sept. 25, 2014, Isaac Reed, 32, of Phoenix, Ariz., was sentenced to two years in prison.  Reed pleaded guilty on Feb. 6, 2014, to conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute marijuana.

The investigation in this case was conducted by agencies participating in the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force. The lead agencies were the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, and the Phoenix Police Department. The prosecution was handled by Keith Vercauteren and Glenn McCormick, Assistant U.S. Attorneys, District of Arizona, Phoenix.


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