November 24, 2003
Contact: SA Susan Wolf
Phone Number: (202) 305-8500
16 Defendants Indicted On Drug Trafficking, Money Laundering And Gun Charges
Washington, DC- The United States Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration, Special Agent-in-Charge Laura M. Nagel announced that the federal grand jury for the District of Maryland returned a superseding indictment charging 16 defendants with drug trafficking, money laundering and possession of firearms. The criminal charges are the result of a 2 year long joint investigation by the United States Drug Enforcement, the Prince George's County Police Department, and the United States Attorney's Office, and arise from a 4 year conspiracy by the defendants to distribute powder cocaine, crack cocaine, and phencyclidine (PCP), from at least September 1999 to July 2003.
The following 16 defendants are named in the 15-count superseding indictment:
Deone Antonio Melvin, age 24, of Seabrook, Maryland
Franciso Despiau, age 32, of New York, New York
Ramone Stephon Jones, age 25, of Upper Marlboro, Maryland
Stephon Mason, age 29, of Fort Washington, Maryland
Dadrian Tremayne Williams, age 25, of Largo, Maryland
Adrian Alexander, age 26, of Suitland, Maryland
Audrey Melvin, age 41, of Kettering, Maryland
Antonio Mines, age 33, of Upper Marlboro, Maryland
Marvin Hall, age 30, of Bowie, Maryland
Shadita Sweeney, age 27, of Washington, DC
Ellis Matthews, age 36, of Glen Burnie, Maryland
Lyle Kent Wade, age 41, of Washington, DC
Harold McDade, age 34, of Upper Marlboro, Maryland
George Norris, age 26, of Riverdale, Maryland
Jermaine Wilson, age 32, of Upper Marlboro
Benrde Wilder, age 32, of Capitol Heights, Maryland
The superseding indictment alleges that Deone Melvin coordinated the movement of bulk quantities of cocaine from New York to the Maryland-Washington, DC area in vehicles outfitted with hidden compartments. The drug organization' New York based supplier, Franciso Despiau, who is currently a fugitive, is also charged in the superceding indictment. One of Deone Melvin's associates, Stephon Mason, allegedly ran his own distribution organization through which he sold powder cocaine, crack cocaine, and PCP.
Deone Melvin's mother Audrey Melvin, is charged with engaging in a two-year long money laundering scheme from March 2001 to June 2003 in which she is alleged to have purchased vehicles for several of the defendants, including Deone Melvin, Rarnone Jones and Stephon Mason, and then titled the vehicles in her name in order to conceal the true ownership of those vehicles. Melvin's mother is also charged with drug trafficking conspiracy.
Deone Melvin, Romone Jones, Stephon Mason, Antonio Mines, and Dadrian Williams are also charged with firearms violations, including possession of several guns in furtherance of their drug trafficking activities. Deone Melvin, Romone Jones and Stephon are also alleged to have possessed firearms despite their previous convictions for felony offenses.
The superceding indictment also seeks forfeiture of up to $5 million from each named defendant; a number of cars; and other items of value seized from the defendants.
Eleven of the 16 defendants have been arrested and 5 remain fugitives. Six of the 11 arrested defendants- Deone Melvin, Ramone Jones, Stephon Mason, Dadrian Williams, Lyle Kent Wade, and Bennie Wilder have been detained by the court pending their trials. Anatonio Mines, Shadita Sweeney, Ellis Matthews, and George Norris are currently subject to electronic monitoring by the court. Audrey Melvin has been released by the court pending her trial, and is currently subject to a variety of pretrial release conditions. The trial in this matter is scheduled for June 8, 2004.
The drug charges carry a maximum punishment of life imprisonment, a $4 million fine, and 5 years supervised release. The money laundering charges carry a maximum punishment of 20 years imprisonment; a $500,000 fine and 3 years supervised release. The gun charges carry a mandatory minimum term of 5 years, to follow any term of imprisonment imposed as to any other charges. An indictment is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.
The criminal charges in this indictment are the result of a joint investigation by the DEA, the Prince George's County Police Department, and the United States Attorney's Office.
Special Agent-in-Charge Laura M. Nagel stated that "this organization which distributed drugs throughout our community has suffered a significant blow. This investigation exemplifies what law enforcement agencies can accomplish".