Department of Justice
Members of Washington, D.C. Drug Organization indicted and arrested on federal racketeering and violent crimes charges
United States Attorney Roscoe C. Howard, Jr., Chief Charles Ramsey of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), R.C, Gamble, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Washington Division Office of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Jeffrey R. Roehm, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Washington Office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), and Acting Chief Benjamin Holmes of the United States Park Police (USPP), today announced a joint law enforcement operation targeting a violent, drug trafficking organization in Northwest Washington, D.C. The operation was originally launched in February of 2000 by the Metropolitan Police Departments 4th District Focus Mission Team. As part of the operation, law enforcement officers arrested 7 of 16 individuals today on federal racketeering, narcotics, and firearms charges; and on murder, assault, robbery, kidnapping, and firearms charges. Search warrants also were executed at numerous locations in the District of Columbia and Maryland.
Todays arrests and indictments end this chapter of one of the District of Columbias violent drug organizations, said United States Attorney Roscoe C. Howard, Jr. The action taken today targeted an organization which is alleged to have peddled drugs and violence in the Fourth Districts l3th and 14th Streets, N.W. corridor for many years. We intend to bring this organizations reign of crime to an end.
MPD Chief Charles Ramsey stated, This successful operation is part of our continuing goal to improve the quality of life of the citizens of the District of Columbia. I wish to commend those involved for a job well done.
ATF Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey Roehm said, We are going to continue our aggressive pursuit of individuals responsible for using firearms to commit violent crime in the District. We are working closely with the U.S. Attorney to ensure that these individuals are held accountable.
DEA Special Agent in Charge Gamble noted, This is a good example of a cooperative effort between local and federal law enforcement, the results of which will have a significant impact on the quality of life in the community.
Todays operation grew out of a long-term joint investigation initially begun by the Metropolitan Police Department, and joined by the DEA, ATF, United States Park Police, and the United States Attorneys Office. Starting in early 2000, these law enforcement agencies, working together, targeted drug trafficking and violence in Northwest Washington, D.C. To date, the investigation has resulted in the controlled purchase or seizure of 32 firearms, approximately two and one half kilograms of crack cocaine, approximately three-quarters kilogram of powder cocaine, approximately 150 grams of marijuana, approximately 65 grams of heroin, and approximately $40,000 in cash.
The joint investigation focused on a violent, drug-selling organization which operated in the 1300 blocks of Randolph, Shepard, and Taylor Streets, N.W.; and the 3800, 3900, and 4000 blocks of 14th Street, N.W. The investigation culminated in the issuance of a 324-count indictment, which was unsealed today, and which charges 16 individuals with federal and local charges including RICO conspiracy, narcotics conspiracy, RlCO and first-degree murder, assault with intent to murder while armed, robbery, first-degree burglary while armed, kidnapping while armed, assault with a dangerous weapon, firearms violations, assaulting a police officer, and other offenses. The indictment also charges perjury and obstruction of justice against one of the defendants for giving material false testimony while under oath at a preliminary hearing in the Superior Court for the District of Columbia. In addition, two other individuals were charged in federal court in separate indictments with federal narcotics conspiracy and related charges.
According to the federal RICO indictment, the 16 defendants operated a narcotics distribution organization centered in the 1300 block of Randolph Street and the 3900 block of 14th Street, N.W. The organization was led by several members of the Mahdi family, which lives at 1339 Randolph Street, N.W., including Abdur Mahdi, also known as Chief or Big Chief; Malik Mahdi, also known as Freek or Freekman; Rahammad M. Mahdi, also known as Rock or Rockman; Musa M. Mahdi; Nadir M. Mahdi, also known as Smokey; and a close associate named Joseph Hooker, also known as Little Joe. The organization is alleged to have supplied cocaine, cocaine base, and marijuana to their defendants who operated in the same area and who sold drugs to customers from Maryland and the District of Columbia who came to the neighborhood to buy drugs. From 1997 to the present, the organization is allegedly responsible for the distribution of more than five kilograms of cocaine, several kilograms of cocaine base, and a vary large quantity of marijuana.
As alleged in the indictment, members of the organization frequently used violence for various purposes: to intimidate citizens in the neighborhood, to intimidate and protect themselves from rival drug dealers, to engage in retaliatory acts, to wage wars over drug territory with rivals, and to silence potential witnesses. The indictment charges that members of the Mahdi organization committed at least seventeen violent crimes or gun offenses, including one murder, six attempted murders, three armed robberies, numerous gun and armed drug offenses, armed kidnapping, and assault on a police officer that occurred in the period from 1997 to the present. Several of these violent offenses were related to a dispute between the Mahdi organization and members of the 4th and Delafield Streets crew, or between the Mahdi organization and other nearby rivals.
Among the most significant acts of violence allegedly committed by the Mahdi organization were the following:
The following defendants are charged in the federal indictment:
The following two additional defendants were charged in separate federal indictments on federal narcotics and other violations:
Todays operation entailed the joint efforts of approximately 250 law enforcement officers from the Metropolitan Police Department, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Park Police. In the early morning hours, the officers spread out throughout the District of Columbia and Maryland and executed the arrest and search warrants. By days end, they had arrested seven of the sixteen defendants named in the federal indictmentand conducted searches at numerous different locations related to the Northwest drug trade.
Under the 324-count federal indictment, all 16 defendants face life imprisonment without parole if convicted of the charges at trial. The defendants are expected to be arraigned before United States District Magistrate Alan Kay in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia this afternoon. This investigation is continuing.
In announcing the indictments and arrests, United States Attorney Howard, Chief Ramsey, Special Agent-in-Charge Gamble, Special Agent-in-Charge Roehm, and Acting Chief Holmes praised the efforts of the law enforcement officers from all of the agencies for their investigation, and specifically commended Metropolitan Police Department Fourth District Commander Kathy Lanier, Lieutenant Derrick McNeely, Sergeant Art Gregory, Sergeant William Fitzgerald, Sergeant Robert Merrick, Detective Avis Packard, Civilian Analyst Gerard Devine, Officer Rob Calligaro, Officer Thomas Fonz, Officer Curtis Prince, Officer Jasper Jackson, Officer Delroy Burton, DEA Special Agent Paul Maloney, ATF Special Agent Ashan Benedict, and United States Park Police Officers Wayne Humberson, Jerry Marshall, and Gregory Monahan for their efforts during the investigation.
United States Attorney Howard also commended the FBI and the Prince Georges County Police Department for their support and assistance during this investigation. Lastly, Mr. Howard cited the efforts of Michael L. Volkov, Chief of the Gang Prosecution and Intelligence Section, Heidi M. Pasichow, Chief of the 2D/4D Community Prosecution Major Crimes Section, of Assistant United States Attorneys Michael Brittin and James G. Flood, and Special Assistant United States Attorney Robert Knief, who are prosecuting the case, and of paralegals Kenneth Mansfield, Maurie Blanks-Evans, Shannon Alexis, and Debra Moriarty, and intern Kelly Virtuoso and Colin Murtha, who are assisting in the prosecution.