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News Release [print-friendly page]
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: DEA Public Affairs
Number: 202-307-7977
October 28, 2005

DEA Deals Motor City Mafia a Knock-out Blow
Detroit Drug Legends Facing Twenty Years to Life

Lincoln Navigator stretch limo that had nine hidden compartments containing the $580,250.
Lincoln Navigator stretch limo that had nine hidden compartments containing $580,250.

OCT 28 -- (Washington, D.C.)-The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) dealt a knock-out blow to the self-named Black Mafia Family (BMF) arresting 30 individuals and seizing $3 million in currency and assets, 2 1/2 kilograms of cocaine and numerous weapons. The BMF was a large-scale cocaine trafficking and money laundering organization operating a criminal enterprise in Detroit, MI; Atlanta, and Columbus, GA; Los Angeles, CA; Miami, Ft. Lauderdale and Orlando, FL; St. Louis, MO; Greenville, SC; and Louisville, KY. Prior to today’s arrests, DEA and state and local authorities had arrested 17 BMF members and associates and seized 632 kilograms of cocaine, $5.3 million in U.S. currency, and $5.7 million in assets.

Initially based in Southwest Detroit, brothers Terry and Demetrius Flenory, the founders and ringleaders of the group, began their drug trafficking careers selling $50 bags of crack during their high school years in the mid-1980s. Expanding to other cities in the 1990s, the brothers extended their small scale trafficking organization into a multi-million dollar criminal enterprise operating in numerous states.

“The BMF was a sophisticated drug smuggling and money laundering organization, led by brothers that operated in 11 U.S. states and had direct links to Mexico-based drug trafficking organizations,” said DEA Administrator Karen P. Tandy.

Concealed compartment where money was hidden inside a Lincoln Navigator stretch limo containing $580,250.
Concealed compartment where money was hidden inside a Lincoln Navigator stretch limo containing $580,250.

DEA, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS - CI) and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Michigan joined forces in Operation Motor City Mafia, a 2-year Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation coordinated by DEA’s Special Operations Division (SOD) that began on October 28, 2003.

Information gathered during the investigation revealed that the BMF distributed thousands of kilograms of cocaine and laundered millions of dollars in drug proceeds. BMF members and associates were responsible for trafficking approximately 2,500 kilos of cocaine monthly through their Atlanta hub.

“ For too many years, these drug dealers have poisoned our streets and cast shadows of fear across our communities. Today's arrests dismantle this drug mob and should significantly impact drug-related crime in the communities where the BMF operated," Tandy added .

The organization used sophisticated “traps” (hidden compartments) in stretch limousines to conceal and transport drugs and money. In an attempt to foil drug-sniffing dogs, they equipped some of their vehicles with devices to mechanically expel drug-tainted air.

The Motor City Mafia investigation is part of DEA’s “Street Light Initiative (SLI).” This new DEA umbrella initiative is designed to shine light on the fact that street gangs, either large or small, destroy America’s communities through the use of fear and intimidation in furtherance of their drug trafficking activities.

The SLI was conceived last June when DEA led “Operation Silent Night,” which resulted in the arrest of twenty three members of the Vineland Boys street gang in Burbank, California-shutting down a drug trafficking organization charged with numerous violent crimes and the murder of a police officer in relation to a drug trafficking crime.

DEA, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS - CI) and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Michigan joined forces in Operation Motor City Mafia, a 2-year Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation coordinated by DEA’s Special Operations Division (SOD) that began on October 28, 2003.

“The proceeds from the sale of illegal narcotics are funneled through the underground, untaxed economy. This impacts every law abiding, taxpaying citizen,” stated Nancy J. Jardini, IRS Chief of Criminal Investigation. “In this investigation, the IRS Criminal Investigators analyzed the monetary transactions to track the illegal proceeds of this drug trafficking organization, and the money trail lead to the individuals indicted today. When law enforcement agencies combine resources and expertise, we create a formidable force-the result of which you see today with the announcement of these indictments.”

In addition to DEA, IRS, and the United States Attorney’s offices for the Eastern District of Michigan, the following U.S. Attorney’s Offices were instrumental in bringing these charges: Middle District of Georgia; Central District of California; Middle, Southern, and Northern Districts of Florida; Southern District of New York; Eastern District of North Carolina; Eastern District of Missouri ; District of South Carolina; and Western District of Kentucky. The following agencies contributed invaluable assistance to the successful outcome of this investigation: United States Marshals Service; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives; Michigan State Police; Fulton County, GA District Attorney’s Office; Atlanta Police Department; Hollywood, FL Police Department; Muscogee County, GA, Sheriffs Office.

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