FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, September 23, 2011
For Information Contact:
Four Area Men Plead Guilty
To Federal Narcotics Conspiracy Charges
- Significant Amounts of Cocaine Recovered During Investigation
WASHINGTON - Four area men have pled guilty to federal narcotics conspiracy charges for their roles in a ring that distributed cocaine in the Washington, D.C. area, following an extensive investigation by the FBI/Metropolitan Police Department Safe Streets Task Force.
The guilty pleas, which took place September 22, 2011 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, were announced today by U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr., Ronald T. Hosko, Special Agent in Charge of the Criminal Division of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, and Cathy L. Lanier, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).
The defendants include Tyrone Gloster, 46, of Bowie, Md.; Curtis Houston, 36, of Bryans Road, Md., Saquon Bethea, 31, of Temple Hills, Md., and William Rahtef Anwur Smith, 31, of Washington, D.C.
Gloster and Houston pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine and 280 grams or more of cocaine base. Bethea and Smith pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine and 28 grams or more of cocaine base. If the plea agreements are accepted by the Court, Gloster faces a prison term of 16 years, Houston faces a prison term of 14 years, and Bethea and Smith each face prison terms of seven years. All four defendants are to be sentenced December 20, 2011 by the Honorable Chief Judge Royce C. Lamberth.
According to the evidence presented at the plea hearing, as part of this narcotics conspiracy, Gloster supplied Houston with powder cocaine and crack cocaine. In turn, Houston supplied powder cocaine and crack cocaine to Bethea, Smith and others. Bethea and Smith then supplied these narcotics to others. The activities took place from at least October of 2008 until August 2010 in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.
The long-term investigation led to the indictment and conviction of 18 other individuals for illicit narcotics activities. In total, during the course of this investigation, agents seized approximately 30 guns, over $70,000 in cash, and large quantities of powder cocaine and crack cocaine.
“Over the last two decades, we have made significant progress in the fight against crack cocaine in our community,” said U.S. Attorney Machen. “Unfortunately, however, cocaine distribution and addiction still threaten to take away the hopes and dreams of our young people while at the same time fueling acts of retaliatory violence. These convictions demonstrate our steadfast commitment to holding drug dealers accountable for dealing drugs on our city streets.”
“For law enforcement efforts to be effective, the entire supply chain must be disrupted,” said Special Agent in Charge Hosko. “By removing these distribution networks from our neighborhoods, our communities will be safer.”
“These guilty pleas are very significant, as the associates in this case were responsible for trafficking a large amount of crack and powder cocaine with a street value of more than $500,000 in various parts of Northeast D.C. and Prince George’s County, Maryland,” said Police Chief Lanier. “The fact that approximately 30 firearms were seized during the course of the overall investigation demonstrates the potential for violence in drug trafficking activities.”
In announcing the guilty pleas, U.S. Attorney Machen, Special Agent in Charge Hosko and Chief Lanier commended the actions of the Special Agents from the FBI’s Washington Field Office as well as the MPD members of the Safe Streets Task Force, who investigated the case. They also commended the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Paralegals Regan Gibson, Candace Battle and Monica Johnson, Legal Assistant Priscilla Hutson, Criminal Intelligence Analyst Frank Morgan, and Information Technology Specialist Joshua Ellen. Finally, they praised the efforts of Assistant U.S. Attorney Nihar Mohanty, who investigated the case, and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Opher Shweiki and Courtney Spivey, who investigated and prosecuted the case.
The Safe Streets initiative is funded in part by the Baltimore Washington High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area as well as the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force. The Safe Streets Initiative involves more than 150 Safe Streets Task Forces around the country that combat street gangs by combining federal, state and local police resources. The task forces, which began in 1992 in Los Angeles and the District of Columbia, address gang activity including drug-related crimes.