TWO SENTENCED IN CONNECTION WITH NOVEMBER 24, 2009 THREE-COUNTY CAR CHASE
Jeffrey H. Sloman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Anthony V. Mangione, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”), James K. Loftus, Director, Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPD), John T. Czernis, Director, Florida Highway Patrol (“FHP”), and Roberto Fulgueira, Chief, Sweetwater Police Department, announced yesterday’s sentencing of two defendants involved in a drug trafficking conspiracy on November 24, 2009 that resulted in the assault on federal officers.
On April 8, 2010, United States District Court Judge K. Michael Moore sentenced the defendants, Orenthal Marcel Butler, 24, and Solvin Bowie-Forbes, 44, both of Clearwater, Florida, to terms of imprisonment of 420 (35 years) and 108 months (9 years), respectively. Butler pled guilty on January 7, 2010 to one count of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute four kilograms of cocaine, one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm, one count of possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, and one count of assaulting a federal officer with a deadly weapon. Bowie-Forbes pled guilty on January 12, 2010 to one count of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute four kilograms of cocaine.
According to the factual proffer submitted at the defendants’ change of plea hearings, on November 24, 2009, the defendants agreed to purchase four kilograms of cocaine at $21,000 per kilogram from undercover agents they believed to be drug dealers. Once Butler showed the undercover the money with which he intended to buy the cocaine, surveilling agents arrested Bowie-Forbes without incident.
According to the factual proffer, however, as ICE agents and officers of the MDPD attempted to arrest Butler, Butler fled in his white Mazda, leading them on a high-speed, three-county car chase. The chase ended when Butler, traveling at approximately 130 mph, crashed into a black F-150 truck, collided against the metal barrier along the east side of the highway, crashed against the concrete wall along the west side of the highway, and finally came to a stop just north of the 45th Street overpass in Palm Beach County.
Butler, who was unharmed, was immediately taken into custody by troopers of the FHP. In a search incident to his arrest, officers found, in Butler’s pocket, a wad containing $4,210 in cash. Butler consented to a search of his vehicle where officers recovered, in the rear passenger seat, one blue gym bag containing approximately $83,830 in cash.
The factual proffer further states that, after Butler’s arrest, a civilian resident of Livingston, Texas, who had seen the car chase on CNN Headline News, called the MDPD and reported that, during the chase, Butler had tossed what appeared to be a gun from the passenger’s side window of the speeding car. Based on the information provided by the concerned citizen, the police recovered a loaded, .25 caliber semi-automatic pistol from the side of the road.
The indictment was the culmination of a two-week investigation by ICE’s Office of Investigations in Miami and the MDPD, with assistance from the Sweetwater Police Department and the FHP. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Roy Altman.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.