FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT
AUSA VICKIE E. LEDUC at 410-209-4885
September 1, 2006
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OCDETF: DC SCHOOL TEACHER AND FIVE OTHERS CONVICTED
IN MULTI-STATE DRUG TRAFFICKING SCHEME
27 Defendants Have Been Convicted in Connection With This Scheme
Greenbelt, Maryland - A federal jury convicted a District of Columbia school teacher and five other members of a large drug trafficking enterprise operating in Maryland, the District of Columbia, California, New York, Texas and Wyoming on cocaine, crack and heroin distribution, and firearms charges, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein. The jury returned their verdict late yesterday afternoon, convicting:
Paulette Martin, age 59, of Takoma Park, Maryland;
Learley Reed Goodwin, age 63, of Hyattsville, Maryland;
Reece Coleman Whiting, age 64, of Baltimore, Maryland;
Derrek Lewis Bynum, age 34, of Hyattsville, Maryland;
Lavon Dobie, age 46, of Washington, D.C.; and
LaNora Ali, age 53, of Hyattsville, Maryland and presently a public school teacher in the District of Columbia.
The jury was unable to reach a verdict as to one remaining defendant, Ruby Bertine Harden, age 34, of Dundalk, Maryland.
U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein said, "The coordinated efforts of many law enforcement agencies in this investigation and prosecution resulted in shutting down a gang that brought cocaine, crack and illegal guns into our community."
According to evidence presented during the 10 week trial, the defendants conspired from at least January 1997 to June 2004 to distribute cocaine, heroin and cocaine base. Evidence at trial established that Goodwin and Martin conspired to import kilogram quantities of cocaine from New York, California, Wyoming, Florida, Texas and Mexico. During the course of the investigation over 20 kilograms of cocaine and over 3 kilograms of heroin were seized. Several of the couriers delivering the drugs have pled guilty and are serving time on related charges.
Evidence revealed that Martin and Dobie were also involved in a conspiracy involving the importation of heroin from New York to the Baltimore/D.C. metro area. Testimony showed that Whiting, a convicted international heroin and cocaine smuggler who also holds a law degree, provided his knowledge about the drug world and served as legal advisor to Martin and others in the conspiracy.
Ali, a D.C. public school teacher, Dobie and Bynum purchased cocaine and cocaine base from Martin and sold the drugs to others. Bynum and Dobie were also convicted of possessing a firearm in furtherance of the drug conspiracy. At Martin’s request, Ali stored approximately $130,000 in cash at her residence. After Martin’s neighbors complained to the Takoma Park Police about the volume of traffic at Martin’s house, Ali helped Martin move her drug business to Paula’s School of Performing Arts located at 5559 South Dakota Ave. Washington D.C.
Each of the defendants face a maximum sentence of life in prison on the drug conspiracy charge. All of the defendants were also convicted on a number of charges relating to the use of communication devices to facilitate drug trafficking, each carrying a maximum prison term of 4 years. Bynum and Dobie face a mandatory minimum sentence of five years and maximum sentence of life for possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime and Bynum also faces 10 years for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. All defendants are being held pending sentencing, which U.S. District Judge Roger W. Titus set for December 19, 2006.
Co-defendants Milburn Pollard Walker, Jr., age 59, of Washington, D.C., and George Linsey Harris, age 54, of Mitchellville, Maryland pled guilty prior to trial to the use of communication devices to facilitate drug trafficking and face a maximum sentence of 4years. Judge Titus has scheduled sentencing for Walker on December 20, 2006 and for Harris on December 4, 2006. Gwendolyn Levi, age 60 of Elkridge, Maryland and Moises Uriarte, age 32 of New York, who supplied kilograms of heroin to Martin and Dobie have pled guilty and are awaiting sentencing. In all, 27 defendants have been convicted in connection with this case.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the investigative work performed by the agencies in this Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force case, including the Prince George’s and Montgomery County Police Departments; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement; Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation; the Washington-Baltimore High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area task force; Bureau of Customs and Border Protection; Baltimore City, Baltimore County and Howard County Police Departments; and the Maryland State Police. Mr. Rosenstein also thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Deborah A. Johnston and Bonnie S. Greenberg, who are prosecuting the case.
This page last modifiedSeptember 1, 2006