FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT
AUSA VICKIE E. LEDUC at 410-209-4885
December 20, 2006
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
THREE IN MULTI-STATE DRUG TRAFFICKING SCHEME SENTENCED
TO LIFE IN PRISON - FORMER DC SCHOOL TEACHER AND TWO OTHERS SENTENCED TO 10 - 25 YEARS
One of the Largest Drug Cases Ever Prosecuted in Federal Court in Greenbelt
Greenbelt, Maryland - Six members of a large drug trafficking enterprise operating in Maryland, the District of Columbia, California, New York, Texas and Wyoming were sentenced yesterday and today following their convictions by a federal jury on August 31, 2006 on cocaine, crack and heroin distribution, using communication devices to facilitate drug trafficking, and firearms charges, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein:
Paulette Martin, age 60, of Takoma Park, Maryland, life in prison;
LaNora Ali, age 53, of Hyattsville, Maryland, a public D.C. school teacher at the time of the drug activities, 10 years in prison. Learley Reed Goodwin, age 64, of Hyattsville, Maryland, life in prison;
Reece Coleman Whiting, age 66, of Baltimore, Maryland, life in prison;
Derrek Lewis Bynum, age 34, of Hyattsville, Maryland, 25 years in prison;
Lavon Dobie, age 46, of Washington, D.C., 17 years, 2 months in prison.
U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein said, "This is one of the largest drug cases ever prosecuted in federal court in Greenbelt. 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. 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. In all, 27 defendants have been convicted in connection with this case.
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.
Dobie, Bynum and Ali, a D.C. public school teacher since 1977, working at Shadd Elementary School as a computer lab teacher at the time of her arrest, 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 Avenue in Washington D.C.
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 4 years. Judge Titus has scheduled sentencing for Walker on December 20 and for Harris on December 22, 2006.
Co-defendant Gwendolyn Levi, age 61, of Elkridge, Maryland, who supplied kilograms of heroin to Martin, pled guilty on April 19, 2005 to the drug conspiracy. She was sentenced on October 6, 2006 to 35 years in prison, followed by 5 years of supervised release. Moises Uriarte, age 32 of New York, who supplied kilograms of heroin to Martin and Dobie also pled guilty and was sentenced to121 months in prison.
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 modifiedDecember 2006