News

Cocaine Dealer Sentenced to Life in Prison


Distributed Over 500 Pounds of Cocaine in Less Than 2 Years

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 11, 2010

Greenbelt, Maryland - U.S. District Judge Peter J. Messitte sentenced David Barren, a/k/a “James Willie Jones” and “Vincent Hutchins,” age 45, of Upper Marlboro, Maryland, today to life in prison after being convicted on November 18, 2009, of conspiracy to distribute cocaine, conspiracy to structure financial transactions; two counts of structuring financial transactions and 47 of 49 counts of money laundering. Judge Messitte also ordered Barren to forfeit $1.2 million, as the proceeds from his illegal activities, including a Pennsylvania property and four bank accounts.

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Rebecca Sparkman of the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation, Washington Field Office and Special Agent in Charge Ava Cooper-Davis of the Drug Enforcement Administration - Washington Field Division.

“Today's sentencing is a direct result of the excellent partnership the IRS-Criminal Investigation, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Drug Enforcement Administration and other federal agencies have in combating violations of federal law,” stated Rebecca Sparkman, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge, Washington DC Field Office. “This sentence should serve as a deterrent to those who might contemplate similar actions.”

According to evidence presented at Barren’s trial, from May 2004 through 2005, Barren distributed over 500 pounds of cocaine. Witnesses testified that Barren was the leader of a drug organization that obtained cocaine from sources in California and elsewhere. Barren employed couriers to bring the drugs to his home in Maryland, often using cars that he purchased with “traps” or specially installed hiding places, to conceal the drugs. On at least one occasion trial evidence showed that Barren titled a car in the name of one of his couriers, in order to hide assets. The evidence also showed that in more than 25 transactions Barren paid his brother over $100,000 in cash from drug proceeds, so that his brother could pay the mortgage and maintenance expenses on Barren’s home. Barren purchased the residence and put the property in his brother’s name in order to hide the source of the funds. In addition, evidence showed that Barren wired drug proceeds throughout the country using a phony name, and had co-conspirators make cash deposits of less than $10,000 in order to avoid bank reporting requirements and to hide the source of the cash.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended Assistant United States Attorney Mushtaq Gunja, who prosecuted the case.

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