Supplier of More than 80 Kilograms of Cocaine and 100 Gallons of Pcp Sentenced to More than 15 Years in Prison

Drugs Distributed in Maryland; Forfeits 8 Pieces of Jewelry Worth $144,850

October 30, 2009

Greenbelt, Maryland - U.S. District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow sentenced Ricky Meals, age 47, of Oakland, California, today to 188 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release for conspiring to distribute up to 100 gallons of phencyclidine (PCP) to conspirators in Maryland, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein.

According to his guilty plea, from at least the fall of 2003 through February 2, 2006, Ricky Meals and co-defendant Amadi Zaid, supplied cocaine and PCP from California to Kevin Minor and others in Maryland. The transactions were usually arranged during brief phone conversations between Meals and Minor. Meals and Zaid would then arrange for the drugs to be transported from California to Maryland through numerous couriers or commercial shippers. Once in Minor’s possession, the drugs were stored at locations in Maryland, including the home of Darren Chase, and then distributed. The deliveries occurred every few months and included from two to 38 kilograms of cocaine and from five to 20 gallons (one to four kilograms) of PCP.

In February 2005, Meals and Zaid arranged for another conspirator to transport 15 gallons of PCP from California to Maryland for delivery to Minor. On February 24, 2005, the conspirator took three boxes to DHL Express in Oakland, California. The boxes were addressed to the conspirator for delivery at a hotel in Washington, D.C. DHL employees became suspicious and called law enforcement after the conspirator left the facility. Agents seized the boxes, which were found to contain approximately 15 gallons of PCP. Meals, Zaid and the conspirator subsequently traveled to Washington, D.C. to await delivery of the three boxes, but returned to California after learning that the boxes had not been shipped.

On February 2, 2006, Chase’s Brandywine, Maryland residence was searched and over two kilograms of cocaine, approximately 1 gallon of phencyclidine, scales, a money counter, small glass vials and numerous baggies commonly used to package drugs were seized. The same day, Minor’s Gaithersburg, Maryland residence was searched and 123.3 grams of cocaine HCl, a money counter and $89,662 in cash were seized. Minor and Chase were anticipating another drug delivery and planned to pay the courier $80,000 as a partial payment for the drugs.

On February 7, 2006, two of Meals’s and Zaid’s couriers were stopped in Oklahoma while driving from California to Maryland to make a drug delivery to Minor, and 10 gallons of PCP were seized.

Meals is responsible for the distribution of between 80 and 100 kilograms of cocaine, and 50 to 100 gallons of PCP.

In addition to the sentence imposed today, according to his plea agreement Meals is required to forfeit all money, property, or assets of any kind, derived from or purchased with the proceeds of his drug dealing, including the following jewelry:

a single 1.65 carat diamond earring appraised at $9,250;
a white gold cross with 7.5 carat diamonds, appraised at $12,500;
a Gucci watch with 2 carat diamonds appraised at $11,500;
a Cartier watch appraised at $5,000;
a Rolex watch with white gold and diamonds appraised at $28,700;
a Rolex watch with yellow gold and diamonds appraised at $26,900;
a 3.3 carat diamond stud earring appraised at $35,000; and
a Jacob and Co. five time zone watch with 6 carat diamonds appraised at $16,000.

Amadi Zaid, age 30, of Oakland, California; Kevin Minor, age 50; and Darren Chase, age 41, pleaded guilty to their participation in the scheme. Minor and Chase were sentenced to 138 and 168 months in prison, respectively. Zaid is scheduled to be sentenced on November 10, 2009.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein thanked the Washington, D.C. and San Francisco Division Offices of the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Montgomery County Department of Police for their investigative work. Mr. Rosenstein commended Assistant United States Attorney Barbara S. Skalla, who prosecuted the case.



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