indictment alleges plot to rob drug stash house
Dwight Berry, 28, Antonio Ellis, 27, Jermau Johnston, 18, all of Philadelphia, and Aski Washington, 33, of Darby, are charged by indictment , filed yesterday, in a conspiracy to rob a drug dealer’s stash house, announced United States Attorney Zane David Memeger. The defendants are charged with conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery, attempted Hobbs Act robbery, conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine, attempted possession with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine, and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. Berry, Washington, and Ellis are also charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
According to the indictment, on March 13, 2013, after weeks of planning, the defendants met at a predetermined location in Philadelphia. Defendants Berry and Johnston got into the minivan of Person #1 armed with two loaded firearms and zip ties. They then drove to a convenience store to purchase gloves for Johnston to use in the robbery. Defendants Ellis and Washington followed in a separate car carrying gloves, a mask, a can of lighter fluid, a lighter, and an empty back pack. The defendants met with Person #2 and, with everyone present, discussed the plan to rob the stash house which they believed contained 10 kilos of cocaine and was guarded by two armed guards. They drove to a final meeting place before the robbery where law enforcement moved in before the defendants could carry out their plan.
If convicted of all charges, the defendants face a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison up to life imprisonment, a fine of up to $20 million, five years supervised release, and a $500 special assessment. In addition, Berry, Washington, and Ellis each face an additional $250,000 fine and an additional $100 special assessment.
This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Salvatore L. Astolfi.
UNITED STATES ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, EASTERN DISTRICTof PENNSYLVANIA
Suite 1250, 615 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106
PATTY HARTMAN, Media Contact, 215-861-8525