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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Columbia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, October 25, 2019

District Man Sentenced to Five Years for Trafficking Crack Cocaine and Maintaining a Northeast, D.C. Stash Residence and Arsenal

           WASHINGTON – Michael Tobias, 37 of Southeast D.C., was sentenced to five years in prison today for trafficking crack cocaine and maintaining a stash residence and arsenal, announced U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu, Ashan M. Benedict, Special Agent in Charge of the Washington Field Division of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and Peter Newsham, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).

           Tobias pled guilty in August 2019 before the Honorable Beryl A. Howell in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to one count of possession with intent to distribute 28 grams or more of cocaine base. Chief Judge Howell sentenced Tobias to five years of incarceration to be followed by four years of supervised release.

           According to the government’s evidence, in June 2018, ATF agents and MPD officers began investigating the trafficking of narcotics from the 5200 block of Sheriff Road, Northeast, by narcotics traffickers that included Tobias. That block intersects the 900 block of 52nd Street, Northeast. During the investigation, law enforcement purchased 75 grams of crack cocaine from Tobias.

           During some of the drug purchases, Tobias would utilize a laundry room in the basement of 927 52nd Street, Northeast, to conduct his drug transactions. Video from the controlled purchases showed Tobias laying crack cocaine on the washer/dryer while counting the money provided by law enforcement for the drug purchases. As part of his plea, Tobias also acknowledged to using an apartment inside of 927 52nd Street, Northeast, to store, prepare, and package narcotics.

           On May 21, 2019, during a search of the apartment pursuant to a warrant, ATF and MPD officers recovered eight digital scales, approximately $4,000 in U.S. currency, numerous forms of packaging material consistent with drug trafficking, such as, sandwich bags and unused ziplocs, three BB guns (two in pistol format, one in rifle format), and extensive quantities of marijuana and marijuana edibles for distribution. Tobias used the apartment to traffic narcotics with the assistance of another occupant, who was present at the residence during the search warrant. The occupant also had keys that led to an electrical closet in the basement laundry room, where a firearm and a small arsenal was recovered. In a ceiling crawl space, ATF and MPD officers recovered: (i) a Smith & Wesson .40 caliber pistol; (ii) eleven magazines, with a number of extended magazines, some of which were loaded; (iii) 862 rounds of ammunition in eight different calibers; (iv) a digital scale; (v) empty ziplocs for the packaging of narcotics; and (vi) firearm and ammunition boxes. The occupant, who assisted Tobias in the trafficking of narcotics from the stash residence, was murdered on July 9, 2019 while sitting in a vehicle two blocks away from the stash residence.

           This case is part of an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF specializes in the investigation and prosecution of drug trafficking and money laundering organizations and related criminal enterprises.

           In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Liu, Special Agent in Charge Benedict, and Chief Newsham commended the work of those who investigated the case, and acknowledged the assistance of the Uniform Division of the United States Secret Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s laboratory, who assisted with the recovery of evidence and the fingerprint and DNA analysis of that evidence. They also cited the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, including Paralegal Specialist Candace Battle, Legal Assistant Peter Gaboton, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Macchiaroli of the Violent Crime and Narcotics Section, who conducted the underlying investigation, indicted the case, and prosecuted Tobias.

Press Release Number: 
19-195
Updated October 25, 2019