Seven Defendants Arrested and Charged in Conspiracy to Possess and Carry Firearms in Furtherance of Drug Trafficking
Firearms, Drugs, and Cash Seized by Law Enforcement
WASHINGTON – Seven men have been indicted on federal narcotics and firearms charges as part of an ongoing investigation into drug and firearms trafficking in Southeast Washington, D.C.
The charges were announced by Acting U.S. Attorney Michael R. Sherwin, Robert E. Bornstein, acting Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Washington Field Office Criminal Division, 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).
Those indicted by the federal grand jury include: Terrance Phillips, 35, of Washington, D.C., Niko Culbreth, 28, of Washington, D.C.; Xavier Matthews, 20, of Washington, D.C.; Naseem Roach, 20, of Washington, D.C.; Victor Davis, 20, of Washington, D.C.; Trenton Robinson, 24, of District Heights, Maryland; Steven Phillips, Jr., 26, of Washington, D.C.
According to the indictment, the defendants were engaged in the distribution of marijuana, oxycodone, and codeine. Their drug distribution was centered on 10th Place Southeast and Wheeler Road Southeast, both of which connect Alabama Avenue Southeast and Mississippi Avenue Southeast in the Congress Heights neighborhood of the District of Columbia. The defendants also used, carried, and possessed firearms, to include privately made firearms (often referred to as “ghost guns”), to protect their illegal narcotics business, to include protecting their persons, their cash, their territory, and their narcotics and paraphernalia. The defendants purchased, or otherwise acquired, firearms—often utilizing controlled substances as currency—either from each other, or from other sources. The defendants also sold or traded firearms to each other, or to other sources, in order to acquire money to purchase drugs and/or other firearms.
The defendants are expected to make their initial appearances before the U.S. Magistrate Court today, September 3, 2020.
In addition to effecting their arrests, law enforcement agents from FBI, ATF, and MPD executed multiple search warrants throughout this investigation, yielding the seizure of one fully-automatic machine gun, six additional semi-automatic firearms, more than $19,500 in cash, approximately 200 grams of oxycodone, and narcotics paraphernalia.
“The U.S. Attorney’s Office is committed to investigating and prosecuting those who endanger the residents of the District of Columbia in pursuit of the illegal gun and drug trade.” said Acting U.S. Attorney Michael R. Sherwin.
“Violent drug traffickers prey on members of their own neighborhoods,” said Robert E. Bornstein, acting Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Washington Field Office Criminal Division. “This investigation and the resulting arrests demonstrate the strong partnership between the FBI and other Department of Justice law enforcement assets—including ATF, DEA, and the U.S. Marshals Service—and MPD to address violent crime within the District of Columbia. Together, we will continue to work tirelessly with our task force partners to remove dangerous narcotics and illicitly obtained firearms from circulation on the streets of our communities.”
“The arrests today of these seven individuals marks the continuation of a concerted effort by law enforcement to pursue these violent criminals,” said Ashan M. Benedict, Special Agent in Charge of ATF’s Washington Field Division. “Given the staggering number of crimes committed by these individuals, it was imperative that they be brought to justice. We thank our local and federal law enforcement partners for their exceptional assistance in apprehending these criminals.”
An indictment and its contents are merely allegations, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This case was investigated by the FBI Washington Field Office's Cross Border Task Force, in partnership with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the Washington DC Metropolitan Police Department. Additional assistance in this matter was provided by the United States Marshals Service and the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority. The task force is comprised of Special Agents from the Washington and the Baltimore Field Offices, task force officers from the Capital Region, and United States Park Police.
In announcing the indictment, Acting U.S. Attorney Sherwin, acting Special Agent in Charge Bornstein, Special Agent in Charge Benedict, and Chief Newsham commended the work of those involved in the case. They also acknowledged the efforts of those who are handled the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, including Assistant U.S. Attorneys James B. Nelson and Kaitlin A. Vaillancourt of the Federal Major Crimes Section, and Paralegal Specialists Jennifer Saralino, Rommel Pachoca, Kim Hall, Candace Battle, and Teesha Tobias as well as Legal Assistants Emma Atlas, Peter Gaboton, LaToya Wade, and Kate Abrey.