Twelve People Indicted in Drug Conspiracy Cases, Accused of Distributing Heroin, Methamphetamine, and Crack Cocaine in the Washington Area
Arrests This Week Follow a Year-Long Investigation; Drugs and Guns Seized
WASHINGTON –Twelve people have been indicted on federal charges stemming from an ongoing investigation into a drug trafficking organization that distributed large amounts of heroin, methamphetamine, and cocaine in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. To date, more than 300 grams of crack cocaine and 200 grams of methamphetamine have been seized as a result of the investigation, along with seven firearms.
The charges are contained in two indictments unsealed today in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The charges were announced by U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu, Andrew W. Vale, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, and Peter Newsham, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).
All 12 defendants are charged with taking part in a conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute drugs. The indictment also includes a forfeiture count against all of those now charged in the investigation, which seeks all proceeds from the crimes. Nine defendants were arrested yesterday, and three were already in custody.
The defendants began making their first court appearances today. They include 11 men and one woman from the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia.
“This investigation demonstrates our unwavering determination to disrupt and dismantle drug trafficking organizations that operate in the District of Columbia,” said U.S. Attorney Liu. “Working with our law enforcement partners, we were able to remove dangerous drugs and guns from the streets and make our neighborhoods safer.”
“The FBI works tirelessly with its partners to protect our communities and to hold accountable those who threaten our safety,” said Assistant Director in Charge Vale. “This week's arrests demonstrate our continuous efforts to dismantle drug trafficking organizations.”
“The District of Columbia is a safer place today as a result of the hard work and collaboration between the agencies involved,” said Chief Newsham. "We will continue to seize illegal drugs found in our city and ensure the individuals involved in narcotics distribution are held accountable.”
The charges arose from a long-term investigation into people suspected of acting as wholesale distributors of heroin and cocaine in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. The investigation determined that from at least January 2016 through December 2017, the defendants maintained a drug trafficking organization that supplied distribution amounts of crack cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin to drug dealers in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia. Much of the activity took place in the Birney Place area of Southeast Washington. In particular, the investigation showed that several of the defendants regularly sold crack cocaine and heroin in the 2600 block of Birney Place SE.
The prosecution grew out of the efforts of the FBI/MPD Safe Streets Task Force, a multi-agency team that conducts comprehensive, multi-level attacks on major drug trafficking and money laundering organizations. The prosecution was sponsored and supported by the federal Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF).
The U.S. Attorney’s Office is working with MPD, the FBI, and other law enforcement partners on a Justice Department initiative called Project Safe Neighborhoods that is expected to generate additional cases targeting drug organizations. Under Project Safe Neighborhoods, the U.S. Attorney’s Office is committed to a coordinated law enforcement approach and identifying and addressing the most violent locations in the District of Columbia and the offenders.
An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation of criminal law and is not evidence of guilt. Every defendant is presumed innocent until, and unless, proven guilty.
In announcing the charges, U.S. Attorney Liu, Assistant Director in Charge Vale, and Chief Newsham commended the work of those who investigated the case from the Safe Streets Task Force, including the FBI, MPD, U.S. Park Police, Prince George's County, Md. Police, and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF). They also expressed appreciation for the assistance provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland. Finally they cited the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, including Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nihar Mohanty and Kevin Rosenberg, as well as Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Swanton, who assisted with the forfeiture aspects of the investigation.