Mitchellville Man Pleads Guilty to Drug Distribution and Money Laundering Conspiracies
Must Forfeit $108 million in Cash, Jewelry and Luxury Automobiles As Part of His Plea
Greenbelt, Maryland – Ishmael Ford-Bey, age 40, of Mitchellville, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to nine counts of a superseding indictment charging him with conspiracy, possession with intent to distribute cocaine, using a phone to facilitate drug distribution, and money laundering. As part of his guilty plea, Ford-Bey consented to the entry of a $108 million forfeiture order, including luxury vehicles, jewelry and cash.
The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Karl C. Colder of the Drug Enforcement Administration - Washington Field Division; Special Agent in Charge Stephen E. Vogt of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Chief Mark A. Magaw of the Prince George’s County Police Department; Acting Chief of Police Robert D. MacLean of the U.S. Park Police; and Postal Inspector in Charge Gary R. Barksdale of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service - Washington Division.
According to court documents, from at least January 2011 through his arrest on August 16, 2013, Ishmael Ford-Bey conspired with others to distribute cocaine in Maryland and elsewhere. On August 15, 2012, the Texas Department of Public Safety stopped a refrigerated box truck that was transporting thirteen boxes, each containing approximately ten kilograms of cocaine. The boxes were to be delivered to Ford-Bey in Temple Hills, Maryland. A controlled delivery of the boxes was arranged. On August 17, 2012, law enforcement established surveillance at the meeting location in Marlow Heights, Maryland. A few minutes after the truck arrived at the meeting location, a vehicle registered to Ford-Bey at a Mitchellville address arrived at the location. Law enforcement observed the truck driver and Ford-Bey unloading the drugs into Ford-Bey’s vehicle. As Ford-Bey left the area, he was pursued by law enforcement officers. Ford-Bey abandoned the vehicle in the median on I-495 and ran away. Agents recovered Ford-Bey’s vehicle, the cocaine, cell phones, and other evidence from the vehicle.
Based upon review of the documents in the vehicle and further investigation, agents identified another residence for Ford-Bey located in the 2400 block of Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, in Washington, DC. On the evening of August 17, 2012, officers were at the Pennsylvania Avenue address and saw Ford-Bey in the lobby. Ford-Bey fled dropping a bag that contained prepaid cellphones and other items. Agents were unable to locate Ford-Bey. A search warrant of the residence resulted in the seizure of watches and jewelry, and a loaded Glock handgun. Agents also seized two other vehicles - a 2003 Audi and a 2011 Maserati, both registered to Ford-Bey.
As a result of wire taps on conspirators’ cell phones law enforcement overheard numerous conversations with Ford-Bey discussing and arranging drug transactions. Agents observed Ford-Bey providing conspirators with drugs and leaving with the drug payment.
On October 1, 2013, a search warrant was executed at the apartment of a co-conspirator that Ford-Bey had been identified as visiting. Agents located a safe which contained $823,640 in cash, several watches, and jewelry. In addition, agents recovered scales, three heat sealers, a coffee grinder, a currency counter, and other drug paraphernalia, as well as approximately 350 grams of cocaine. Latent fingerprints recovered from the heat sealers were identified as Ford Bey’s and another conspirator.
Ford-Bey was arrested on August 16, 2013, during a traffic stop of a vehicle being driven by Ford-Bey’s girlfriend. A Maryland State Trooper ran the tag and determined the vehicle was registered in the name of the driver and Ford-Bey. When the trooper asked Ford-Bey for identification, he identified himself as Jason Green and presented a New Jersey driver’s license in that name. The trooper pulled up the warrant photograph for Ford-Bey, positively identified him as Ford-Bey, and placed him under arrest.
In an effort to disguise and hide their drug proceeds, Ford-Bey and others created numerous business entities, which had little, if any legitimate business. They set up bank accounts in the names of each business and deposit their drug proceeds into those business accounts. Between 2008 and 2011, Ford-Bey deposited drug proceeds into business bank accounts he owned or controlled. Ford-Bey used drug proceeds to purchase a 2007 Lexus for his girlfriend, a 2011 Landrover vehicle for $65,749, to purchase jewelry and to pay rent for Ford Bey’s apartment and for travel expenses, among other things.
Ford-Bey faces a minimum mandatory sentence of 20 years in prison and a maximum of life in prison. U.S. District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow has scheduled sentencing for March 5, 2015 at 10 a.m.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the DEA, FBI, Prince George’s County Police Department, U.S. Park Police and U.S. Postal Inspection Service for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Deborah A. Johnston and Thomas P. Windom, who are prosecuting this Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force case.