Three Men are First Capitol Breach Defendants Convicted at Trial of Assaulting Police Officers with Pepper Spray
BIRMINGHAM – A federal jury on Monday convicted a Bessemer man charged under the “Kingpin” statute, and three other defendants, on charges of operating a continuing criminal enterprise involved in the large-scale distribution of illegal drugs, announced U.S. Attorney Prim F. Escalona, Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge Johnnie Sharp, Jr., and Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) Atlanta Field Office Special Agent in Charge James E. Dorsey.
After a week-long trial before United States District Court Judge Annmarie C. Axon a jury convicted Rolando Antuain Williamson, also known as “Baldhead” and “Ball Head,” 37, of Bessemer, Alabama, of leading a multi-million dollar continuing criminal enterprise. Williamson, Adrien Hiram Taylor, also known as “Slim,” 34, of Bessemer, Alabama, Ishmywel Calid Gregory, also known as “C,” 38, of Mulga, Alabama, and Hendarius Lamar Archie, also known as “Hen,” 33, of Bessemer, Alabama, were convicted of conspiring to distribute and possession with intent to distribute heroin, fentanyl, cocaine, methamphetamine, and marijuana. Williamson, Taylor, Gregory, and Archie were all convicted of distributing or possession with intent to distribute heroin, fentanyl, cocaine, methamphetamine, and marijuana. Williamson and Archie were convicted of using, carrying, or possessing a firearm during or in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. Williamson and Taylor were convicted of several counts of using a communication facility to commit a drug trafficking crime.
With today’s verdict, all 18 people charged in the indictment returned on October 29, 2019, have now been convicted. The convictions were the result of a three-year investigation by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (“OCDETF”) of this West Jefferson County-based drug-trafficking enterprise. The investigation identified acts committed in furtherance of the conspiracy over a period of six years. Prior to the trial, 14 of the charged defendants pleaded guilty. Seven members of the criminal enterprise have been sentenced and the remaining defendants await sentencing.
The OCDETF agencies involved in this investigation are the FBI, IRS, member agencies of the FBI North Alabama Safe Streets Task Force, Bessemer Police Department, and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department.
The North Alabama Safe Streets Task Force arrested Williamson the morning of August 22, 2019, in the parking lot of a grocery store located in Homewood, Alabama. Williamson was driving a 2016 Dodge Hellcat worth $80,000. At the time of arrest, Williamson was found to be in possession of two loaded pistols (with additional loaded magazines) and almost $14,000 in cash. All other members of the conspiracy were arrested on or about November 13, 2019.
At the time of Williamson’s arrest law enforcement officers also seized from Williamson and three of his stash houses, 366 grams of heroin/fentanyl, 109 grams of suspected cocaine, 573 grams of pure methamphetamine, 52 kilos of marijuana, over $97,000 in cash, multiple firearms, and over 1700 rounds of ammunition.
“This verdict should send a message to those engaged in violent crime and distribution of deadly drugs in our communities,” U.S. Attorney Escalona said. “The investigation and prosecution of violent crime continues to be our highest priority. I commend our law enforcement partners for their tireless efforts to ensure these defendants were brought to justice.”
“Removing this “kingpin” and the dangerous drugs he and his criminal enterprise peddled will no doubt save lives and families from the pain of addiction,” SAC Sharp said. “This sentence reflects the severity of Williamsons actions, and he will have decades in prison to consider the impact of his decisions. This case highlights the joint commitment, dedication, and partnership between our law enforcement partners in combatting drug trafficking in our community.”
“Jefferson County Sheriff’s Deputies assigned to the FBI Safe Streets Task Force, worked in conjunction with the FBI and other participating agencies during this 3-year investigation,” Sheriff Pettway said. “The illegal drug trade ruins hundreds of lives in Jefferson County every year. We are proud to have been a part of disrupting the trade and distribution of these illegal narcotics in western Jefferson County. Working in unison with our fellow local and federal agencies, we are able to share and act on critical intelligence that is imperative to shutting down these type operations. This case is an example of how these agencies working together successfully disrupted a large-scale drug operation. We look forward to continuing these invaluable partnerships against crime.”
As, a convicted “Kingpin,” Williamson faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison. Taylor faces a mandatory minimum sentence of twenty-five years to life in prison. Gregory faces a maximum of thirty years in prison. Archie faces a mandatory minimum sentence of five years to forty years in prison.
Forfeiture was obtained for two high-end vehicles of Williamson: a $46,000 Ford F-250 “King’s Ranch” and a $37,000 Cadillac Escalade; over $100,000 dollars in cash; $45, 000 in jewelry; and all firearms and ammunition used to facilitate the drug trafficking enterprise.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Internal Revenue Service, investigated the case along with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and Bessemer Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jonathan S. Cross and Gregory R. Dimler are prosecuting the case.
This investigation is part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF). OCDETF is an independent component of the U.S. Department of Justice. Established in 1982, OCDETF is the centerpiece of the Attorney General’s strategy to combat transnational-organized-crime and to reduce the availability of illicit narcotics in the nation by using a prosecutor-led, multi-agency approach to enforcement. OCDETF leverages the resources and expertise of its partners in concentrated, coordinated, long-term enterprise investigations of transnational organized crime, money laundering, and major drug trafficking networks.