Five people were arrested today following their indictments on federal charges in connection with an ongoing investigation by the FBI/Metropolitan Police Department Safe Streets Task Force into a network that distributed heroin in the Washington, D.C. area.
The arrests and charges were announced by U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr., James W. McJunkin, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, and Cathy L. Lanier, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).
Those arrested were named in an indictment returned on Nov. 13, 2012, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The indictment, unsealed today, charges the defendants with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute heroin, as well as related drug offenses. The indictment also includes a forfeiture allegation seeking all proceeds derived from the crimes, as well as assets used to commit the offenses. If convicted, the defendants face a minimum of five years in custody and a maximum of 40 years. Several defendants face a minimum of 10 years in custody and a maximum of life.
The FBI’s Washington and Baltimore Field Offices, MPD, U.S. Park Police, U.S. Marshals Service, and the Prince George’s County Police Department joined in today’s law enforcement action. A total of eight locations were searched in the District of Columbia and Maryland. Authorities seized shotguns, rifles and other weapons, as well as drug paraphernalia and other items believed to be related to drug trafficking.
The indictment alleges that the defendants conspired to carry out the drug operation from August 2011 through at least August of this year. The defendants are accused of joining in a wholesale and retail heroin distribution conspiracy in the area of the Kenilworth Gardens public housing development, which is located in the vicinity of the 1500 block and 1600 block of Kenilworth Avenue NE and the surrounding streets west of Interstate 295.
Those arrested include Tony Lamont Adams, 47, the alleged leader of the group; Rodney Brown, 41; Bernard Jerome Hammond, 44; Donald Bernard Lewis, 46, and William Harris Lewis Jr., 43, all of Washington, D.C. A sixth defendant is being sought.
Today’s action comes a week after the unsealing of an indictment in a second, unrelated case involving the sales of heroin in the Washington, D.C. area. In that case, five men were arrested following a separate Safe Streets Task Force investigation into drug activities in Northwest Washington and other locations in the metropolitan area. Defendants in that case include Luther Barnes, 27; Deangelo Glenmore, 26; Jeevon Jones, 41; Bernard King, 28, and Renard Thornton, 38, all of Washington, D.C. All are in custody pending further proceedings.
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.
The two investigations grew out of a long-term FBI/MPD alliance called the Safe Streets Task Force that targets violent drug trafficking gangs in the District of Columbia. The Safe Streets Initiative is funded in part by the Baltimore Washington High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area as well as the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force. The initiative involves more than 150 Safe Streets Task Forces across the country that combat street gangs by combining federal, state and local police resources. The task forces, which began in 1992 in Los Angeles and the District of Columbia, address gang activity, including drug-related crimes.
In announcing the charges, U.S. Attorney Machen, Assistant Director McJunkin, and Chief Lanier thanked those who pursued the investigations from the FBI/MPD Safe Streets Task Force and other agencies. They also acknowledged the efforts of those who worked on the cases from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, including Assistant U.S. Attorneys Patricia Stewart and Arvind Lal, who assisted in the investigation that led to today’s arrests, and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Terry Eaton and David B. Kent, who are prosecuting that matter.
Additionally, they thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Vincent Caputy and former Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean Lewis, who assisted in the investigation of the case involving Luther Barnes and his co-defendants, along with Assistant U.S. Attorneys Opher Shweiki and George Eliopoulos, who are prosecuting that case.
They also expressed appreciation to Assistant U.S. Attorney Zia Faruqui of the Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section, who is assisting with the forfeiture actions in both cases.