Mitchellville Man Sentenced to 33 Years in Prison for Drug Distribution and Money Laundering Conspiracies
GREENBELT, MD—U.S. District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow sentenced Ishmael Ford-Bey, age 40, of Mitchellville, Maryland, late yesterday to 33 years in prison, followed by 10 years of supervised release, for conspiracy, possession with intent to distribute cocaine, using a phone to facilitate drug distribution, and money laundering. Judge Chasanow had previously entered an order requiring Ford-Bey to pay a $108 million money judgment, and a forfeiture order for personal property, including luxury vehicles, jewelry and cash.
The sentence 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; Assistant Director in Charge Andrew G. McCabe of the Federal Bureau of Investigation—Washington Field Office; Chief Mark A. Magaw of the Prince George’s County Police Department; Chief of Police Robert D. MacLean of the U.S. Park Police; Acting Postal Inspector in Charge David M. McGinnis of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service—Washington Division; Special Agent in Charge Thomas Jankowski of the Internal Revenue Service—Criminal Investigation, Washington, D.C. Field Office; Special Agent in Charge William P. McMullan of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives—Baltimore Field Division; and Colonel William M. Pallozzi, Superintendent of the Maryland State Police.
According to court documents, from at least January 2011 through his arrest on August 16, 2013, Ishmael Ford-Bey conspired with Anthony Tatum and others to distribute cocaine. The drugs were often sold in different locations in Prince George’s County, Washington, D.C. and Oxon Hill, Maryland.
In late 2010, law enforcement received information that Tatum was the source of supply of cocaine to a cooperating source and that Ford-Bey was providing Tatum and others with kilogram quantities of cocaine. Between April 2011 and January 2012, U.S. Park Police conducted undercover purchases of a total of 308 grams of crack cocaine from co-conspirator Terrin Anderson. Anderson drove a vehicle registered to Ford-Bey to make some of the deliveries. 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 in exchange for cash.
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.
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.
On October 1, 2013, a search warrant was executed at the apartment of a co-conspirator that Ford-Bey and co-conspirator Anthony Tatum had been identified as visiting. Agents located a safe which contained $823,640 in cash, several expensive 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 belonging to Ford-Bey and Tatum.
In an effort to disguise and hide their drug proceeds, Ford-Bey, Tatum 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 deposited 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 Land Rover vehicle for $65,749. Ford-Bey also purchased jewelry and used the drug proceeds to pay rent for his apartment and for travel expenses, among other things.
The government contends that over the course of the conspiracy Ford-Bey distributed approximately 1,710 kilograms of cocaine.
Four defendants, including Ford-Bey were convicted federally for their participation in the conspiracy. Co-conspirators Terrin Tamal Anderson, age 29, of Waldorf, Maryland, and David Allen Jones, age 40, of District Heights, Maryland, previously pleaded guilty and were sentenced to 12 years in prison and 45 months in prison, respectively. Anthony Torrell Tatum, age 36, of Arlington, Virginia, also pleaded guilty and is scheduled to be sentenced on July 7, 2015.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the DEA, FBI, Prince George’s County Police Department, U.S. Park Police, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, IRS-CI, ATF and Maryland State Police for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Deborah A. Johnston and Thomas P. Windom, who prosecuted this Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force case.