Eleven Arrested on Federal Drug Charges, Accused of Trafficking in Cocaine, Crack Cocaine, and Marijuana
Drugs, Firearms, Cash Seized in Series of Searches Today
|U.S. Attorney’s Office August 17, 2011|
WASHINGTON—Eleven people have been arrested following their indictments in connection with an ongoing investigation by the FBI/Metropolitan Police Department Safe Streets Task Force into drug distribution networks operating in the District of Columbia area.
The 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; Cathy L. Lanier, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD); and Teresa Chambers, Chief of the U.S. Park Police.
The investigation focused on a group of drug traffickers who arranged for delivery of large amounts of cocaine, crack cocaine, and marijuana to the Washington, D.C. area. The arrests followed the return of two federal indictments on August 11, 2011 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The indictments were unsealed today. In addition to drug charges, both indictments include forfeiture counts seeking all proceeds from the crimes.
The FBI, U.S. Park Police, and MPD, with assistance from the Prince George’s County Police Department, searched a total of 15 locations early today in the District of Columbia; Prince George’s County, Maryland; and Playa Del Rey, California. They seized a total of 11 firearms, including a Mac 11 pistol and two shotguns, as well as significant amounts of heroin, crack cocaine, cocaine, and marijuana. In addition, authorities seized more than $64,000 in cash.
All told, over the course of the investigation, authorities have seized more than four kilograms of cocaine, more than 300 grams of crack cocaine, more than five pounds of marijuana, and a significant amount of heroin.
The first indictment charged eight defendants with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine and crack cocaine within the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, Texas, and Arizona. The indictment also included charges against two individual defendants for possession of a firearm during a drug trafficking offense, and charges against another individual defendant for individual acts of distribution of crack cocaine.
Those defendants include: Eric Moses, 37, of Washington, D.C.; Lester Stanley Austin III, 34, of Alexandria, Va.; Joshua Drake, 42, of Fort Washington, Md.; Kimberly Hall, 32, of Capitol Heights, Md.; Mason Anthony Huddleston, 31, of Lignum, Va.; Aaron Patrick Jones, 38, of Washington, D.C.; Brian David Marsh, 36, of Oxon Hill, Md.; and Juan Luiz Mathis, 31, of Oxon Hill, Md.
The second indictment charged four defendants with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute marijuana, within the District of Columbia, Maryland, and California.
The defendants in that case include: Eric Moses; Victor Donell Brown, 23, of Washington, D.C.; Marcus Joseph Capanna, 27, of Playa Del Rey, Calif., and Don Lavae Williams, 29, of Bladensburg, Md.
Several defendants were to make their first court appearances this afternoon.
“Every day in our city we witness the devastating consequences of drug abuse and gun violence. Today’s successful operation, following up on last week’s arrest of 17 individuals on narcotics charges, is just another example of law enforcement’s commitment to protecting our community from the lethal combination of narcotics and firearms,” said U.S. Attorney Machen. “Besides arresting 11 indicted defendants on various narcotics charges this morning, we took a large number of dangerous firearms out of circulation.”
“Today’s arrests are a result of a concentrated effort by agents and detectives from the FBI, MPD, Prince George’s County Police Department, U.S. Park Police, and U.S. Postal Inspection Service, who partnered together to disrupt and dismantle these drug networks who threaten our neighborhoods,” said Assistant Director in Charge McJunkin.
An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation of criminal laws and every defendant is presumed innocent until, and unless, proven guilty.
This prosecution 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, Chief Lanier, and Chief Chambers thanked those who pursued the investigation from the Safe Streets Task Force and other agencies. In addition, they expressed appreciation to the Prince George’s Police Department, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and FBI Field Offices in Phoenix, Los Angeles, and Baltimore for their assistance in the investigation.
They also acknowledged the efforts of those who worked on the investigation from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, including Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matthew Cohen, Suzanne Clement Libby, and Steven B. Wasserman, who are prosecuting the case.