Three Men Found Guilty of Conspiring to Distribute Cocaine in the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area
Evidence Included Nearly 30 Kilograms of Cocaine Found in a Storage Locker
|U.S. Attorney’s Office November 20, 2012|
WASHINGTON—Three men were found guilty by a jury today of conspiring to distribute large quantities of cocaine in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. They were among those arrested in 2011 following one of the largest recent seizures of cocaine in the area.
The verdicts were announced by U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen, Jr.; Debra Evans Smith, Acting Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office; and Cathy L. Lanier, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).
William M. Bowman, 33, of Bowie, Maryland; Gezo G. Edwards, 39, of Silver Spring, Maryland; and Henry B. Williams, 32, of Glen Dale, Maryland, were found guilty following a five-week trial in the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia. In addition to the conspiracy charge, Bowman was found guilty of possession of a firearm during the commission of narcotics offenses.
The Honorable Colleen Kollar-Kotelly scheduled sentencing for February 2013. Bowman faces a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 45 years and a potential life sentence. Edwards faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years and a potential life term. Williams faces a prison term of up to 20 years.
The case now enters a second phase for the jury to determine the forfeiture of Edwards’s assets that were the proceeds of or facilitated his drug trafficking activities. Specifically, the jury will be called on to determine whether more than $366,000 in seized cash, a Rolex watch, and a $30,000 platinum diamond engagement ring were the proceeds of or facilitated the drug dealing. In addition, the government will be seeking a money judgment of $1 million.
Bowman, Edwards, and Williams were indicted in 2011, following a 15-month investigation by the FBI and MPD into people suspected of acting as wholesale distributors of cocaine in the metropolitan area. The investigation determined that from January 2009 through April 2011, the defendants and others maintained a drug trafficking organization that supplied distribution amounts of cocaine and crack cocaine to dealers in the District of Columbia and Maryland.
The investigation revealed that Bowman and Edwards obtained large quantities of cocaine from sources in the Los Angeles area, which they transported back to the Washington, D.C. area for redistribution to wholesale traffickers, including Williams.
All told, 11 people have pled guilty to charges in the investigation.
In April 2011, investigators learned that members of the defendants’ organization had arranged for a large shipment of cocaine to the area and that they were storing it in a storage facility in Hyattsville, Maryland. After obtaining a search warrant, law enforcement searched the locker and recovered 29.5 kilograms of cocaine, nearly two kilograms of crack cocaine, packaging material, and several firearms, including an assault rifle. The cocaine had an estimated wholesale value of $1 million and an estimated street value of more than $3 million.
“Mr. Bowman, Mr. Edwards, and Mr. Williams were committed to bringing poisonous drugs into our community. However, they did not realize that law enforcement was even more committed to preventing that from happening,” said U.S. Attorney Machen. “Through the swift actions of FBI, MPD, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, nearly 30 kilos of cocaine were prevented from hitting our city streets, and a dangerous drug organization was dismantled. Now, all three men will pay a steep price for their crimes. I want to commend the investigators from the FBI and MPD, as well as the prosecutors from my office, who have done an outstanding job in bringing these three men to justice and protecting our community.”
“Drug trafficking organizations such as the one that Bowman, Edwards, and Williams ran in D.C. and Maryland cripple the safety and security of our neighborhoods,” said Acting Assistant Director Smith. “Today’s verdict should serve as a warning to drug dealers and traffickers that the FBI and our local law enforcement partners are committed to tracking their movement and stopping them from selling drugs on our streets.”
“Through great police work and coordination with our FBI partners, we were able to disrupt a large network responsible for distributing significant amounts of cocaine to Washington, D.C.—specifically, Southeast,” said Police Chief Lanier. “Members of the Metropolitan Police Department’s Narcotics and Special Investigations Division were relentless in pursuing these criminals.”
The prosecution grew out of the efforts of the federal Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, a multi-agency team that conducts comprehensive, multi-level attacks on major drug trafficking and money laundering organizations. The principal mission of the nationwide program is to identify, disrupt, and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking and money laundering organizations and those primarily responsible for the nation’s drug supply.
In announcing the verdicts, U.S. Attorney Machen, Acting Assistant Director Smith and Chief Lanier commended the work of the FBI and MPD members of the task force who investigated the case. They also thanked the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland, the FBI’s Baltimore Division, and the Prince George’s County and Montgomery County Police Departments, which provided assistance. They cited the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, including Paralegal Specialists Jeanette Litz, Jeremy Stoller, Regan Gibson, and Starla Stolk, and Litigation Support Specialist Ron Royal.
Finally, they acknowledged the work of Assistant U.S. Attorneys Debra Long-Doyle and Steven B. Wasserman of the Violent Crime and Narcotics Trafficking Section; and Zia M. Faruqui, of the Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section, who are prosecuting the case.