Maryland Man Sentenced to 45 Years in Prison for Conspiring to Distribute Cocaine
Evidence at Trial Included Nearly 30 Kilograms of Cocaine Found in a Storage Locker
|U.S. Attorney’s Office April 09, 2013|
WASHINGTON—William M. Bowman, 33, formerly of Bowie, Maryland, was sentenced today to 45 years in prison for conspiring to distribute large quantities of cocaine in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, announced U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen, Jr.; Valerie Parlave, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office; and Cathy L. Lanier, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).
Bowman and two others—Gezo G. Edwards, 39, and Henry B. Williams, 32—were found guilty of the drug conspiracy charge in November 2012 following a five-week trial in the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia. In addition, Bowman was found guilty of possession of a firearm during the commission of narcotics offenses. The three defendants were among 14 people indicted in 2011, following one of the largest recent seizures of cocaine in the area.
The Honorable Colleen Kollar-Kotelly sentenced Bowman this afternoon. Williams, of Glenn Dale, Maryland, was sentenced in February 2013 to a 51-month prison term. No sentencing date has been set for Edwards, of Silver Spring, Maryland. The government will be seeking a sentence of life imprisonment for Edwards at the time of his sentencing.
Last year, following the guilty verdict, the matter entered a second phase before the jury which determined that Edwards must forfeit assets that were the proceeds of or facilitated his drug trafficking activities. Specifically, the jury determined that over $366,000 in seized cash and a Rolex watch were among proceeds of the drug conspiracy or facilitated the drug dealing. Separately, Bowman did not contest the seizure of over $200,000 in additional money and a $9,400 diamond engagement ring that were recovered from his house at the time of his arrest.
In sentencing Bowman to 45 years, Judge Kollar-Kotelly stated that the court had no choice but to impose this mandatory-minimum sentence. However, she noted that the sentence was appropriate in light of the fact that Bowman was an upper-level manager in a significant drug trafficking organization that infused multi-kilogram amounts of cocaine into the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area; the fact that the defendant possessed two .40 caliber pistols, an assault rifle, and body armor;and in light of the defendant’s significant criminal history. The court further ordered that Bowman pay $500 in special court assessments and that the 45-year sentence was to be followed by 10 years of supervised release.
“William Bowman was responsible for importing millions of dollars of cocaine from California for distribution on the streets of Washington, D.C.,” said U.S. Attorney Machen. “His conviction cut off a major source of supply of crack cocaine. This sentence reflects the strength of our commitment to preventing drug traffickers from flooding our neighborhoods with narcotics that fuel violence and addiction.”
“Today, justice was served as Mr. Bowman was sentenced for his participation in a large and dangerous drug trafficking organization,” said Assistant Director in Charge Parlave. “He will now pay the price for his activities, and our communities will be a safer place thanks to the diligent work of law enforcement and prosecutors.”
“This sentencing is a victory for our communities, as this large seizure of drugs would have had a devastating impact on neighborhoods in Washington, D.C. and Maryland,” said Chief Lanier. “The Metropolitan Police Department’s Narcotics and Special Investigations Division, along with our FBI partners, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office have demonstrated once again that we will disrupt the trafficking of drugs, pursue criminals, and bring them to justice.”
The indictments in the case, returned in April 2011, followed 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.
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, several firearms, including an assault rifle, and packaging material, which included wrappings with cocaine residue that indicated that at least 60 additional kilograms of cocaine had passed through the storage facility and onto the streets of the Metropolitan Washington area. The cocaine had an estimated wholesale value of $1 million and an estimated street value of more than $3 million.
All told, 11 people have pled guilty to charges in the investigation. Bowman, Edwards, and Williams were the only defendants to stand trial.
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 sentence, U.S. Attorney Machen, Assistant Director in Charge Parlave, 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.