Virginia Man Sentenced to Nearly 20 Years in Prison for Conspiring to Distribute Cocaine
Defendant Hid Cocaine in Secret Compartments of Car
|U.S. Attorney’s Office May 10, 2013|
WASHINGTON—Darnell Antonio Parker, 43, formerly of Arlington, Virginia, has been sentenced to 19 years and seven months in prison for conspiring to distribute large quantities of cocaine in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, 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), announced today.
Parker pled guilty in December 2012 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine and money laundering. He was sentenced on May 9, 2013, by the Honorable Emmet G. Sullivan. As part of the sentence, Parker was ordered to forfeit assets in the amount of $375,000. He will be placed on supervised release for five years when his term of incarceration is complete.
According to the government’s evidence, Parker sold large amounts of cocaine to others participating in the drug conspiracy. Parker and others carried out the drug operation from September 2010 through March 2012, when it was broken up by law enforcement. The network operated in the District of Columbia as well as in suburban Maryland.
Parker was arrested on March 1, 2012, following an investigation led by the FBI/Metropolitan Police Department Safe Streets Task Force. That day, law enforcement was conducting surveillance on Parker as he drove a Honda Accord from Washington, D.C. into a parking lot in Oxon Hill, Maryland. Law enforcement observed Parker exit the Honda, kneel near the driver’s side, and manipulate something inside. A few moments later, law enforcement stopped Parker a distance away after he entered another person’s vehicle.
Law enforcement stopped Parker and searched him and the Honda Accord. That search revealed approximately $10,000 in cash underneath the front passenger seat and two secret compartments located in the side panels in the back seat. In one of the compartments, law enforcement discovered six large compressed bricks of powder cocaine that weighed slightly below six kilograms. The search of Parker himself turned up more than $7,000 in cash.
Parker was among numerous people indicted in the case. More than a dozen defendants have pled guilty to charges in the investigation.
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 sentence, U.S. Attorney Machen, Assistant Director in Charge Parlave, and Chief Lanier thanked those who pursued the investigation from the FBI/MPD Safe Streets Task Force and other agencies. In addition, they expressed appreciation to the Prince George’s County Police Department, the U.S. Park Police, the U.S. Marshals Service, and the Maryland State Police 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 Michelle A. Zamarin and Thomas A. Gillice, who are prosecuting the case, and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Zia Faruqui and Anthony Saler of the Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section.