According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, on November 20, 2013, seventeen individuals were arrested as part of the “Safe Streets Task Force.” The arrests stem from federal indictments issued in the District of Columbia against twenty-six individuals allegedly involved in a drug trafficking operation spanning between Texas, Maryland and D.C. Two of these persons are already in custody, and seven others were apprehended in Texas.

The Government alleges that these individuals are involved in the trafficking of heroin, cocaine and marijuana. In addition to charges of conspiracy and intent to distribute, some of the individuals are facing money laundering charges. All are facing forfeiture counts that seek profits obtained through the alleged conspiracy.

Interestingly, while the indictment fails to describe the factual background of the case, it is only limited to one year, from October 2012 through October 2013. Further, the unsealed indictment fails to include any substantive drug counts; rather, the charges are grounded upon the existence of a conspiracy. Thus, the indictment demonstrates that Government is relying on their ability to prove that a conspiracy existed between all twenty-six individuals. In a case such as this, the cooperation of just a few participants may indeed be sufficient to prove the existence of a conspiracy beyond a reasonable doubt.

In addition to the arrests, seventeen locations and four vehicles were searched in the Government’s effort to obtain evidence against those arrested. The press release reveals that the Government seized guns, herion, PCP and cash.

To overcome the allegations, each individual must argue that they did not knowingly or willfully enter the conspiracy. Further, in any criminal matter where a search warrant is executed, it is prudent to scrutinize the warrant for its legality to determine whether a Fourth Amendment violation occurred. For example, if there is a defect on the face of the warrant, or if the agents exceeded the scope of the warrant, the evidence may be inadmissible in the Government’s case-in-chief.

Significantly, the press release makes clear that this is an ongoing investigation. The Government is most likely investigating additional persons with ties to those arrested. There is no doubt that the Government will use its leverage against those already in custody in its effort to obtain additional information regarding others that may be involved in the alleged drug trafficking network. Typically, in exchange for such information, the Government will offer a lessened sentence as part of a plea deal, thus providing an incentive for someone that has already been charged and arrested.

Those arrested in the Washington, D.C. area include several members of one family: Juan Floyd, 45, of Temple Hills, Md., an alleged leader of the enterprise; his brother, John Floyd, 51, of Washington, D.C., and his daughter, Juanita N. Culbreth, 27, of Oxon Hill, Md.

Others arrested today include: Lisa Adona, 50, of Fort Washington, Md.; Rodney Kirk Carter, 50, of Washington, D.C.; Derek L. Gadsden, 54, of Washington, D.C.; Donald Johnson, 51, of Washington, D.C.; Mike Johnson, 30, of Deale, Md.; Albert P. Jones, 44, of Temple Hills, Md.; Vincent J. Jones, 45, of Washington, D.C.; Roxanne Matthews-Baker, 47, of Washington, D.C.; Maurice P. Mercer, 38, of Washington, D.C.; Lawrence E. Proctor, 54, of Washington, D.C.; Darnell S. Rogers, 50, of Fort Washington, Md.; Bruce Settles, 48, of Washington, D.C.; Delshawn A. Wrice, 53, of Washington, D.C., and Jeri Wright, 60, of Suitland, Md.

Jeffrey Coachman, 39, and Gary Price, 47, were already in custody.

The author of this blog is Margaret Ververis, an attorney specializing in Federal Criminal Defense matters with the law firm of Ferrari & Associates, P.C. If you have any questions please contact her at 202-440-2581 or ververis@ferrariassociatespc.com.

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