Bowie Drug Trafficker Had Nearly a Million in Cash in Safe at DC Crib in Neighborhood Protected by the Secret Service
Convicted for $108 Million Drug Distribution and Money Laundering Conspiracies
By Ken Rossignol
THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY
News & Commentary on the Criminal Class
GREENBELT, MD. – Drug dealing pays in a big way. It’s a good thing that drug dealers make so much money, at least for a couple of them mentioned in this crime report, as they have to pay over $200 million in judgments to the Federal Government as part of their convictions. And why not, the federal government was making the neighborhood safe where stashed millions and centered their cocaine business in a hideout just a block from the mansion of Vice-President Joe Biden.
These bozos could have opened a car wash, a jerk chicken joint or a BBQ pit – look at Ben’s Chili Bowl, some folks have worked hard and made it big. But for Ishmael Ford-Bey and Draco Marshall, their mansions were built on a house of cards and the Organized Crime Task Force pulled the plug on their empire.
For street-wise punks who couldn’t pass an entrance exam into high school, if public schools had such a standard, the below-mentioned drug dealers showed the world that they had the moxie and the commitment to be organized more than enough to get out of bed in the morning. They managed to organize not only themselves but an entire cadre of sagging-pants associates to serve up to customers in the District, PG County and Southern Maryland a 31-flavors selection of narcotics including cocaine and heroin.
The drug dealers were able to soar from their modest PG County and DC crime roots to hanging out with celebrities at Hollywood events. Just like the Italian Mafia mob moved to Las Vegas and Los Angeles, local thugsters love to rub elbows with models and actresses. When bad boys are making millions and blowing big bucks for high living, it isn’t too hard to get celebrities to pose for photos.
The cold and calculating Draco Marshall was convicted in Federal Court on Monday, Feb. 8, 2016, and included in the evidence presented at his trial was the outline of the criminal drug enterprise of him and his fellow convicted defendants. All of the gang won’t be released from behind bars in a federal slammer for many years. Andracos Marshall, a/k/a “Draco,” age 41, of Bowie, Maryland, awaits sentencing for conspiracy to distribute cocaine, possession with intent to distribute cocaine, and for money laundering conspiracy.
That outline presented by U. S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein detailed how Draco Marshall was caught including the stash house in which he secreted nearly a million dollars in cash in an apartment which had been rented for him by a go-between. The apartment is located about a block from the home of Vice-President Joe Biden, which is well protected by the Secret Service as well as District Police.
The location one might expect a PG County drug dealer to use would be in the close in PG County suburbs of DC or in Southeast, where drug dealers are as common as telephone poles.
However, Draco must have learned to do a little racial profiling himself, picking a neighborhood rather devoid of saggy-pants brothers selling dime bags of heroin on street corners in Anacostia. Such a neighborhood might be the wrong one in which to have an apartment to store his millions of cash.
According to information presented at trial, Marshall and his co-conspirators also rented storage facilities and apartments that were used in furtherance of the drug conspiracy. The U. S. Attorney reported that, for example, on February 22, 2013, a third party leased the Tunlaw Road apartment for Marshall in Northwest Washington, D.C. The feds kept an eye on the crib and established that Tatum and Ford-Bey were visitors. On October 1, 2013, a search warrant was executed at the apartment.
When the feds conducted the search warrant raid, they found in the safe: $823,640 in cash, several expensive watches, and jewelry. That isn’t the kind of safe to have in an apartment on Good Hope Road in Southeast D.C. On Tunlaw Road in Northwest D.C., there was a much lower risk of burglars.
In fact, until the cops came calling, Marshall and his gang were able to use the location for cooking crack cocaine. Such a task is usually conducted at local motels with tourists sleeping in nearby rooms.
Prosecutors presented evidence that in addition to the cash, gems, and timepieces, agents recovered scales, three heat sealers, a coffee grinder, a currency counter, and other drug paraphernalia, as well as approximately 150 grams of cocaine base.
According to evidence presented at his 13-day trial, from at least January 2011 through January 2015, Marshall conspired with Anthony Torrell Tatum, Ishmael Ford-Bey, and others to distribute cocaine and heroin in Prince George’s County, including Oxon Hill, Maryland, and Washington, D.C.
Testimony showed that in from January 2011 until August 2012, Ford-Bey, assisted by Marshall, received multiple kilogram shipments of cocaine from a source in California.
Ishmael Ford-Bey and another Draco Marshall fellow Outlaw, Anthony Tatum were frequent visitors to Hollywood events.
A fashion photo on Wire Image shows Ishmael Ford-Bey and Anthony Tatum attending the Primary Wave Music Publishing pre-Grammy party at SLS Hotel on February 7, 2009, in Los Angeles, California.
Ford-Bey managed to have a photo taken of himself with Melyssa Ford, no apparent relation, at a pre-Grammy party in Los Angeles. Melyssa Ford is a star of the Bravo Network television series Blood, Sweat and Heels.
According to witness testimony and court documents, on August 15, 2012, the Texas Department of Public Safety stopped a refrigerated box truck that was transporting 13 boxes, each containing approximately 10 kilograms of cocaine. The boxes were to be delivered to Ford-Bey in Temple Hills, Maryland. A controlled delivery of the boxes was arranged. On August 17, 2012, law enforcement established surveillance at the meeting location in Marlow Heights, Maryland. A few minutes after the truck arrived, a vehicle registered to Ford-Bey at a Mitchellville address arrived at the location. Law enforcement observed the truck driver and Ford-Bey unloading the drugs into Ford-Bey’s vehicle. As Ford-Bey left the area, he was followed by another vehicle being driven by Marshall. As law enforcement officers pursued Ford-Bey, Marshall drove his vehicle in a manner to thwart law enforcement efforts to stop him. Ford-Bey and Marshall eventually abandoned their vehicles after a high-speed chase on I-495 and ran away. Agents recovered the vehicles, the cocaine, cell phones, and other evidence. Marshall remained a fugitive until he was arrested in January 2015.
To disguise and hide their drug proceeds, Marshall, and his co-conspirators used aliases and false identifications and created numerous business entities, which had little, if any, legitimate business. Evidence showed that the co-conspirators used the aliases and false identifications to rent facilities used to further their drug trafficking activities.
Marshall faces a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison and a maximum of life in prison for the conspiracy, and for possession with intent to distribute controlled substances; and a maximum of 20 years in prison for money laundering conspiracy. U.S. District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow has scheduled sentencing for June 6, 2016, at 11 a.m.
Five defendants, including Marshall, were convicted federally for their participation in the conspiracy. Co-conspirators Anthony Torrell Tatum, 37, of Arlington, Virginia; Ishmael Ford-Bey, 40, of Mitchellville, Maryland; Terrin Tamal Anderson, 29, of Waldorf, Maryland; and David Allen Jones, 40, of District Heights, Maryland; previously pleaded guilty and were sentenced to 27 years in prison, 33 years in prison, 12 years in prison and 45 months in prison, respectively. Judge Chasanow also entered an order requiring Tatum and Ford-Bey to pay a $108 million money judgment, and a forfeiture order for personal property, including luxury vehicles, jewelry, and cash.
Based on a review of the documents in the vehicle and further investigation, agents identified another residence for Ford-Bey located in the 2400 block of Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, in Washington, DC. On the evening of August 17, 2012, officers were at the Pennsylvania Avenue address and saw Ford-Bey in the lobby. Ford-Bey fled dropping a bag that contained prepaid cellphones and other items. Agents were unable to locate Ford-Bey. A search warrant of the residence resulted in the seizure of watches and jewelry, and a loaded Glock handgun. Agents also seized two other vehicles—a 2003 Audi and a 2011 Maserati, both registered to Ford-Bey.
Ford-Bey was arrested on August 16, 2013, during a traffic stop of a vehicle being driven by Ford-Bey’s girlfriend. A Maryland State Trooper ran the tag and determined the vehicle was registered in the name of the driver and Ford-Bey. When the trooper asked Ford-Bey for identification, he identified himself as Jason Green and presented a New Jersey driver’s license in that name. The trooper pulled up the warrant photograph for Ford-Bey, positively identified him as Ford-Bey, and placed him under arrest.
On October 1, 2013, a search warrant was executed at the apartment of a co-conspirator that Ford-Bey and co-conspirator Anthony Tatum had been identified as visiting. Agents located a safe which contained $823,640 in cash, several expensive watches, and jewelry. Also, agents recovered scales, three heat sealers, a coffee grinder, a currency counter, and other drug paraphernalia, as well as approximately 350 grams of cocaine. Latent fingerprints recovered from the heat sealers were identified as belonging to Ford-Bey and Tatum.
To disguise and hide their drug proceeds, Ford-Bey, Tatum and others created numerous business entities, which had little, if any, legitimate business. They set up bank accounts in the names of each business and deposited their drug proceeds into those business accounts. Between 2008 and 2011, Ford-Bey deposited drug proceeds into business bank accounts he owned or controlled. Ford-Bey used drug proceeds to purchase a 2007 Lexus for his girlfriend, a 2011 Land Rover vehicle for $65,749. Ford-Bey also purchased jewelry and used the drug proceeds to pay rent for his apartment and for travel expenses, among other things.
The government contends that over the course of the conspiracy Ford-Bey distributed approximately 1,710 kilograms of cocaine.
What was the value of the 1,710 kilos of cocaine?
One Norfolk newspaper attempted to pin down the U. S. Customs and Border Protection officials who distributed press releases announcing several seizures as being worth in values ranging from $21.9 million to $33.2 million. News reports from other law enforcement agencies listed the price of a Kilo from $100,000 to $300,000. Some officials cited values as to the small diluted amounts which eventually make it to the typical American cokehead who snorts up while watching football on Sundays, taking a snort in a bar restroom or a little dab to do them during lunch time.
If the Federal Judge, who set the judgment amount used the Customs and Border Protection estimate, she undercut how much Ford-Bey has to pay and cheated the taxpayers. Using the figure of $300,000 per kilo, the value would be $513 million. Therefore, Ford-Bey got a bargain and his team of drug mules, dealers and unfound gang members who still operate his business, in the DC area and likely on the West Coast as well, will have to hustle a lot of drugs while the boss is in prison to pay his fine.
The Virginian-Pilot reported a DEA official as saying that cocaine sells in Richmond, Va., for about $1,300 per ounce and that cokeheads buy the drug by the gram with about 28 grams to the ounce.
The newspaper quoted Special Agent Joseph Moses, a Drug Enforcement Administration spokesman, said it is hard to determine an accurate street value for large hauls of cocaine since it is so common for dealers to dilute their product before selling it. He declined to say how many times cocaine can be so “stepped on” before it is sold.
“Different organizations have different standards,” he said of drug dealers. “But they have to strike a balance. If they do it too many times, their customers will walk away.”
U.S. District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow sentenced Ishmael Ford-Bey, 40, of Mitchellville, Maryland, on June 5, 2015, to 33 years in prison, followed by 10 years of supervised release, for conspiracy, possession with intent to distribute cocaine, using a phone to facilitate drug distribution, and money laundering. Judge Chasanow had previously entered an order requiring Ford-Bey to pay a $108 million money judgment, and a forfeiture order for personal property, including luxury vehicles, jewelry, and cash.
Included in the successful Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force case investigation which led to the conviction of this dangerous gang of drug dealers were the Maryland State Police, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the IRS-CI, ATF, FBI, DEA, U.S. Park Police and the Prince Georges County Police. Prosecutors included Deborah A. Johnston, Ray D. McKenzie and Thomas P. Windom.