Vallejo-Based Rappers Arrested as Part of Major Investigation of Alleged Drug Trafficking Throughout the United States

April 25, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on April 24, 2012 released the following:

“SACRAMENTO, CA—A number of arrests have occurred in a major federal investigation into drug trafficking throughout the country, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.

According to court documents, agents arrested a total of 25 individuals in Vallejo, Stockton, Fairfield, Oakland, Los Angeles, New York, and Oklahoma City. Some of those arrested are Vallejo-based rappers and associates of an entertainment label known as Thizz Entertainment.

Vallejo Police Chief Robert Nichelini stated, “This is another example of partnership that exists between the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Vallejo Police Department to improve the safety of our community and reduce the level of violence associated with drug dealing. We appreciate the efforts of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California in coordinating the investigation and prosecuting the persons involved in such a complex and dangerous criminal enterprise.”

During the investigation, agents seized approximately 45,000 MDMA pills, approximately four pounds of crack cocaine, a half-pound of heroin, and $200,000 in suspected drug proceeds. Agents also forfeited 230 acres of property valued at approximately $1 million as part of the investigation. As part of last Thursday’s takedown, agents executed three federal search warrants and seized approximately five pounds of marijuana, a loaded firearm, a 2010 Audi A6 with an estimated value of $60,000, and an Audi S5 with an estimated value of $50,000. Agents seized $67,238 in Vallejo and $6,831 in Sacramento for a total of $74,069 during the service of the federal search warrants.

According to the criminal complaints, the DEA-led investigation uncovered a network of drug distributors working in the Crest neighborhood of Vallejo, along with individuals transporting large quantities of drugs outside of California to realize a larger profit. A number of the subjects of the investigation performed as rappers under the entertainment label known as Thizz Entertainment. The origins of Thizz Entertainment can be traced back to the notorious Vallejo-based robbery crews known as the Romper Room Gang. The primary activities of the Romper Room Gang included armed bank robberies, drug trafficking, and murder. The Romper Room Gang was active throughout the late 1980s and 1990s. However, as a result of Vallejo police investigations with the assistance from federal law enforcement, many Romper Room Gang members were convicted of federal crimes and incarcerated for several years in the state and federal prison systems.

Some of the individuals charged in the criminal complaint are alleged to be former members of the Romper Room Gang. According to the complaint, Thizz Entertainment started in 1999 as a record label promoting and producing rap artists from the San Francisco Bay Area, primarily from the Crest neighborhood of their hometown of Vallejo. The name Thizz Entertainment originates from the term “thizz,” which is slang for the drug MDMA (also known as ecstasy). In many songs by artists on the Thizz Entertainment label, the lyrics glorify and promote the use and distribution of MDMA pills.

The complaint alleges that the targets of this investigation engaged in large-scale drug trafficking while also releasing rap albums under the Thizz Entertainment label. During the conspiracy, agents uncovered trafficking of MDMA, cocaine, cocaine base, heroin, Oxycodone, and marijuana, in violation of federal law. The complaint details drug shipments sent from the Vallejo area to Oklahoma City; Jamaica; Queens, New York; Atlanta; and Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The following individuals were charged with multiple counts of drug trafficking in the two federal criminal complaints:

Michael Lott, performs under the name “Miami the Most”

*Major Norton, performs under the name “Dubee”

*Lawrence Kennedy Nelson

Gaylord Franklin, performs under the name “Geezy”

Clifford Bullock

*Narco McFarland, Sr.

Latroy Cunningham

*Eric Robinson

Dante Barbarin

*Eileen Knight

Beshiba Cook

Bruce Thurmon, performs under the name “Little Bruce”

Damian Peterson

Mikel Brown

**Nicholas Ramirez

*Ung Duong

*Phat Nguyen

*Marcus Davis

**Tiffany Brown

Andre Cawthorne

*Michael Smiley

*Anthony Young

*Anthony Payton

*Arrested and detained in custody except where noted released.

**Arrested and released.

A preliminary hearing has been set for May 4, 2012.

This case is the product of an extensive investigation by the DEA Sacramento District Office, the Vallejo Police Department, the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department, and the Sacramento FBI Safe Streets Task Force. Assistant United States Attorney Jason Hitt is prosecuting the case.

This case was part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF). The OCDETF program was established in 1982 to conduct comprehensive, multi-level attacks on major drug trafficking and money laundering organizations. The principal mission of the OCDETF 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.

When prosecuted in federal court, drug traffickers typically receive much harsher sentences. In addition to the longer sentences imposed, unlike state court prisoners who are released early on parole, there is no early release on parole in the federal system.

The charges are only allegations. Each of the defendants listed is presumed innocent, unless and until proven guilty.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

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Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Forty-Seven Individuals Indicted for Alleged Drug Trafficking in the Municipality of Corozal, Puerto Rico

September 22, 2011

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on September 22, 2011 released the following:

“SAN JUAN, PR— On September 21, 2011, a federal grand jury indicted 47 individuals as a result of an investigation led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD)-Bayamón Strike Force, announced today United States Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez. The defendants are charged in a six-count indictment with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin, “crack” (cocaine base,) cocaine, marijuana, Oxycodone (commonly known as “Percocet”), and Alprazolam (commonly known as “Xanax”). Count six charges 36 defendants with using and carrying firearms during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime.

According to the indictment, Luis Agosto-López, aka “Tutin,” became the main leader of the drug trafficking organization upon the death of Gamalier Rosado-Serrano, aka “Gamma,” on or about May 9, 2004. The object of the conspiracy was to distribute controlled substances at the Enrique Landron Public Housing Project, located in the Municipality of Corozal, Puerto Rico, for significant financial gain.

It was further part of the manner and means of the conspiracy that some of the defendants and their co-conspirators would provide payments to an undisclosed source in exchange for sensitive law enforcement information, as to dates and times of prospective interventions by the Police of Puerto Rico at the Enrique Landron Public Housing Project and/or police protection and escort to members of the conspiracy during the transportation of narcotics from different housing projects located within the Municipalities of San Juan and Bayamón to the Enrique Landron Public Housing Project.

The defendants and their co-conspirators would purchase wholesale quantities of heroin, cocaine, marijuana, Xanax, and Percocet in order to distribute the same in street quantity amounts at their drug distribution points. The 47 co-conspirators had many roles in order to further the goals of the conspiracy, including: seven leaders/drug point owners, one supplier, three enforcers, five runners, 24 sellers, one drug processor, three look-outs, and three facilitators.

The “drug owners” would often receive proceeds from the sale of these controlled substances. The controlled substances were sold in distinctive baggies, vials, or packaging, using stickers or brands in order to identify and maintain control of the drugs disseminated at the drug distribution points. They would use their homes to process kilogram quantities of narcotics for street level sales. The members of the drug trafficking organization would use force, violence and intimidation in order to gain and maintain control of their drug points and in order to intimidate rival drug trafficking organizations and/or expand their drug trafficking activities.

“Violent drug organizations hold our communities hostage, and promulgate fear, intimidation, and violence, threatening the well being of law abiding citizens,” said Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. “This investigation has taken dangerous criminals off the streets of Puerto Rico and send a clear message to other violent gangs that we will break their grip on our communities and bring them to justice.”

“This gang was a very violent gang which maintained control of its drug trafficking activities by way of force, violence, and intimidation, but after today’s law enforcement action, this gang will no longer cause harm to the people of Puerto Rico and the residents of the town of Corozal,” said Carlos Cases-Gallardo, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the FBI-San Juan Field Office.

This case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorneys Alberto López-Rocafort and Cesar Rivera-Giraud.

If convicted, the defendants face a minimum of 10 years’ imprisonment and a maximum of life imprisonment, with fines of up to $8 million. Criminal indictments are only charges and not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty.”

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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Hector Natal Charged by a Federal Criminal Complaint with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Cocaine Base (“Crack Cocaine”)

June 15, 2011

United States Attorney’s Office District of Connecticut on June 14, 2011 released the following press release:

“NEW HAVEN MAN CHARGED WITH CRACK DISTRIBUTION

David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that HECTOR NATAL, also known as “Boom Boom,” 25, of New Haven, was arrested today on a federal criminal complaint charging him with one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 28 grams or more of cocaine base (“crack cocaine”).

According to the allegations set forth in the criminal complaint and statements made in court, between December 2010 and April 2011, NATAL conspired with others to distribute crack cocaine. Specifically, on March 29, 2011, NATAL sold approximately 36 grams of crack cocaine to an individual working with law enforcement in exchange for $1800.

Following his arrest this morning at 76 Haven Street in New Haven, NATAL appeared before United States Magistrate Judge Holly B. Fitzsimmons in Bridgeport and has been ordered detained.

If convicted of the charge, NATAL faces a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of five years and a maximum term of imprisonment of 40 years.

U.S. Attorney Fein stressed that a complaint is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

This matter is being investigated by the FBI’s Safe Streets Task Force, the Connecticut State Police, the New Haven Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Inspector General. This case is being prosecuted by Deputy United States Attorney Deirdre M. Daly and Assistant United States Attorney Stephen B. Reynolds, with assistance and support from the Connecticut State’s Attorney’s Office in New Haven.”

To find additional federal criminal news, please read The Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN List Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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