Government backs sentence reduction for inmate who negotiated drug trafficking from Lewisburg prison

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WILLIAMSPORT – Three decades ago, the federal government wanted to lock up Rayful Edmond III and throw away the key.

That attitude no longer exists about the District of Columbia’s biggest drug dealer in the 1980s.

Edmond, who will be 57 on November 26, has already received a life sentence in the District of Columbia reduced to 20 years.

He is now calling for a 10-year reduction in the consecutive 30-year term the late US Intermediate District Senior Judge Malcolm Muir handed down in 1997.

Assistant US Attorney Geoffrey W. MacArthur agrees the sentence should be reduced from just three years to 27 years.

Judge Matthew W. Brann will decide whether and by how much the sentence should be reduced.

When sued in Washington, the government claimed that Edmond and his associates were “unscrupulous in their quest for cold money,” and their collection of valuables included: expensive cars, thousands of shirts. dollars, gold medallions worth $ 60,000, Rolex watches encrusted with diamonds. , swimming pools, hundreds of tennis shoes and wads of $ 100 bills.

He was labeled as the leader of a large-scale cocaine distribution network with hundreds of employees between 1985 and 1989.

In 1989, a jury found him guilty of engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise, traveling interstate using a racketeering plot, and illegally employing someone under the age of 18.

He was also convicted of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute more than 5 kilograms of cocaine and more than 50 grams of basic cocaine.

Three counts of first degree murder were separated from the drug charges and later dismissed. The parties agreed that they would not be prosecuted in the future.

Edmond was sent to the then maximum-security Lewisburg Federal Penitentiary, from which he operated a drug ring, whose shelves stretched from downtown Washington to the cocaine cartels in Medellin, Colombia.

He generated $ 200,000 in commissions, $ 1,000 for every kilogram of cocaine he traded.

He ordered that the money flow into his accounts of commissioners and other detainees, to friends and associates in Washington, in some cases to DC area lawyers and to conspirators who agreed to keep the money in a safe place.

In Lewisburg, he partnered with brothers Osvaldo and Dixon Dario who, at the time of their conviction, ran one of the largest cocaine cartels in the world with their mother Griselda.

He negotiated agreements with the brothers after their parole and deportation.

Edmond was prosecuted in federal court in Williamsport and in 1996 pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and conspiracy to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine.

The government urged Muir to sentence him to the bottom of the guidelines in effect at the time, and the judge obeyed.

Edmond in 1994 decided to change his life and began to cooperate with the government which made him a marked man.

“If other detainees had learned of Edmond’s cooperation he would have been killed,” a government court filing said.

His cooperation, which included testimony during the trials, resulted in the conviction of more than 100 drug traffickers and government witnesses who praised him on his conviction at Williamsport.

“I have never met a co-operative witness who comes close to Edmond,” Deputy US Attorney John P. Dominguez told Muir. “He’s in a class all by himself.

Nelson Aponte, a special investigator in Lewisburg, said Edmond provided useful information about the murders of inmates at the prison.

The government attributed to Edmond’s secret work in Lewisburg the convictions of a Cuban national and a Colombian who were related by marriage to a high-ranking member of the Cali cartel.

The Bureau of Prisons (BOP) completely revamped the inmate phone system after officials overheard Edmond explain how he and other inmates had exploited their phone privileges for criminal purposes, as they knew most calls didn’t were not watched.

Detainees would arrange drug trafficking by making a collect call and asking the person outside to transfer it to Colombia or elsewhere.

One of the changes implemented by the BOP in 1998 was the elimination of the ability of inmates to make long distance calls or conference calls.

Edmond’s main associates in the prison drug operation were also prosecuted, two of whom were given life sentences.

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