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Saturday, December 4, 2010

Who is Demetrius Flenory ?

MeechAndJBO.jpgWho is Demetrius Flenory? The Drug and Trafficking world knows him as Big Meech? Big Meech is the  leader of The Black Mafia Family (BMF). The BMF  was a drug trafficking organization originally based out of Detroit, Michigan. Started by the Flenory brothers, Demetrius and Terry, by the year 2000 they had established multi-kilogram cocaine distribution cells in cities throughout the United States. Through their Los Angeles-based drug source, they had direct links to Mexican-based drug cartels.[1] They established two main hubs for their operation; the Atlanta, Georgia hub was operated by older brother Demetrius, while the Los Angeles, California hub was operated by Terry.

Around 2000, they began to try to legitimize and enter the Hip-Hop music scene, starting a company called BMF Entertainment. Through BMF Entertainment they helped promote a number of artists, including Young Jeezy, as well as BMF Entertainment's sole artists, Bleu DaVinci. Before their entrance into the music business, they were known to associate with a number of high-profile hip-hop artists, including Jay-Z, Fabolous, and Bun B.
In 2005 the Drug Enforcement Administration indicted members of the Black Mafia Family; ultimately securing convictions of running a Continuing Criminal Enterprise against the Flenory brothers. Both would be sentenced to 30 years to life.[2] Subsequent indictments would eventually target over 150 members of the organization. Prosecutors would allege the organization made over $270 million over the course of the conspiracy.




Flenory brothers

Founded by Demetrius "Big Meech" Flenory and his younger brother Terry "Southwest T" Flenory, the brothers began their rise in crime by selling $50 bags of crack cocaine on the streets of Southwest Detroit and Ecorse, MI, during their high school years and by 2000 had established multi-kilogram cocaine distribution cells in Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, Missouri, California, Texas, North Carolina and Florida. A two-year federal investigation of the organization concluded that its membership was extensive and nationwide, with an estimated membership of over 500. Around 2001 there was a split between the brothers, with Terry Flenory moving to Los Angeles with his girlfriend to head his own organization and Demetrius staying in Atlanta; by 2003 the two would have a major falling out and hardly speak to one another. Also around this time they began to refer to their activities as being part of the "Black Mafia Family". Before this, they did not have any formal name to their organization.[2] In a conversation with his sister, caught by the DEA on a wiretap, Terry discussed how he was worried his brother's excessive partying would bring the wrong type of attention to their business.

By the time charges were filed, the government had 900 pages of typed transcripts of wiretapped conversations from Terry's phone in a 5 month period.[2]
In November 2007, the brothers plead guilty to running a continuing criminal enterprise.[3]
In September 2008, both brothers were sentenced to 30 years in prison for running a large scale nationwide cocaine trafficking ring across the United States from 2000 through 2005.
With credit for three years time served, "Big Meech", now 41, will be released on December 16, 2031, or around his 61st birthday; "Southwest T", now 39, will be released on December 14, 2031.







Big Meech is serving out his sentence at Atlanta USP in Atlanta, GA; his brother Southwest T is serving his sentence at Herlong FCI in Herlong, CA.[4][5]

Hip-hop presence

In 2004 World Is BMF was nominated for a Source Award. BMF appeared in numerous underground hip-hop DVD magazines, most notably several issues of S.M.A.C.K. DVD Magazine and The Come Up DVD. Their most highly visible appearance was in a full length DVD, produced by The Raw Report DVD-Magazine, which gave a detailed inside look at their movement. This DVD was featured in the cover article on BMF in the May 2006 issue of VIBE magazine. They received wide acclaim from radio and mixtapes DJs for the song "Streets on Lock",[6] headed by BMF affiliate Bleu Davinci featuring Fabolous and Young Jeezy. A music video[7] was later produced for the hit single, however never released to networks.
Creative Loafing senior editor Mara Shalhoup wrote an award-winning three-part series about the Black Mafia Family titled Hip-Hop's Shadowy Empire. This series was the first in-depth reporting on "BMF". Her book on the group BMF: The Rise and Fall of Big Meech and the Black Mafia Family was published in March, 2010.
Demetrius was interviewed from prison in Issue 35 of Don Diva Magazine after his sentencing.
There are many hip hop artists who have been associated with BMF as a group and Big Meech in particular. Some of those artists include: Young Jeezy, Bleu DaVinci, Slim Thug, Fabolous, and many other well-known artists.
In February 2009, Demetrius was interviewed from prison by The Source magazine via telephone.
In July 2010, rapper Rick Ross released the song "B.M.F. (Blowin' Money Fast)" in which he raps the world famous line, "I think I'm Big Meech...Larry Hoover!" Rick Ross' "B.M.F." received criticism, but it was heard that Big Meech released a statement from prison saying that he liked the song. A small controversy was caused when the rapper Young Jeezy released a song of the same name featuring Big Meech. Ross' B.M.F. also received critical acclaim and was released as a single on Ross' album "Teflon Don" which released on July 20, 2010.
In September 2010, the History Channel aired a segment on their Gangland series about the Black Mafia Family titled, "Death Before Dishonor." The segment includes interviews with Mara Shalhoup, author of a book on BMF.[8]

Lifestyle



As depicted in their numerous DVD and music video appearances, BMF members engaged in a lavish lifestyle perhaps not fitting of many up-and-coming hip-hop labels. "Big Meech" would sometimes buy every BMF member at a club his own bottle of Louis Roederer Cristal champagne or Perrier Jouet Rosé, which often meant purchasing Cristal by the caseload. The Black Mafia Family was known for throwing upwards of $20,000 in $1 bills in the air and at strippers when at the club. They frequented many upscale Buckhead area clubs outside Atlanta, including but not limited to: Club Chaos, Velvet Room, Justin's, and Compound (where "Meech" had a lavish birthday party for himself, with live displays of exotic animals, costing well over $100,000.)[9]
Receipts found in a house that was allegedly one of Meech's showed cash purchases of over $23,000, in a single trip, to Bang & Olufsen, a high-end audio retailer located inside Phipps Plaza. When going to the club, upper-level members would be seen in their own individual high-end luxury cars. In one commonly available video, it shows a Rolls-Royce Phantom, Bentley Continental GT, Lamborghini Murcielago, and Aston Martin Vanquish all parked together and all owned by BMF members.[2]
In addition, when out at the clubs Big Meech would throw after parties in the presidential suite of the Buckhead Westin for his crew, as well as in the presidential suites of other upscale Buckhead area hotels. Court documents reveal one informant relaying information about "Big Meech" paying off all his debts one day (totaling over $5.5 million in cash) at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Atlanta.[2]
Two homes searched and allegedly lived in by "Big Meech" were both ultra-modern homes in very upscale suburbs. His brother Terry lived in a multi-million dollar home off Mulholland Drive in Los Angeles.[2]
Although Terry lived with his girlfriend and their kids in a fixed home, Demetrius preferred to move from place to place. There were at least four Atlanta-area homes that he at one point lived in as well as a $30,000/month rental home in Miami. When he was arrested he claimed he lived "all over with various girlfriends".[2]

Investigation



The investigation into Demetrius Flenory and "BMF" began sometime in the early 1990s before there was any name to the organization which Demetrius and Terry headed. The lead-up to the October 2005 indictments began with a series of large drug seizures and subsequent informant information from BMF members. On April 11, 2004, BMF courier and high-level distributor Jabari Hayes was pulled over in Phelps County, MO along I-40 driving a 40-foot motor home; supposedly for swerving over the fog line. After a K-9 unit alerted to drugs in the vehicle, in the back bedroom of the motor home were two suitcases containing approximately 95 kilograms of cocaine and 572 grams of marijuana. It was one of the largest drug busts in Missouri history. Three weeks earlier Jabari was pulled over in St. Louis in a 1999 Lincoln Town Car; with $600,000 in cash in the trunk.[2]
In mid-September 2004 a wiretap on a low-level crack dealer in Atlanta, Rafael "Smurf" Allison led an HIDTA task force to a mid-level dealer named Decarlo Hoskins. Hoskins subsequently turned informant and said he grew up with 2 brothers, Omari McCree and Jeffrey Leahr, who were BMF members and able to supply multi-kilogram quantities of cocaine regularly. Omari McCree was a high-level distributor for the organization and was favored by Big Meech, wiretaps revealed. On November 5, 2004, Omari's brother, Jeffrey Leahr, would be pulled over due to the wiretaps on I-75 in Atlanta with his girlfriend in a Porsche Cayenne Turbo SUV. In the back seat was a duffle bag containing 10 kilograms of cocaine. They were released later the same day in an attempt to gather more information in regards to their supplier and the organization by use of the wiretaps. Omari and Jeffrey, being in a large debt now to BMF for the lost kilos, went on the run. When Omari was picked up June 8, 2005, he signed a confidential-source agreement and began to describe his role in BMF. He named "Big Meech" as the source of the cocaine but that he did not actually pick it up from Big Meech himself. According to Omari, Chad "J-Bo" Brown would supply him with the cocaine on behalf of Big Meech. These events and a number of others would form the backbone of the government's case against the two brothers.
Although Omari McCree gave investigators information, he never actually testified against anyone in open court. During trial, the government's star witness was William "Doc" Marshall.[9]
Testimony given during various trials says the organization operated as follows: Meech's side of the organization operated 5 stash houses in the Atlanta area, nicknamed "The Gate"; "The Horse Ranch"; "Space Mountain", or "Bugsy Siegel; and "The Elevator". Approximately every 10 days, vehicles would arrive packed with 100-150 kilograms packed in secret compartments. Workers at the various stash houses would be paid to unload the kilograms and place them inside the stash house. Customers who had previously put in orders for the kilograms would call in and say they have their vehicle ready (a transportation vehicle to put the narcotics in). Depending on the size of their order they would be directed to a particular stash house where they would pull in, go inside, hand over money in $5,000 bundles, and receive kilograms in a bag of some sort, open so they could verify they received the correct number of kilos. The kilograms usually went for $20,000 each.[9] The same trap vehicles would then be filled with cash (the proceeds from drug sales) to be sent back to the Mexican sources of supply[10]
Workers inside the stash houses would have certain duties; for example, two people may be in charge of counting bulk amounts of cash, usually in the millions. Other people would be packing the kilos for customers that were arriving as they were told. Another method the BMF organization received drugs was through large containers at the airport. They would pick these containers up and bring them back to the stash houses, these also would contain 100-150 kilograms at a time.[9]

Drug and cash seizures



In addition to the aforementioned drug and cash seizures, the following is a list of seizures allegedly tied to the Black Mafia Family as a whole, as described in the original indictment.[2]
  • On or about October 4, 1996 in the Eastern District of Michigan, agents from the U.S. Customs Service (now known as Immigration and Customs Enforcement, ICE), working undercover, received approximately $300,000 in cash intended for payment for cocaine from the organization.
  • On or about October 29, 1996, U.S. Customs agents in an undercover capacity seized $250,000 in cash also intended for cocaine payment.
  • On or about October 3, 1997, police in Spalding County, Georgia seized $143,221 in cash from Martez Jackson, an alleged BMF member.
  • On or about May 10, 1999 in Polk County, Texas, police seized approximately 18 kilograms of cocaine.
  • On or about September 14, 1999, police in Beaumont, Texas seized $425,190 in cash from Bruce Martin.
  • On or about December 2, 2000 in or near Flagstaff, Arizona, police seized approximately 17 kilograms of cocaine.
  • On or about February 5, 2001 in Kansas City, Missouri, police seized approximately 9 kilograms of cocaine.
  • On or about September 15, 2002 in Collin County, Texas, police seized approximately 23 kilograms of cocaine.
  • On or about February 26, 2003, police in Gray County, Texas seized approximately $723,790 in cash from Brian Ronell Garrett and Kim Vernell Williams.
  • On or about March 20, 2003, Cleveland Cato purchased a cashier's check with cash in the amount of $4,800.
  • On or about August 14, 2003 in Crawford County, Arkansas, police seized approximately 27 kilograms of cocaine.
  • On or about March 16, 2004, police in Fenton, Missouri seized $588,605 in cash from Jabari Hayes.
  • On or about April 5, 2004 in Florissant, Missouri, police seized approximately 9 kilograms of cocaine.
  • On or about April 11, 2004 in St. Louis, Missorui, police seized approximately 113.5 kilograms of cocaine.
  • On or about July 28, 2004, police in Atlanta, Georgia seized $199,690 from Martez Jackson.
  • On or about January, 2005, police in Encino, CA seized $576,000.
  • On or about January 11, 2005, police in Sherman Oaks, California seized $576,000 in cash from Tonesa Lynette Welch, Terry Flenory's girlfriend.
  • On or about January 27, 2005, police in Detroit, Michigan seized $648,550 in cash from Stanley Leon Lackey, Jr. and Derrick Keith Peguese, Jr.
  • On or about April 5, 2005, police in Romulus, Michigan seized $580,250 in cash from Stanley Lackey, Jr.
  • On or about June 16, 2005 in Woodland Hills, California, police seized approximately 250 kilograms of cocaine; police also seized $1,868,759 in cash from the residence during the raid.
During testimony, one DEA agent testified that just one seizure from the BMF organization was enough to put most mid-level wholesaler's out of business. The fact so many large seizures occurred and the organization was still thriving is a testament to their wealth and power.

Informants

Bringing "Big Meech", his brother "Southwest T", and other BMF members to trial and ultimately a conviction was based solely upon informant testimony from former BMF members. There were no drugs seized from any of the defendants in the case besides personal use amounts; the personal use amounts were not considered in the charges. Below is a list of some of those informants. This list is not complete, there are others who also provided testimony not listed here (such as those listed in the above "Investigation" section.) Informants in BMF-related cases in Los Angeles, St. Louis, and other jurisdictions are also listed here as they are considered part of the overall conspiracy.

William 'Doc' Marshall

The government's "star" witness during trials in Orlando, Detroit, Los Angeles, and Atlanta. Former Chief Financial Officer of BMF, Marshall was the person who acquired vehicles, houses, and other property for the entire organization. He also admitted to personally distributing more than 1700 kilos while a member of BMF. Despite this, because of his testimony against everyone else he received just over 8.5 years in prison, pleading guilty to money laundering charges only, no drug charges. [9][11]


Daniel Corral

Arrested as part of a related BMF case out of Los Angeles. Once a supplier to Demetrius Flenory of 400-500 kilogram cocaine loads. Also testified against other suppliers he had, now testifying against other defendants in Los Angeles, including testifying against his wife and former supplier, Yvonne Vasquez. Named other defendants as suppliers "Chi Chi" and "Wilbur", however their first names and last names are unknown.[11][12][13][14]

Ralph Simms

Testified in trials in Atlanta and Los Angeles. Testified he unloaded vehicles with cocaine in them that arrived in Atlanta; then subsequently would load them with cash once the drugs were sold for the cash to be delivered back to Los Angeles.[11][12][14]

 Harold Wilcox

Provided information against Terry "Southwest T" Flenory. Pleaded guilty to cocaine trafficking and money laundering charges, faces up to 13 months in federal prison.[11]

 

 

Benjamin Johnson

Friend of the Flenory brother's during their high school years. Claims he used to pick up kilograms of cocaine from a hole above the linen closet in the Flenory household. He has been charged with cocaine distribution and has not yet had an outcome in his case. One of the first informants to come forward. He ran the Detroit operations on behalf of Terry Flenory.[11]

Charles Parson

Also provided information against "Southwest T". Pleaded guilty to cocaine trafficking and money laundering charges, faces up to 87 months in federal prison.[11]

Eric Bivens

Eric Bivens

Provided information against "Southwest T". Pleaded guilty no outcome in case yet.[11]

 

 

Marc Whaley

Allegedly helped BMF members obtain high-end luxury automobiles in Orlando, FL. Sentenced to 2½ years for money laundering. Whaley claims his life was threatened after giving testimony to the federal government.[11]

Arnold Boyd

Cooperating against "Southwest T". Pleaded guilty to cocaine and money laundering charges and faces up to 17 years in federal prison.[11]

Damon Thomas

Grammy-nominated music producer and cooperating witness against "Southwest T".[11]

2005 Raids and Arrests

In October 2005, it was reported that some 30 members of BMF were arrested in a massive drug raid orchestrated by the DEA. During these raids, the DEA seized $3 million in cash and assets, 2.5 kilograms of cocaine, and numerous weapons.[15] Prior to the October 2005 raids, throughout the course of the investigation, the DEA had arrested 17 BMF members, seized 632 kilograms of cocaine, $5.3 million in cash, and $5.7 million in assets. They would claim BMF was responsible for moving over 2,500 kilograms of cocaine a month throughout the United States.
Demetrius "Big Meech" Flenory, as well as his brother Terry "Southwest T" Flenory, was charged with continuing criminal enterprise (similar to Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) except used in drug cases) conspiracy to distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine, possession with intent to distribute more than 500 grams of cocaine, conspiracy to launder monetary instruments, and two counts of possession with intent to distribute more than 5 kilograms of cocaine. Demetrius was captured in a large home in a suburb outside Dallas. Inside, police found a small amount of marijuana and a few MDMA, or ecstasy, pills. In a safe inside the house were several weapons; a Springfield .40 pistol, FN Herstal 5.7x28 pistol, and a Para Ordinance .45 pistol. Outside and in the garage were a 2005 Bentley Continental GT, a 2004 Ford F-150 truck, and a 2004 Dodge Magnum station wagon.
His brother, Terry "Southwest T" Flenory, would be captured in St. Louis with small amounts of marijuana and a few weapons being found throughout the house, which was also occupied by multiple people at the time of the arrest.

2006 Indictments

On June 15, 2006, the U.S. Department of Treasury reported that 16 additional individuals had been charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine and money laundering charges under a second, superseding indictment, bringing the number of people charged in the case to 49. Included in this list was Jacob Arabov, popularly known as Jacob the Jeweler, a well-known celebrity jeweler in the hip-hop community. Mr. Arabov and the others named in the indictment are being charged with conspiracy to launder more than $270 million in illegally obtained funds. A November 2006 article in Vanity Fair details Mr. Arabov's entanglements with the group and also reiterates public information that has surfaced regarding the case against BMF.[4] The Department of Justice also shed light on more of the group's alleged activities in the indictment papers, which included running drug money through various banks, and money wiring services in an attempt to disguise its origin. The group has also been accused of obtaining several winning Michigan state lottery tickets from a third party, which they paid cash for, and then cashing in the tickets in an attempt to make the money appear legitimate. This indictment also seeks the forfeiture of "more than 30 pieces of jewelry, 13 residences, 35 vehicles including Lincoln Limousine, BMW's, Range Rovers, Aston-Martin, and Bentleys, numerous bank accounts, over $1.2 million in seized currency, and a money judgment totaling $270 million." [5]

42007 Indictments

On July 25, 2007, David Nahmias, the U.S. Attorney for the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia unveiled an indictment of 16 more members of the Black Mafia Family. [6] "The government is one step closer to eradicating one of today's most violent and notorious drug trafficking organizations", said Special Agent in Charge Rodney G. Benson of the Drug Enforcement Administration Atlanta office. The indictment charged all defendants with participating in the nationwide cocaine distribution conspiracy, which carries a penalty of between 10 years and life in prison, and up to a $4 million fine. Black Mafia Family once had billboards towering over Atlanta boldly proclaiming that the world was theirs", Mr. Nahmias said. "This indictment is a rejection of that claim. First in Detroit and Orlando, and now here, the government is shutting down the BMF's once-flourishing drug empire

Atlanta BMF Indictments

On July 26, 2007 the government unsealed indictments charging 16 BMF members in Atlanta with conspiracy to distribute cocaine. Those arrested were: Dionne Beverly, 35, of Hurricane, West Virginia; Ramon Dobson, 27, of Lithonia; Lamar Fields, 39, of Atlanta, Georgia; Victor Hammonds, 42, of Conyers, Georgia; Jamal Mitchell, 38, of East Orange, New Jersey; Franklin Nash, 56, of Decatur, Georgia; and Darryl Taylor, 46, of Stockbridge, Georgia. Already in custody in other jurisdictions were co-defendants Fleming Daniels, 34, of Roswell, Georgia, and Derek Pitts, 33, of Newark, New Jersey.
All 16 defendants were charged with participating in the overall cocaine distribution conspiracy. The conspiracy charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life in prison and a $4,000,000 fine. Eventually, all defendants would plead guilty before trial except Fleming Daniels, who chose to take his case to a jury.

Fleming Daniels

Fleming "Ill" Daniels, a top member of the Black Mafia Family drug ring, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for drug trafficking on December 17, 2008. The federal judge also fined Daniels $10,000 for taking part in the violent group. Daniels was the 16th defendant indicted in Atlanta on charges stemming from their role in the organization. Daniels is the only defendant in the Atlanta indictments to go to trial, and 11 have already pleaded guilty. The government's case relied on testimony from William "Doc" Marshall and Ralph Simms to convict Daniels. Daniels had not been caught with even a single ounce of cocaine nor caught on any wiretaps discussing drug business. However, because of the testimony from Marshall that he had seen Daniels receive multi-kilograms of cocaine while he himself was picking up cocaine, the jury returned a guilty verdict.[16]
Daniels also awaits trial for the July 2004 murder of Rashannibal Drummond Drummond, 23, was fatally shot in the Velvet Room parking lot in Atlanta after he slapped a luxury car to alert the driver not to back into him.

Barima "Bleu DaVinci" McKnight

Rapper and sole artist of BMF Entertainment, Barima "Bleu DaVinci" McKnight, was sentenced October 30, 2008 to 5 years, 4 months in federal prison. It was said that McKnight was used because of the fact he had very small hands and could get that last kilogram or two of cocaine out of a stash spot where others could not. McKnight said at sentencing that when he first met Demetrius "Meech" Flenory that Meech did not show him "the other side of his world", meaning the cocaine business. He said Meech presented himself as being in the music business and it was not until much later that Meech let him in on the cocaine side of the business.[16]

2009 Arrest

The last remaining suspect, Vernon Marcus Coleman, was arrested on July 17, 2009 in Atlanta. He was indicted in 2007 for possession with intent to distribute cocaine. To date all 150 indicted members of BMF have been arrested. However, the total number of BMF members exceeds well over 150; the federal government believes the 150 they have indicted and arrested account for the command and control structure as well as other key figures in the organization (distributors, stash house operators, transporters, etc.).[1]

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