DEA Bust: World Renowned Music Labels Used By Drug Gangsters to Traffic Millions of Dollars in Cocaine --- And How Big-Time "Rats" Took Down the Players.
By Clarence Walker
DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) recently arrested James "Jimmy Henchman" Rosemond, owner of Czar Entertainment and a rap music and talent producer on multiple federal drug charges stemming from a high-profile investigation that reeled in other defendants.
Investigators say Rosemond used his connections with people associated with Interscope records to carry out the long-term drug trafficking scheme.
As owner of an entertainment company, Rosemond (right) is a big shot in the hip-hop and music industry. He is credited for representing the famous rapper "The Game" including ex-world's heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson, singers Sean Kingston, Akon, Brandy, Salt-N-Pepa, and Mario Winan, among others.
Rosemond, perhaps best known for the scorn once directed at him by rap legend Tupac Shakur. On Tupac's song "Against All Odds", the rapper blasted off vulgarity against Rosemond.
Tupac had accused Rosemond of having him shot outside a Manhattan studio in New York.
If convicted under federal kingpin statue of operating a continuing enterprise, Rosemond face up to life in prison without parole. Authorities arrested the talent manager owner this past summer in Manhattan.
Federal investigators alleged the prominent talent producer was the "prime leader" of a cocaine distribution ring.
Rosemond's arrest came a few days after convicted hitman Dexter Issac who is serving a life sentence for a murder plot had claimed in news reports that he'd been hired and paid by Rosemond to shoot rap legend Tupac Shakur in a incident that Shakur survived.
The non-fatal shooting of Shakur in 1994, according to police, led to the bi-coastal rap feud that evetually left Tupac and rapper Notorious B.I.G. dead.
Rosemond, never charged with the shooting of Tupac has vehemently denied he ever paid Issac or anyone to shoot the rap legend.
Referring to Dexter Issac's claim that Rosemond paid him to shoot Tupac, Jeffrey Licthman, Rosemond's attorney, responded to news media reporters, "It's a flat out lie."
"He's doing it because he's told anybody who will listen; he has kids and wants to work off his sentence."
He can't be trusted."
Lichtman, who once represented Gambino Crime boss John Gotti, issued a challenge to the government, on behalf of Rosemond, "It's been a long time coming, but the government wants a fight, so we"ll give them one."
Rosemond also deny the serious narcotic charges. "I am innocent of the trumped up charges brought by opportunistic prosecutors with a personal vendetta against me."
"Through our own investigations, we have compiled a lot of information that proves the prosecutors are overly zealous and aggressive, not to mention unconstitutional."
But prosecutors say they have the right man who orchestrated the shipment of tons of cocaine and that Rosemond may have played a role in hiring his associates to kill a man who previously attacked Rosemond's son.
Rosemond is not charged in the murder but the allegations are mentioned in the feds indictment which means a witness will most likely testify that Rosemond had connections with the homicide.
Inside A Multi-Million Dollars Drug Operation
Earlier this year, Rosemond was charged in a thirteen-count superseding indictment along with co-defendants Jason Williams, Mario Rosemond, Dennis Graham, Tony Martin, Henry "Black" Butler and Khalil Abdullah.
One pivotal co-defendant, Henry Butler (right), who later claimed that Rosemond had another co-defendant identified as Khalil Abdullah, to try and persuade him not to cooperate with the feds.
Butler once co-owned Mogul Media Group, a promotion firm and a nightclub in Studio City California. Photos on Butler's website shows him posing with singers Alicia Keys, Christina Aguilera, Brian Mcknight and comedian-actor Jamie Foxx.
According to DEA investigative reports filed in Brooklyn New York Federal Court it said that between January 2010 and June 2011, members of James Rosemond's organization used "road cases" made for musical equipment to ship kilos of cocaine from Los Angeles to New York.
During return trips, the same "music cases" were packed with hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash. Some transactions involved millions of dollars.
DEA Steven Miller further outlined the investigation: "They used overnight delivery services like Federal Express or Rockit Cargo LTD, a company specializing in transporting music gear. The "music cases" filled with cash was sent to (Mailboxes ETC.) locations, in Los Angeles where cocaine suppliers picked them up."
During close surveillance, investigators seized three Federal Express boxes containing a total of $452, 270.00, in cash, picked up at a Beverly Hills mail drop by another player identified as Maynard Coleman. Both Coleman and Henry Butler were arrested and charged with possession of five kilos of cocaine.
Allegedly, the drugs and cash-filled music cases were shipped under accounts belonging to Rosemond's Czar Entertainment and in the name of Rosemond's "road manager" identified as Tony Martin. Martin is a co-defendant and reportedly he is cooperating with the feds.
Since James Rosemond owned a music and talent management firm, the DEA speculated he was able to "disguise the shipments as legitimate freight needed by the artists he managed."
No evidence suggest that Rockit or Federal Express knew their employees were transporting drugs or illegal proceeds.
Interscope Records executives issued a statement saying they had no connections with James Rosemond and was puzzled as to how anyone associated with Rosemond's firm had access to Interscope facilities.
What piqued the investigators interest was the connection that Rosemond had with the rapper called "The Game."
Interscope is the record label for The Game's songs and Rosemond's PR firm represent the rapper as well.
None of Interscope employees has been charged in the connection with the ongoing drug probe.
While federal authorities, assisted by New York Police Department investigate Dexter Issac claim he was paid by James Rosemond to shoot Tupac Shakur in 1994, prosecutors are planning to use testimony from witnesses during Rosemond's upcoming trial, that he orchestrated a murder, two years ago.
The Smoking Gun website reported June 16, that two men tied to Rosemond have been charged with the September 2009 homicide of Lowell "Lodi Mack" Fletcher, a former employee and close associate of rap legend 50 Cent.
Investigators believe the Fletcher murder was an act of revenge, initiated by Rosemond after Fletcher attacked Rosemond's 14-year-old son. According to police reports, in March 2007, as Rosemond's son was enroute to his father's Czar Entertainment office located across the street from 50 Cent's management firm, he was struck in the head by Fletcher after Fletcher spotted the boy wearing a T-shirt with a "Czar Entertainment" logo on it.
At the time of the attack on Rosemond's son, 50 Cent was in a heated battle with his former protege, The Game, who apparently had jumped ship and was being managed by Rosemond's talent firm.
Fletcher pleaded guility to endangering the welfare of a child and was sentenced to nine months in prison. Another one of 50 Cent's G-Unit member, Tony Yayo,(real name, Marvin Bernard) also involved in the incident, copped a plea to harassing Rosemond's son.
Two weeks after being paroled in mid-September 2009, Lowell Fletcher was gunned down around 9:30 p.m. on a Bronx street in New York.
Currently, in a superseding indictment, federal prosecutors are charging Rodney Johnson and Brian Mcleod with Fletcher's murder. Johnson and McCleod have also been charged as participants in the drug ring allegedly headed by Rosemond. Prosecutors allege, "Rodney Johnson and Brian McCleod caused the death of Lowell Fletcher."
Interesting is the fact the indictment doesn't say who pulled the trigger or who was present when Fletcher was murdered. Nor does it say if Rosemond paid Johnson and McCleod to kill Fletcher.
James Rosemond, the alleged ringleader of the cocaine organization has not been charged with Mr. Fletcher's murder.
Big Time Rats and Fallen Drug Kingpins
Criminal informants, are notoriously known on the streets as "Rats" or Snitchers. Informants are powerful weapons for law enforcement to use against other criminals in the drug trade.
Snitching is a code of silence in the criminal world.
Yet when criminals are facing stiff prison terms the code of silence is ignored, people roll over and squeal like rats.
Even popular culture zeroed in on the snitching game. In 2004, a homemade DVD entitled "Stop Snitching" circulated through the streets of Baltimore and Washington D.C.
The tantalizing lyrics from the DVD warned informants to stop snitching to the law in exchange for less prison time. Following the DVD release a line of "Stop Snitching" T-shirts were distributed nationwide.
A former FBI agent once proudly said, "For many years, the Mafia had the Omerta Code of silence but once the federal system abolished parole---hundreds of wiseguys turned on one another---and ratted out the organization."
In rap music, investigators affirmed that a large percentage of money from the illegal drug trade support the rap business. With federal authorities aware of this brotherhood connection for years, the feds organized task force to zero in on the illegal narcotic trade stemming from hip-hop operations.
Therefore if snitching can take down the Mob then surely the same M.O. can take down players involved with drug trafficking in the rap circle.
James Rosemond once took pride as a leader of the hip-hop's "no snitch" movement. Now as the players in his circle began to turn on each other, apparently he has became the victim of "de ja vue".
Investigators allege his associates has ignored the silent code and began "snitching" on Rosemond with fercious intensity.
When Khalil Abdullah (right), 37, rushed into a Kinko's in Atlanta Georgia on December 29, 2010, he knew the DEA was "hot" on his trail. Abdullah and several close associates including rap music manager and the DEA number# 1 target---James Rosemond, was the subjects of a year-long federal probe into Rosemond's suspected trafficking of hundreds of kilos of cocaine from Los Angeles to New York.
Federal prosecutors and DEA had been painstakingly working their way up into Rosemond's chain-of-command when they finally zeroed in on Khalil Abdullah as a valuable asset to clinch a hold on Rosemond.
"He is Jimmy's man," one lawyer familiar with the DEA probe told news media reporters. Abdullah was also alarmed about another hard-hitting cocaine supplier identified as Henry "Black" Butler who'd been arrested during the investigation. Investigators say Butler was the Los Angeles supplier connected with Rosemond's operation.
Butler, a convicted felon is the brother-in-law of Lee Daniels who directed the Oscar-Nominated film called "Precious" starring comedian and talk show host Mo 'nique and actress-singer Mariah Carey.
Trapped by DEA in a drug conspiracy that could take Butler out of the game for decades, he rolled over, and began squealing like a rat in a cheese factory.
According to prosecutors and DEA, Abdullah's purpose for going to Kinko's was to hatch a scheme to execute a 'money rip' from his co-conspirators before the feds cuffed him. First, Abdullah sent an urgent fax to both the DEA's New York field office and he sent a duplicate fax to Brooklyn federal prosecutors.
As noted in a sealed document dated April 25, 2011, filed in U.S. District Court, a document obtained by The Smoking Gun website, Abdullah's letter, addressed, "To Whom it May Concern", it said, "there was a music equipment case in a New York city recording studio that contained $650,000."
The faxed letter went on to say, "the cash, was in vacuum-sealed bags and ready to be shipped for the purpose of purchasing narcotics in Los Angeles."
Abdullah's letter further stated if agents got to the studio before the case was picked up, "you can also get the name of the shipper and his legitmate company--which in turn will lead to the orignator and owner of the money."
Recipients of the faxes were also directed to contact federal prosecutor Todd Kaminsky and "let him know this is relative to a major case he is working on--and once he see the word music he will know what this is regarding."
The letter concluded: "Good luck and more to come."
"He ripped some of Rosemond's money off before the DEA arrested him," a source close to the investigation told "The Smoking Gun."
Leah Daniels Butler: A Popular Casting Associate For the Highly Acclaimed Movie "Precious" Arrested by DEA.
Leah Daniels Butler, now 45, who works in the movie business and credited for casting actors nominated for the Oscar award movie "Precious" is the wife of convicted narcotic felon, hip-hop producer and music promoter Henry "Black" Butler.
Henry Butler, as mentioned earlier in this story, has also been indicted on federal cocaine charges related to James Rosemond drug trafficking empire.
Like other rats, Mr. Butler rolled over for the feds against Rosemond and his associates to negotiate a lighter sentence.
Henry Butler's wife, Leah (right), a movie casting associate, is a shiny testament of a woman standing by her man.
Last September, shortly after her husband's arrest, the DEA and deputies from the Ventura County Sheriff Department conducted surveillance on Butler's home in Thousand Oaks California while federal prosecutor Todd Kaminsky hurriedly secured a warrant to search the Butler's residence.
A few hours passed until finally the offices spotted Leah Butler, carrying a bag, then hopped into a new Mercedes Benz and drive off. Radios crackled in the officer's vehicles. "She's got a bag in the car, stop the car," a supervisor advised the troops.
According to affidavit filed by DEA agent Steven Miller, "when deputies stopped the car, Mrs. Butler, noticeably nervous, consented to a search."
Inside the suspicious "bag" found in the vehicle Mrs. Butler was driving the officers found a treasure trove of evidence: