DETROIT (WWJ) – The leaders of a large-scale drug ring fled Monday, according to federal authorities, before they were found guilty of drug charges in Detroit federal court.
It was one of the largest heroin and cocaine rings in metro Detroit history, prosecutors said, but before a jury handed down guilty verdicts, three convicted in the case — 39-year-old Carlos Powell of Washington Township; 36-year-old Eric Powell of Franklin Farms; and 38-year-old Earnest Proge of Detroit — all took off.
Deputy U.S. Marshall Rob Watson said the three were able to get away because they were out on bond.
He said Carlos Powell, at one point, was at the courthouse — but he disappeared before the verdict was returned. Eric Powell and Proge had arranged with their lawyers not to be in court.
“We have every available resource directed to this right now to aid in the apprehension of these three,” Watson said.
Watson said all three should be considered armed and dangerous and anyone who has information on their whereabouts should call the U.S. Marshals Service at 313-234-5656.
A fourth defendant, 54-year-old Kenneth Daniels — a former State Representative for Detroit Fifth’s District — was convicted of structuring financial transactions for the drug ring leader, Carlos Powell. Daniels did appear for the jury’s verdict.
According to authorities, the ring operated from 2006 to 2010.
“The members of the organization would arrange for large amounts of money derived from the sale of drugs to be transported to Phoenix, Arizona, Mexico and elsewhere for the purpose of purchasing more controlled substances,” the the U.S. Attorney’s office said in a release.”As part of the conspiracy, the members of the organization would use semi-trucks and vehicles equipped with traps and hidden compartments to transport marijuana, cocaine and heroin, as well as cash generated from the sale of these drugs.”
Law enforcement seized more than $21 million in cash, $800,000 worth of jewelry, and eight pieces of property in Michigan. A Rolls Royce, Bentley, Ferrari and two boats were impounded.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Michigan State Police, IRS, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Office of Homeland Security Investigations, and multiple southeast Michigan police and sheriff’s department assisted in the investigation.