DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – Authorities have arrested two of three men who last month failed to appear in a Detroit courtroom to hear the verdict in a major drug trial, a federal official said Thursday, crediting tips from the public in helping to track them down.
Carlos Powell was captured Wednesday night near St. Louis, Missouri and his brother Eric Powell was found in near Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. Marshals spokesman Robert C. Watson said. Both men had a large amount of cash, over $750,000, and Carlos Powell had a gun, Watson said.
Arrest warrants were executed simultaneously and both men were taken into custody without incident.
“We received a great amount of tips from viewers of the media that might have recognized these guys,” said Watson, who also credited the police work of investigators involved. “Their tips really helped us develop a strategy to apprehend them.”
Earnest Proge Jr. remains on the run.
The trio had been missing since May 12 when they didn’t return to court to hear the guilty verdict in one of the largest drug ring investigation in metro Detroit history. All are facing life sentences. Watson said the three were able to get away because they were out on bond.
Carlos Powell, at one point, was at the courthouse — but he disappeared before the verdict was returned, Watson said. Eric Powell and Proge had arranged with their lawyers not to be in court.
According to authorities, the ring operated from 2006 to 2010. 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 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 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.”
Watson said the Powells could face more charges in the states where they were caught, on top of potential life sentences in Detroit. Both are being held pending extradition to Michigan.
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.
The Detroit Fugitive Apprehension Team, which includes local, state and federal agencies, worked with Marshals’ fugitive task forces in Missouri and Georgia to apprehend the brothers.
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