DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – Authorities say they’ve captured the last of three men sought since they didn’t appear in a Detroit courtroom to hear the verdict in a major drug trial.
U.S. Marshals Service spokesman Robert C. Watson said in an email that Earnest Proge Jr. was arrested Wednesday in the St. Louis, Missouri, area. Watson said additional details will be released later Thursday.
Proge and brothers Carlos and Eric Powell had been free on bond when they were expected in court May 12 to hear the guilty verdict in one of the largest drug ring investigation in metro Detroit history. The jury convicted the trio of drug conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy charges.
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.
Carlos Powell was captured the night of June 4 in the St. Louis, Missouri, area and Eric Powell was arrested at the same time near Atlanta, Georgia. At the time of their capture, both men had a large amount of cash, over $750,000, and Carlos Powell had a gun, Watson said.
According to authorities, the drug 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.”
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.
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