Gezo G. Edwards, 40, formerly of Silver Spring, has been sentenced to life in prison for conspiring to distribute large quantities of cocaine in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, authorities said in a press release.
announced U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen, Jr.; Valerie Parlave, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office; and Cathy L. Lanier, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).
Edwards and two others—William M. Bowman, 35, and Henry B. Williams, 33—were found guilty of the drug conspiracy charge in November 2012, following a five-week trial in the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia. The three defendants were among 14 people indicted in 2011, following one of the largest recent seizures of cocaine in the area, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Bowman, formerly of Bowie, was sentenced in April 2013 to a 45-year prison term. Williams, of Glenn Dale, was sentenced in February 2013 to a 51-month prison term.
Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly sentenced Edwards on Feb. 27, citing the seriousness of the offenses, as well as Edwards’s use of a firearm and his attempted tampering with a juror during the trial. She also ordered that Edwards pay a $3 million forfeiture money judgment and turn over more than $360,000 in cash and bank accounts that were seized as proceeds of the drug conspiracy.
Valerie Parlave, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Washington field office, said, “This case took out a group that brought more than $3 million worth of cocaine into the District of Columbia and Maryland and demonstrates the FBI’s continued dedication to large-scale investigations that target traffickers in the drug supply chain.”
The indictments in the case, returned in April 2011, followed a 15-month investigation by the FBI and MPD into people suspected of acting as wholesale distributors of cocaine in the metropolitan area. The investigation determined that from January 2009 through April 2011, the defendants and others maintained a drug trafficking organization that supplied distribution amounts of cocaine and crack cocaine to dealers in the District of Columbia and Maryland.
The investigation revealed that Edwards and Bowman obtained large quantities of cocaine from sources in the Los Angeles area, which they transported back to the Washington, D.C. area for redistribution to wholesale traffickers, including Williams.
In April 2011, investigators learned that members of the defendants’ organization had arranged for a large shipment of cocaine to the area and that they were storing it in a storage facility in Hyattsville. When officers searched the locker they found 29.5 kilograms of cocaine; nearly two kilograms of crack cocaine; several firearms, including an assault rifle; and packaging material, which included wrappings with cocaine residue that indicated that at least 60 additional kilograms of cocaine had passed through the storage facility and onto the streets of the Metropolitan Washington area. Authorities said the cocaine had an estimated wholesale value of $1 million and an estimated street value of more than $3 million.
All told, 11 people have pled guilty to charges in the investigation. Edwards, Bowman, and Williams were the only defendants to stand trial.
During the trial, evidence was developed that Edwards was engaging in unauthorized and improper communications with a juror in attempt to influence the juror’s deliberations. As a result, the judge imposed a sentencing enhancement on Edwards for obstruction of justice.