LOS ANGELES – Law enforcement in several states today arrested six defendants charged in a federal grand jury indictment alleging they participated in a Southern California-based outfit that trafficked kilogram quantities of cocaine to Alaska via commercial air flights and the mail.
The defendants arrested today made their initial appearances in United States District Court in Los Angeles, Anchorage, Chicago and Seattle. One defendant is in state custody in California while another is expected to surrender to federal law enforcement in the coming week.
The indictment alleges that, from July 2014 to August 2016, the defendants conspired to traffic kilogram quantities of cocaine – along with other drugs such as heroin and methamphetamine – out of Southern California. The drugs and resulting cash proceeds were transported via commercial air travel and by mail to Alaska, the indictment alleges.
Specifically, the indictment alleges on October 23, 2015 in Los Angeles County, law enforcement seized from lead defendant and the organization’s alleged narcotics supplier Raul Cisneros Jr., 42, of Compton, nearly 24 kilograms of cocaine, more than 3.5 kilograms of methamphetamine, and $568,357 in cash, along with various firearms and ammunition.
The indictment also alleges that nearly two kilograms of cocaine and more than $12,000 in cash were seized in a motel parking lot in Anchorage on June 11, 2015. The cocaine had been mailed to Natasha Monique Bushner, 31, of Los Angeles, who delivered it to Margus Gipson, a.k.a. “Melly Mel,” 35, of Compton, the indictment alleges.
All of the defendants are charged with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, an offense that carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison and a statutory maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
Cisneros is charged with seven additional drug- and firearm-related felonies. Asia Dawnta Williams, 27, of Chicago; Damon Eugene Smith, a.k.a. “Big Head,” 37, of Compton; Margus Gipson and his brother, Dawaun Darnell Gipson, a.k.a. “Caddy,” 36, of Compton; are charged with possession with intent to distribute heroin, which carries a five-year mandatory minimum sentence and a 40-year statutory maximum sentence.
An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
The FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration investigated this matter. This investigation was conducted with the support of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF).
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Kathy Yu of the Violent and Organized Crime Section and Chelsea V. Norell of the International Narcotics, Money Laundering, and Racketeering Section.