MIL-OSI Security: ‘MLK Crew’ Member Sentenced to 180 Months in Prison For Drug Trafficking and Firearm Violations

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Source: Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) State Crime Alerts (b)

            WASHINGTON – Corenzo Mobery, 41, of Washington, D.C., was sentenced to 180 months in prison for his participation in a drug trafficking network (the “MLK Crew”) based in Southeast Washington that sold cocaine, crack cocaine, fentanyl, PCP, and marijuana, announced U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves, FBI Special Agent in Charge David J. Scott of the Washington Field Office’s Criminal and Cyber Division, and Chief Pamela Smith of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).

            In addition to 15 years in prison, U.S. District Court Judge Dabney L. Friedrich ordered Mobery to serve three years of supervised release. Mobery, aka “Snowman,” pleaded guilty in the District of Columbia on October 16, 2023, to five counts that included conspiracy to distribute cocaine and crack cocaine, unlawful possession with intent to distribute cocaine; unlawful possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine; possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense; and unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Mobery was sentenced January 31, 2024.

            “Targeting the limited number of people driving violence in our community—either because they are directly using violence or engaging in criminal conduct that is a magnet violence—is a tried-and-true, evidence-based strategy for combatting violence,” said U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves. “The defendants operated a drug trafficking network that preyed upon the neighborhood where it operated.  Immediately after these defendants were arrested, this neighborhood saw a substantial reduction in instances of violent crime.  And, more than two years after their arrest, the neighborhood is still experiencing less violent crime than it was experiencing before their arrest.  Those driving violence in other neighborhoods in our community need to know that we are currently working with federal law enforcement partners and MPD to ensure they are brought to justice, just as these defendants were.”

            “The defendants in this case turned to gun violence to control the neighborhood where they trafficked illegal drugs,” said FBI SAC Scott, “but as this investigation demonstrates, dismantling street crews disrupts the cycle of violence. Through collaboration with our partners and help from public tips, the FBI will continue to target and fracture groups driving violent crime in the nation’s capital.”

            “Criminal networks thrive in the shadows of our communities, preying on the vulnerable and perpetuating violence. The successful prosecution of Corenzo Mobery and his associates underscores the vital importance of safeguarding our neighborhoods,” said Chief Smith. “By dismantling such networks, we create safer spaces where families can thrive, and children can grow without fear. Let this be a testament to the power of collaboration between law enforcement agencies and the community in creating a brighter, safer future for all.”

            The investigation into the MLK Crew began in response to numerous citizen complaints about rampant drug trafficking and accompanying incidents of violence in and around the 2900 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Ave., SE, Washington D.C. In addition to numerous citizen complaints, MPD targeted this area as one of the most notorious in the city in terms of recent shootings and shots fired, as well as for the area’s high numbers of arrests—particularly offenses involving drugs and firearms. As part of its investigation, MPD and FBI began conducting surveillance, obtaining search warrants, and making controlled buys of narcotics from suspected members of the conspiracy.

            The investigation revealed that MLK Crew members openly engaged in the sale of various drugs (including PCP, crack, fentanyl, and marijuana) and took over the area and, effectively, some of the neighborhood’s businesses. MLK Crew members would often go into the neighborhood businesses to complete sales and constantly loitered outside of these businesses to engage in sales. As part of its investigation, MPD and FBI obtained video of defendants openly conducting narcotics transactions in these businesses and even displaying firearms. Throughout the case, law enforcement seized at least 10 firearms (many of which were privately manufactured firearms or “ghost guns”) from MLK crew members and/or stash houses and a sizeable quantity of various narcotics.

            The MLK Crew’s drug trafficking contributed to numerous incidents of drug-related violence in and around the 2900 Block of MLK Ave., including multiple assaults, shootings, robberies, and murders—most notably, the murder of a six-year-old girl who was the daughter of one of the co-defendants in this case. In July 2021, a few months after opening the investigation, MPD and FBI arrested 11 initial defendants and seized 10 firearms, along with PCP, crack cocaine, powder cocaine, heroin, pills, and over $2,500 in cash. The additional six defendants were charged in September 2021 and were arrested shortly thereafter.  

            Mobery was indicted with 16 co-defendants (listed below), who have all pleaded guilty and received prison sentences ranging from 24 months to 180 months based on their criminal conduct and criminal histories. The violent crime landscape around the 2900 Block of MLK Avenue improved immediately after these 17 defendants were taken off our streets.  MPD has documented a 63% reduction in violent crime when comparing the six months after these defendants’ arrest to the six months prior.   Similarly, nearly a year later, there was a 60% reduction in violent crime. And, even at the two-year mark, there was a 23% decrease in overall violent crime, which included a 56% decrease in homicides specifically, when comparing this period to the two years prior.

DEFENDANT

STATUS

Ricky ‘Fatz’ Lyles,
Accokeek, MD

Sentenced to 114 months for conspiracy to distribute cocaine and possessing a firearm

Nico ‘Cheese’ Griffin, 
Washington, DC

Sentenced to 37 months for conspiracy to distribute cocaine

Dandre ‘Freckles’ Shorter,
Washington, DC

Sentenced to 37 months for conspiracy to distribute cocaine

Wesley ‘E-Bug’ Leake, 
Washington, DC

Sentenced to 40 months for conspiracy to distribute cocaine

Leon ‘L’ Lindsay, 
Washington, DC

Sentenced to 57 months for conspiracy to distribute cocaine

Dezmond ‘Juice’ Cunningham,
Washington, DC

Sentenced to 48 months for conspiracy to distribute cocaine

Divine ‘Newcomb’ Chappell, 
Washington, DC

Sentenced to 76 months for possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking and conspiracy to distribute cocaine

Shawn ‘Black’ Wooden, 
Washington, DC

Sentenced to 92 months for unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon.
 

Barry ‘B-Dot’ Tyson, 
Washington, DC

Sentenced to 73 months for possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking and conspiracy to distribute cocaine

Delonta ‘Meathead’ Chappell, 
Washington, DC 

Sentenced to 48 months for conspiracy to distribute cocaine

Anthony ‘Ant’ Graves, 
Washington, DC

Sentenced to 27 months for conspiracy to distribute cocaine

Deshawn ‘Dey Dey’ Loggins, 
Temple Hills, MD 

Sentenced to 42 months for conspiracy to distribute cocaine

Kevonte ‘Key Tay’ Randall, 
Washington, DC

Sentenced to 46 months for conspiracy to distribute cocaine and possessing a firearm

Corenzo ‘Snowman’ Mobery, 
Washington, DC 

Sentenced to 180 months for conspiracy to distribute cocaine and crack cocaine, possession with intent to distribute cocaine and crack cocaine, carrying a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking offense, and unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon

Rico ‘Ric’ Griffin, 
Washington, DC

Sentenced to 66 months for conspiracy to distribute cocaine

Shahborne ‘Shyboon’ Scales, 
Washington, DC 

Sentenced to 66 months for conspiracy to distribute cocaine

Luther ‘Tank’ McDuffie, 
Washington, DC

Sentenced to 24 months for conspiracy to distribute cocaine

            The case stems from a joint investigation by the MPD Violent Crime Suppression Division’s Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) and the FBI Washington Field Office’s Cross Border Safe Streets Task Force. This partnership targets the most egregious and violent street crews operating in the District of Columbia. Assistance was provided by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Park Police, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). This case is also part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.

          The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys David T. Henek and Matthew W. Kinskey of the Violence Reduction and Trafficking Offenses (VRTO) Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. Former Assistant U.S. Attorney Andy Wang provided valuable assistance.

MIL Security OSI