Three accused drug dealers tied to one of the largest illegal drug distribution networks in metro Detroit history are accused of jumping bail moments before a federal jury returned guilty verdicts against them.
U.S. marshals agents have launched a manhunt for Drug kingpin Carlos Powell of Washington Township, his brother, Eric Powell of Franklin, and friend Earnest Proge of Detroit, The Detroit News reports. All three failed to appear when the jury returned its verdict about 1 p.m. Monday.
The jury’s verdict and the suspects’ disappearance came after a two-week trial of evidence collected as a result of a years’ long investigation in which 66 pounds of heroin, 12 kilograms of cocaine, 1,000 pounds of marijuana and more than $21 million in cash were seized from Carlos Powell’s Macomb County home.
That cache was enough to put the kingpin in a class among the most prolific drug dealers in metro Detroit history, the newspaper said.
When agents raided the home, they found about $3 million in cash stashed in plain sight – for example, at the tops of drawers, under the television and in the kitchen pantry. “It was almost as if he was running out of places to put the cash,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Louis Gabel said during opening statements.
Also on trial was former state Rep. Kenneth Daniels, who allegedly helped Carlos Powell spend the millions in drug ring profits. Daniels was convicted earlier Monday of a financial crime related to the case.
When the Powell brothers and Proge failed to show up to hear the verdict, an incredulous U.S. District Judge Stephen Murphy said he wanted “the government to get three bench warrants immediately, and I want the marshals to go get these guys.No bond. No exceptions.”
“These guys are into the wind,” he said. “I think it’s outrageous.”
The judge said he had been silent when the Powell brothers and Proge wore fez hats, each with a tassel that hung to their shoulders, throughout their trial.They claimed the fez is “a religious headdress that must be worn for distinction” by members of the Moorish Science Temple of America.
“They wore fezzes without comment from me,” Murphy said after the jury was dismissed. “I thought it was highly offensive and disrespectful.”