Judge Outraged After Big-Time Drug Dealers Flee Before Guilty Verdicts
Federal agents are searching for three fez-wearing drug dealers who disappeared Monday afternoon before a jury returned guilty verdicts in one of the biggest drug cases in Metro Detroit history, Robert Snell reports in the Detroit News.
Drug kingpin Carlos Powell of Washington Township, his brother, Eric Powell of Franklin, and friend Earnest Proge of Detroit, who were free on bond, failed to appear as ordered before the jury returned its verdict at approximately 1 p.m. The verdict followed a nearly two-week trial in federal court. A fourth defendant, former state Rep. Kenneth Daniels, showed up for the verdict and was convicted of a financial crime.
Carlos Powell cut his ankle tether, defense attorney Deday LaRene said.
The mens’ disappearance outraged U.S. District Judge Stephen Murphy, who ordered U.S. Marshals Service to find the three.
The size, scope and profits of Powell's drug ring places him among the most prolific drug dealers in Metro Detroit history. During a years-long investigation, agents seized 66 pounds of heroin, 12 kilograms of cocaine, 1,000 pounds of marijuana and more than $21 million in cash.
Attorney Patricia Maceroni, who represents Proge, said "I was very very surprised," by the vanishing act.
Maceroni said she and other attorneys in the case were having lunch at the London Chop House in downtown Detroit Monday around 12:15 p.m. when one of them got a call from the court saying a verdict had been reached.
She said she contacted her client and told him to appear for the verdict.
"He said, 'Ok, I'm on my way,'" she said.
He never showed.