Saturday, August 22, 2020

Houston rapper charged in narcotics and prescription opioid conspiracy

 HOUSTON – Authorities have taken nine people into custody on charges involving the distribution of meth, cocaine and/or oxycodone and hydrocodone, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick and Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian C. Rabbitt of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.

Jermaine West, 42, aka Breadman is charged with Jonathan Rawlins, 44, and Bobby Pharms, 34, all from Houston, in the meth and cocaine conspiracy. The indictment also alleges West was involved in the illegal distribution of prescription opioids along with Tersha French, 46, Ronald Lucas, 40, and Antonia Vega, 32, all from Houston; Cynthia Ngwaba, 46, Richmond; Leon Covin, 47, Katy; and Toni Maria Nalintya, 48, Pearland.

The indictment was unsealed in its entirety today as authorities took Rawlins into custody. He is expected to make his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sam Sheldon at 10 a.m. tomorrow. The others made their appearances earlier this week, some of whom were ordered into custody pending detention hearings scheduled for Monday, Aug. 24. 

A federal grand jury returned the indictment under seal Aug. 13. According to the charges, West allegedly engaged in conspiracy during 2018-2019 to distribute meth and cocaine near schools and other locations in the Houston area with Rawlins and Pharms. West allegedly conducted some of the illegal activity on multiple occasions within 1000 feet of Worthing High School in the 3rd Ward of Houston. 

The indictment alleges the conspiracy also involved the distribution of prescription opioids. West allegedly obtained the drugs from French, Lucas, Vega, Ngwaba, Covin and Nalintya via the Ennis Street Pharmacy and Barker Cypress Pharmacy in Houston.

If convicted on the illegal narcotics charges, West, Rawlins and Pharms face up to life in prison and possible fines up to $10 million. For each count of the prescription drug charges, West also faces up to 20 years in prison as well as additional fines up to $1 million along with the six others.

The FBI conducted the investigation through the Houston Anti-Gang Center with the assistance of the Houston Police Department, Texas Department of Public Safety, Drug Enforcement Administration, Texas Department of Criminal Justice - Office of Inspector General, Harris County Sheriff’s Office and Texas Office of the Attorney General – Medicaid Fraud Control Group. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Corley and DOJ Trial Attorney Devon Helfmeyer are prosecuting the case.

An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.

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