Over $7.2 million in drugs and 161 weapons were confiscated after a year long investigation by the Washington D.C. Police and the Bureau the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, which operated as fictional rap label.
According to Washington D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier, D.C. police and ATF agents acted as undercover officers and “music industry insiders” during the year-long sting.
The police created the “Manic Enterprisess” studio in Northeast Washington, for fictional rap artist Richie Valdez in November of 2010.
Agents then told the underground world and black market that they were seeking to purchase weapons and drugs.
Over the course of the year, agents confiscated 161 firearms (including a rocket launcher), 29 assault weapons, 80 pounds of methamphetamine, 21 pounds of cocaine, 1.25 gallons of PCP, 24 pounds of marijuana, heroin and Ecstasy.
“If these drugs and guns had made it to our streets, the impact would have been devastating to community,” Police Chief Lanier told the Associated Press in a press release on Monday.
“This was an extremely dangerous operation. These suspects had bragged about other violent crimes they had committed and had no qualms about killing police officers, guards and other innocent people,” Chief Lanier continued. “All the law enforcement members involved in this operation are to be commended for their bravery.”
In addition to the seizures of drugs and weapons, police said many of the 70 suspects detained bragged about other crimes and reportedly stated they would kill police officers or other innocent people if necessary.
Undercover officers arrested one group of assailants in a preemptive attempt to stymie a robbery of the studio.
The depth of the investigation went one step further, when officers ventured to Atlanta with suspects claiming to be associated with the Mexican Drug Cartel “La Familia”.
The Mexican cartel members unknowingly introduced agents to the source that was supplying guns from Georgia.
“These investigations have proven very effective in targeting criminals and keeping drugs and guns off our community’s streets,” said US Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. “The US Attorney’s Office is committed to working with our law enforcement partners and the citizens of the District of Columbia to bringing those who traffic in narcotics and firearms to justice.”
The recording studio was located at a rowhouse in Northeast Washington and was equipt with hidden audio and video equipment.
“It was just about two years ago to the day that we stood here with Chief Lanier and talked about our commitment to the safety of the citizens in the District of Columbia,” said ATF Assistant Special Agent in Charge Rich Marianos. “Today’s event shows that the men and women of ATF kept their word, and continue their work in making the citizens of DC safer.”