Date: April 6, 2021 Contact: email@example.com The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont announced that on December 3, 2020, a federal grand jury returned a sixteen-count indictment charging (1) eight people with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances between September 2019 and November 2020 and (2) five people with conspiracy to launder monetary instruments. Dajuan Williams of Detroit, Michigan, is the lead defendant in the indictment. As of April 6, 2021, seven of the eight charged individuals have been arraigned in federal district court in Vermont. In the drug conspiracy, in addition to Dajuan Williams, the government charged Mohamed Luhizo, Jaylinn Lenoir, Stephen Alexander, Rendell Perkins, Jessica Elwell, Juwon Robinson, and another defendant who remains a fugitive. In the money laundering conspiracy, the government charged Williams, Elwell, Luhizo, Alexander, and another defendant who remains a fugitive. The indictment also contains two forfeiture notices – one associated with the drug charges and one associated with the money laundering charges. According to Court records, Williams—who is also known by a variety of aliases, including "D," "Detroit," "Big Bro," "Corn," and "Sosa" — supervised the distribution of controlled substances to various locations in Vermont, North Dakota, Montana, and elsewhere. Williams and others under Williams's supervision distributed a variety of controlled substances, including dangerous opiates, as well as highly addictive stimulants such as cocaine base and methamphetamine. Some of the drugs involved were fentanyl pills created to resemble prescription opiate medications. Williams also supervised the laundering of drug proceeds via cash deposits into bank accounts followed by the transfer of proceeds using a variety of methods, including mobile payment services such as Cash App, Zelle, and Venmo. In addition, Williams laundered drug proceeds through the purchase of numerous luxury vehicles. Williams was arrested on January 13, 2021 in Los Angeles, California at his residence. On the same day, law enforcement agents executed search warrants at another residence in Los Angeles and a storage locker associated with Williams's drug trafficking organization. During the searches, agents located an assault rifle and approximately two pounds of methamphetamine. Law enforcement also arrested the following defendants on January 13, 2021 – Luhizo and Robinson in Vermont; Lenoir in Los Angeles, California; Alexander in Gary, Indiana; Elwell in Owl's Head, Maine; and Perkins in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In addition to the drug conspiracy charges, defendants Mohamed Luhizo, Jaylinn Lenoir, Stephen Alexander, Rendell Perkins, and Juwon Robinson have been charged with distributing controlled substances, including fentanyl, cocaine base, and cocaine all in violation of the Controlled Substances Act. In addition to the money laundering conspiracy charge, the government has charged Williams with three counts of money laundering based on his purchase of a black 2016 Maserati Ghibli; a white 2017 Audi A7; and a grey 2017 BMW X6. Alexander has also been charged with one count of money laundering. The United States Attorney emphasizes that the charges in the indictment are merely an accusation, and that each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. Williams, Alexander, and the fugitive defendant all face a five-year mandatory minimum sentence based on the drug conspiracy charge. The actual sentence for each defendant, however, would be determined by the Court with guidance from the advisory Federal Sentencing Guidelines. This indictment follows a twelve-month investigation conducted by state and federal agencies which was led by Homeland Security Investigations. HSI was assisted in this investigation by agents from IRS-Criminal Investigations, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, troopers from the Vermont State Police Drug Task Force, Burlington Police Department, and South Burlington Police Department. The coordinated law enforcement effort focusing on Williams and his drug trafficking organization was conducted as part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) Program. OCDETF is a joint federal, state, and local cooperative approach to combat drug trafficking and is the nation's primary tool for disrupting and dismantling major drug trafficking organizations, targeting national and regional drug trafficking organizations, and coordinating the necessary law enforcement entities and resources to disrupt or dismantle the targeted criminal organization and seize their assets. Acting United States Attorney Jonathan Ophardt commended the concerted efforts of law enforcement throughout the year-long transcontinental investigation. "Astounding profits from illicit drug trafficking funneled through this expansive drug trafficking organization. While we work to reduce demand for illicit drugs through prevention and treatment efforts, federal authorities will continue to pursue those who profit from the peddling of poison in our communities." "Homeland Security Investigations is pleased that Dajuan Williams and his codefendants will face justice in Vermont," stated acting Special Agent in Charge William Walker of the Homeland Security Investigations Boston Office. "As referenced in this press release, a committed effort by HSI and our law enforcement partners has removed dangerous narcotics traffickers from communities not only in Vermont but across the country." The United States is represented in this matter by Assistant U.S. Attorneys John Boscia and Nikolas Kerest. Robert Katims represents Dajuan Williams. Ernest Allen represents Juwon Robinson. Richard Bothfeld represents Mohamed Luhizo. Jordana Levine represents Jaylinn Lenoir. David Sleigh represents Jessica Elwell. Robert Behrens represents Rendell Perkins. Kevin Henry represents Stephen Alexander.