D.C Authorities Nab 70 in Phony Rap Label Sting

ATF, local police pose as music industry execs

December 21, 2011 12:40 PM ET

Metropolitan Police Department Chief Cathy L.Lanier and members from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives announced arrests of 70 suspects for possession and distribution of firearms and narcotics valued at over $7.1 million.
Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Members of the Washington, D.C. police force and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms have arrested 70 suspects and confiscated more than $7 million in drugs in a year-long sting in which they posed as rap-label executives.

The officers opened a D.C. recording studio called Manic Enterprises and created a fictitious rapper named Richie Valdez. Using that cover, they put out word that they were looking for drug deals and weapons to sell. The operation ultimately netted 161 firearms and drugs including 80 pounds of methamphetamine and 21 pounds of cocaine, according to Washington D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier. At one point, undercover officials traveled to Atlanta with purported members of the Mexican drug cartel La Familia. 

"This was an extremely dangerous operation," said Lanier. "These suspects had bragged about other violent crimes they had committed and had no qualms about killing police officers, guards and other innocent people All the law enforcement members involved in this operation are to be commended for their bravery."

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