UPDATE (Dec. 11, 2019)– Derek Atwater was sentenced to 54 years in prison, with 30 years of supervised release. He must also pay a $2,000 fine.
UPDATE (Dec. 11, 2019)– James Beasley was sentenced to 355 months in prison, with eight years of supervised release. He must also pay a $2,000 fine.
UPDATE (Nov. 5, 2019)– David Carroll was sentenced to eight years in prison, with five years of supervised release. He must also pay a $500 fine.
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – A federal jury in U.S. District Court in Evansville has found reputed Indianapolis drug boss Richard Grundy III guilty of charges of conspiracy, money laundering, possession and distribution of methamphetamine and continuing criminal enterprise.
Jurors received the case midway through their 14th day in Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson’s courtroom.
The verdicts were reached after nine-and-a-half hours of deliberations.
Grundy was charged with spearheading an operation that allegedly brought methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin and marijuana worth $3.5 million from Phoenix, Arizona, to Indianapolis between August, 2016, and November, 2017.
Dubbed “Operation Electric Avenue” by the FBI, the investigation resulted in indictments against two dozen people, alleging combinations of 20 criminal charges, including conspiracy, money laundering and possession with intent to sell.
Tried alongside Grundy were Undrae Moseby, James Beasley, Ezell Neville and Derek Atwater who were the last handful of defendants to still face charges. They also were found guilty of all charges, most of them related to the possession and distribution of drugs.
The majority of the other defendants either resolved their cases or pleaded guilty, some of them returning to court over the past three weeks to testify against Grundy and the other men.
“I think David Carroll was a drug dealer,” said Grundy’s attorney Kenneth Riggins following his closing arguments Thursday afternoon. “Emilio Mitchell II is a drug dealer. Joseph Webster was a drug dealer, and all I did was highlight that. Those are the people who admit what they did wrong and we’ll see what the jury thinks about all that.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Brad Blackington, in his final summation to jurors, maintained that while defense attorneys found the witnesses unreliable, their clients trusted their one-time partners enough to invite them into the original drug dealing conspiracy.
Witnesses from both Phoenix and Indianapolis testified that Grundy helped organize the ring’s finances and dispatched couriers to Arizona to trade the money for drugs and then oversaw the narcotics distribution through a series of local street dealers.
Grundy and Moseby both maintained that their frequent trips to Phoenix, often traveling under assumed names, were intended to further the rap music career of another conspirator or Grundy’s recording company.
“He’s had the record company for a while now and I was able to see it on you tube,” said Riggins. “The MOB Family is the name. MOB Family Entertainment. He’s been doing it for quite a while You see the videos. They’re professional.”
Jurors were shown two Grundy-affiliated videos, one of them depicting the fate that befalls witnesses who cooperate with law enforcement.
“He went out there to promote his business at each of the locations,” said Riggins, “and I said that all those states, Texas, Georgia, Arizona and Nevada, those are locations as well as Illinois, but he went to promote the company and that’s all I know.”
In his closing arguments, Blackington knitted together a web of evidence including surveillance videos, eyewitness accounts, travel, cell phone and text records, wiretap transcripts and testimony from an informant who bought methamphetamine from one of the defendants before asking jurors to use their common sense in bringing back a series of guilty verdicts.
Attorneys for the other defendants claimed their clients were either drug users or independent dealers who were not necessarily part of a wider conspiracy.
The trial was moved to Evansville for security reasons after a confidential list of names of jurors chosen in Indianapolis last month was found in Grundy’s cell at the Marion County Jail resulting in a mistrial.
CBS4 has also learned that Evansville police were advised of potential Grundy associates who had the potential to travel to southern Indiana to attend the trial.
The names of attendees were recorded by U.S. Marshals at the second of two security checkpoints outside the courtroom.
Members of Grundy’s family were present Wednesday when the defendant took the stand, claiming that he often hid his identity during the time of the investigation because, he said, he feared, “harassment by the police.”
Grundy also explained his tattoo of a dead rat expressed his disdain for informants who cooperate with investigators.
“I think he surprised everybody being on the witness stand and he did a stellar job for himself,” said Riggins.