Sentence reduced for inmate who brokered drug deals from inside Lewisburg penitentiary

Rayful Edmond generated $200,000 in commissions dealing drugs as an inmate at the Lewisburg Federal Penitentiary

WILLIAMSPORT – The sentence of the biggest drug dealer in the District of Columbia in the late 1980s has been reduced but not to the extent he wanted.

U.S. Middle District Judge Matthew W. Brann on Friday reduced the 30-year sentence of Rayful Edmond III by three years to the bottom of advisory guidelines.

Without the government urging a sentence below the guidelines, which it didn’t, the judge explained by law he could not reduce it further.

The original sentence was imposed by the late Senior Judge Malcolm Muir in 1997 and ran consecutive to a life sentence imposed in the District of Columbia.

Edmond, 58, got the life sentence lowered to 20 years and sought a 10-year reduction in the one Muir imposed.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Geoffrey W. MacArthur did not oppose a reduction but asked it be three years to 27.

Edmond was labeled as the leader of a large-scale cocaine distribution network with hundreds of employees between 1985 and 1989.

A jury in 1989 found him guilty of engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise, interstate travel in aid of racketeering conspiracy and unlawfully employing a person under 18 years of age.

He also was convicted of conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute more than 5 kilograms of cocaine and more than 50 grams of cocaine base.

Three first-degree murder counts were severed from the drug charges and later dismissed. The parties agreed they would not be pursued in the future.

Edmond was sent to the then maximum-security Lewisburg Federal Penitentiary from which he operated a drug ring, the spokes of which extended from inner city Washington to cocaine cartels in Medellin, Colombia.

He generated $200,000 in commissions – $1,000 for each kilogram of cocaine he brokered.

He directed the money be paid into his and other inmates’ commissary accounts, to friends and associates in Washington, in some cases to attorneys in the D.C. area and to conspirators who agreed to hold the money for safe keeping.

While at Lewisburg he became associated with brothers Osvaldo and Dixon Dario who at the time of their conviction ran one of the largest cocaine cartels in the world along with their mother Griselda.

He brokered deals with the brothers after they were paroled and deported.

Edmond was prosecuted in federal court in Williamsport and in 1996 he pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and conspiracy to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine.

He became a marked man when in 1994 began cooperating with the government.

“Had other inmates learned of Edmond’s cooperation, he would have been killed,” a government court filing stated.

The government credited Edmond’s work inside Lewisburg with the convictions of a Cuban national and a Colombian who was related by marriage to a high-ranking Cali cartel member.

The Bureau of Prisons (BOP) completely revamped the inmate telephone system after officials heard Edmond explain how he and other inmates exploited their phone privileges for criminal purposes because they knew most calls were not monitored.

Eliminating inmates’ ability to make long distance or conference calls were among the changes the BOP implemented in 1998.

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