The two Detroit brothers who organized and led the Black Mafia Family's national cocaine distribution network as well as a celebrated hip-hop music label were sentenced to decades in prison last week.
"The government believes that it's sufficient," said Dawn Ison, the assistant U.S. attorney who led the prosecution team.
Terry Flenory, 38, and Demetrius Flenory, 40, pleaded guilty to charges of criminal enterprise and money laundering and will serve, respectively, 30- and 20-year terms in federal prison.
In Judge Avern Cohn's courtroom in U.S. District Court on Sept. 12, friends and family of the Flenory brothers filled the gallery during the afternoon sentencing hearing. Some called to the brothers, "Hey, baby," and others exchanged waves. The Flenorys wore orange clothing printed with the names of the county jails where they've been held since their indictments nearly three years ago: Terry, known as "Southwest T," in Sanilac County, Demetrius, nicknamed "Big Meech," in St. Clair County.
"I accept responsibility for my actions," Demetrius Flenory told the judge. "I would also like to apologize to my family that were damaged and hurt by this case."
His brother had a similar sentiment. "I feel bad that this was going on so long and for all the friends that me and my brother got in trouble," Demetrius Flenory said.
Extra court security guards were on hand as the 50 people attending were warned against outbursts and ordered to remain seated as the Flenorys left after their sentencing.
The brothers were accused of operating a multimillion-dollar national cocaine enterprise that started in the early 1990s in southwest Detroit and spread to other states including Missouri, Kentucky, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, California and Texas. Federal agents had been investigating for 15 years before charges were brought.
"I think you're a very lucky man it took the government that long," Cohn told one of the Flenorys.
Of the 65 people charged in connection with the enterprise, 52 have pleaded guilty, including Jacob Arabov. The New Yorker, known as "Jacob the Jeweler" and the original "King of Bling" for his diamond-crusted watches and jewelry favored by the hip-hop set, received a 30-month sentence. Federal prosecutors say he would accept cash for jewelry from the Flenorys and not file the proper tax forms in an effort to conceal the drug money.
News Hits is edited by Curt Guyette. Contact the column at 313-202-8004 or NewsHits@metrotimes.com.News Hits is edited by Curt Guyette. Contact him at 313-202-8004 or NewsHits@metrotimes.com