The alleged leaders of the "Jamaican Black Mafia" drug ring lived a luxurious existence as they plied a Baltimore public housing project with heroin, according to testimony yesterday in federal court here.
Prosecutors describe the gang -- allegedly led by brothers Adewale and Victor Aladekoba -- as a sophisticated, violent heroin ring that employed a round-the-clock team of lookouts, gunmen and carriers for drugs and money. The gang has been linked to several killings, including those of two of its members.
Operating in the stairwells at Lexington Terrace and Lafayette Courts public housing projects in 1991 and 1992, the operation netted as much as $40,000 a day, authorities say.
Meanwhile, the Aladekobas lived in a luxury, two-bedroom apartment appointed in leather and marble in a Crystal City, Va., high-rise, testified Alan Woodrow Webb, who first socialized with Victor Aladekoba and later shared an apartment with him.
At the Virginia apartment, Webb said, he saw Victor Aladekoba sit at the dining room table with a supply of raw heroin that he crushed into powder with a vinegar bottle, mixed with cutting agents in a plastic dish and methodically packaged into jumbo gelatin capsules placed 1,000 at a time into plastic bags.
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"He would transport it to Baltimore City to the shop they had and sell it," Webb told the jury.
The witness described traveling with Adewale Aladekoba to Lafayette Courts late one afternoon in the summer of 1991 to assist in the delivery of an Audi automobile that Adewale Aladekoba had purchased for one of his alleged lieutenants, Orlando Duggins, a co-defendant.
With a "pillman" [drug seller] and gunman at work on the stairway, a lookout searched people entering the building, Webb said.
Webb said he helped the gang in other ways, converting
dollars in small bills into larger denominations, for example.
The brothers jointly owned several luxury cars, including a Jaguar, a Mercedes and a Porsche with a $15,000, 19-speaker stereo system, he said. He added that one evening while driving a Toyota Celica he had borrowed from Victor Aladekoba, he reached into the glove compartment and found that the car was registered in his name.
Although its members are not Jamaican, the gang named itself the Jamaican Black Mafia to capitalize on the violent reputation of Jamaican drug dealers, prosecutors say.
Webb is the first of several people linked to the gang who are expected
to testify in the trial of the Aladekobas and three other men allegedly involved in the operation. The brothers are charged with drug and weapons violations.
Testimony began Wednesday before Judge William M. Nickerson.
Prosecutors agreed to drop drug conspiracy and weapons charges against Webb In exchange for his testimony. He pleaded guilty to one count of possession of a firearm in connection with drug trafficking.
Prosecutors will recommend a three-year prison sentence for Webb, who could have been given life in prison if he had been convicted on the original charges, said his lawyer, C. Russell Twist.