NEW YORK, June 21 (Reuters) - A prominent record executive
known as "Jimmy Henchman" was arrested Tuesday on charges that
he spearheaded a drug-trafficking ring responsible for
shuttling millions of dollars and hundreds of kilograms of
cocaine between Los Angeles and New York.
The arrest comes less than a week after "Henchman," whose
given name is James Rosemond, was implicated in a 1994 robbery
of the rapper Tupac Shakur by a man, Dexter Isaac, who claimed
Rosemond paid him $2,500 for the attack. Isaac, who is serving
a life sentence for murder and robbery, linked Rosemond to the
shooting in a statement released to a hip-hop website. Rosemond
has denied the allegations through his lawyer.
Rosemond, 46, the CEO and co-founder of Czar Entertainment,
is scheduled to make his initial appearance in Brooklyn federal
court, following his arrest Tuesday morning by U.S. Marshals
and agents from the Drug Enforcement Agency.
He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted
on the charges, according to federal prosecutors.
A spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Brooklyn said
prosecutors will seek to have Rosemond held without bail.
Rosemond's attorney, Jeffrey Lichtman, said he expects to
address the bail issue at a later hearing.
Federal agents have been investigating Rosemond since 2009
in connection with what they allege is a large-scale,
bi-coastal narcotics trafficking organization that relied on
numerous cohorts and conspirators in both Los Angeles and New
York "to ensure a near-continuous flow of cocaine and cash,"
according to the complaint.
Prosecutors allege that Rosemond came up with a number of
schemes to smuggle the drugs and money since 2008. At first,
the drugs were shipped in vacuum-sealed packages filled with
mustard, to evade drug-detecting dogs.
When law enforcement officials began to catch on, Rosemond
started sending drugs via freight ostensibly intended for the
performance artists he managed, according to the complaint.
When one of those packages was seized by authorities, Rosemond
shifted to smuggling drugs in hidden compartments of cars
shipped from the west to east coasts, prosecutors allege.
The complaint is based on information gleaned from
Rosemond's financial records, recorded phone calls, emails,
text messages and extensive testimony from two cooperating
witnesses who confessed to participating in the conspiracy
following arrests on related charges, according to prosecutors.
The complaint also says that searches have uncovered firearms
belonging to Rosemond's organization.
"The indictment is the result of witnesses who have been
threatened and bribed and have otherwise spent lifetimes
lying," Rosemond's attorney, Lichtman, said Tuesday. "The
government wants a trial; they're going to get a trial."
A call to Czar Entertainment was not answered.
The case is U.S. v. James Rosemond, in the U.S. District
Court for the Eastern District of New York. The case number was
not immediately available.
For Rosemond: Jeffrey Lichtman of The Law Offices of
(Reporting by Jessica Dye)