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Rayful Edmond III was a notorious drug dealer in the 1980s in Washington, D.C., who made millions supplying the city with crack cocaine.
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Rayful Edmond III was a notorious '80s drug dealer from Washington, D.C. Pulled into the drug trade at just 9 years old, he dropped out of college to begin working for a local cocaine dealer. By the time he was 22 he had made millions shipping drugs in from Los Angeles, California, during which time the city's murder rate and cocaine-related hospital emergencies doubled. He was arrested in 1989 and sentenced to two life terms for a number of federal violations. Following his conviction,
Edmond struck a deal with law enforcement becoming a government informant.
Rayful Edmond III was born on November 26, 1964, in Washington, D.C. His parents, Rayful Edmond Jr. and Constance "Bootsie" Perry, were both government workers who moonlighted as drug dealers. Perry, who heavily doted on her seven children, began teaching Rayful and his siblings how to deal narcotics and prescription drugs while they were all very young. Rayful was pulled into the drug trade at the age of 9.
School proved to be a respite for Edmond, and the young man flourished in the classroom. A good student and talented basketball player who was popular with his classmates, Rayful was on the fast track to college. His life at home, however, drew him further and further away from a promising future. By the age of 18, he had already dropped out of college to make easy money cutting cocaine for a local dealer.
Around this time, Edmond met Cornell Jones, a D.C. drug kingpin. Through Jones and associate Tony Lewis, Edmond made key drug connections. Using his knowledge of his neighborhood, Edmond created what he called "The Strip," a series of back-alley escape routes for dealers to escape police. He tapped local kids to act as lookouts, and hired his family members to help him set up and run his drug ring. With the advent of crack, a smokable form of cocaine, Edmond found himself with an instant market of desperate addicts. He began looking for ways to supply his ever-expanding customer base. He found it in April of 1987.
While on a trip to Las Vegas, Edmond met with Melvin Butler, a Los Angeles dealer who could supply him with Colombian cocaine at low prices. What started out as one shipment turned into hundreds of kilos each month. Edmond was making millions by the time he was 22, and he flaunted his illicit wealth around town. He spent lavishly on cars, clothing and extravagant partying.
By 1989, Edmond had a sizable share of the drug trade in D.C.—nearly 60 percent of the city's market. He was also involved in a flurry of violence, with approximately 30 homicides tied to Edmond and his crew. Between 1985 and 1989, the city's murder rate had doubled, much of which D.C. law enforcement tied to the drug trade, and cocaine-related hospital emergencies rose an estimated 400 percent. Police began waging a war on drugs, and Edmond was their primary target. After a series of wiretaps, investigations into his finances, testimony from informants, and confessions from members of his drug ring, police had enough evidence to put Edmond behind bars.
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