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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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On April 15, 1989, Edmond was arrested along with 28 associates, 11 of whom were members of Edmond's family. Put on trial under unprecedented security, Edmond's case became a daily spectacle. Jailed at Quantico Marine Base, Edmond was flown to court each day by helicopter. The jurors were kept anonymous, held in separate homes, and placed behind bulletproof glass.
More than 100 witnesses testified in the trial, which led to Edmond's conviction on multiple counts,
including engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise; conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute more than 5 kilograms of cocaine and more than 50 grams of cocaine base; and unlawfully employing a person under 18 years of age. On September 17, 1990, Edmond was sentenced to two life terms without parole. Edmond's mother was sentenced to 24 years for participating in her son's ring, and Tony Lewis also received life without parole.
Edmond continued to deal within prison, and began laundering cash through a girlfriend. The police started wiretapping his calls to gain evidence. But Rayful had created a special Philadelphia pig latin code to speak with dealers, which required a translator to decode. Confronted by police with this new evidence, Edmond struck a deal with law enforcement. He won his mother's early release by becoming a government informant. Since then, he has been placed in the prison's witness protection program.
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