NEW JERSEY, United States, Friday December 18, 2015 – Jamaican dancehall artiste ‘Flippa Mafia’ is facing a lengthy prison sentence for his role in an international drug ring that shipped cocaine from California to New Jersey through the US Mail and other parcel delivery services.
The recording artist, whose real name is Andrew Davis, was yesterday found guilty of first-degree distribution of cocaine, second-degree money laundering, and second-degree conspiracy, following a seven-week trial. The jury could not reach a unanimous verdict on the first-degree charge of leading a narcotics trafficking network. The first-degree charge carries a sentence of 10 to 20 years in state prison, while the second-degree charges carry a sentence of five to 10 years in prison.
However, his attorney Robin Lord plans to appeal the convictions on the grounds that he was deprived of a fair trial, based on issues with transcripts from a wiretap that recorded conversations in the Jamaican dialect, according to the Associated Press.
“He maintains his innocence,” the defence lawyer said. “He is confident when all is said and done he will be acquitted of these charges.”
Also convicted in the same trial was Davis’ co-accused Marsha Bernard. She received large shipments of cocaine in New Jersey and distributed them to other drug traffickers under the direction of Davis and two of his brothers who previously pleaded guilty in the case, Kemar Davis and Roger Davis.
Davis, who lived in New Jersey, was arrested in an operation led by the New Jersey State Police, the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Division of Criminal Justice, dubbed ‘Operation Next Day Air’. In the course of the investigation, detectives recovered more than 26 kilogrammes of cocaine, worth more than US$960,000, two handguns, and more than US$500,000 in cash.
“It’s both unfortunate and disturbing that Andrew Davis chose to be part of a drug trafficking network responsible for distributing massive quantities of narcotics in New Jersey communities, instead of using his success as a musician for their betterment,” said Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police Colonel Rick Fuentes.
‘Operation Next Day Air’ targeted the ring’s shipment of large quantities of cocaine through parcel delivery services to New Jersey for bulk distribution to other narcotics suppliers and dealers. Andrew directed drug trafficking activities of the ring from various locations in Jamaica, California and New Jersey, with the help of his younger brother Kemar.
The investigation began in March 2011, when detectives and agents seized two packages from a mail facility in Marlton, that were sent to 37-year-old Andrew and Bernard. Each package contained four kilogrammes of cocaine.
In December 2012, Andrew and Kemar travelled to Jamaica. Andrew remained there, but continued to be involved by directing his brother and others in the operation. Kemar returned to the US and oversaw the shipments, while Bernard and others received the drugs and distributed them to dealers in New Jersey, under the direction of the Davis brothers. The proceeds were sent to Andrew in Jamaica and Kemar in California.
Kemar was arrested in Los Angeles on March 15, 2013 by DEA agents and Andrew was arrested in Los Angeles on September 16, 2013 by members of the US Marshals Fugitive Task Force.
“Andrew and Kemar Davis thought they were beyond the reach of the law, reaping huge profits in Jamaica and California while they shipped their cocaine into our communities in New Jersey,” Director of the Division of Criminal Justice Elie Honig said. “I’m proud to say that we put a stop shipment on their corrosive product and, with the help of our federal partners, extended our reach the length of the continent to capture these two major drug traffickers.”
On September 14 this year, 25-year-old Kemar pleaded guilty to leading a narcotics trafficking network. Under his plea agreement, the state will recommend that he be sentenced to 20 years in state prison, with a 12-year period of parole ineligibility. The other brother, Roger, pleaded guilty that same day to first-degree possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. The state will recommend that Roger Davis be sentenced to 10 years in state prison, with three years of parole ineligibility.
Six other defendants were previously sentenced in the case.