Five Men Indicted in Drug Conspiracy Case, Accused of Selling Drugs Within 1,000 Feet of School

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FILE PHOTO: American flag waves outside the U.S. Department of Justice Building in Washington

             WASHINGTON –Five area men have been indicted on federal narcotics and firearms-related charges stemming from an ongoing investigation into a drug trafficking organization that operated outside a gas station and within 1,000 feet of a school on South Capitol Street.

            The indictment was announced today by U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves, Christopher Amon, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Washington Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Jarod Forget, Special Agent in Charge for the Washington Division of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and Robert J. Contee III, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).

            Those charged include Tayion Hamiel-Ward, 25, of Washington, D.C.; Karl Dunn, 45, of Suitland; Brian Williams, 27, of Largo, Maryland; Kurtis Mathes, 33, of Washington, D.C., and DeShawn Barnes, 28, also of Washington, D.C. Hamiel-Ward previously was detained. Dunn, Williams, Mathes, and Barnes were arrested this week.

            The indictment, which was unsealed yesterday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, followed an investigation into open-air drug markets operating near a gas station and tobacco store in the 4600 block of South Capitol Street SW. Since at least March 2021, there have been several shootings at these locations, and law enforcement has recovered firearms on the premises. The charges relate to four firearms, magazines, ammunition, marijuana, and more than $79,000 in cash seized from the defendants over the course of the investigation. 

            “Armed drug trafficking and traffickers put ordinary citizens at risk, and that conduct must be held to account,” said U.S. Attorney Graves. “This indictment is a testament to our strong, collaborative relationship with ATF and other law enforcement partners in dismantling drug operations that threaten public safety.”

            “Today’s announcement is the result of a long-term investigation focused on the illegal use of firearms, narcotics trafficking, and acts of violence in our community,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Amon of the ATF’s Washington Field Division. “Thanks to the hard work and dedication of the men and women of ATF and our valued law enforcement partners, violent criminals are being held accountable”

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            “Operations like this are a great example of our collective and decisive work at all levels – federal, state, and local – to band together and reverse the rise in violent, drug-related crime and ensure public safety. Let me be clear, drug trafficking organizations do not care if they are poisoning and killing people,” said Special Agent in Charge Forget of the DEA Washington Division. “As part of our initiative Operation Overdrive, we are making a difference in our communities, cutting violent crime, stopping violent drug traffickers in their tracks, and keeping our local families safe”.

            All five defendants are charged with conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute marijuana. They also are charged with drug distribution, including charges that the transactions took place within 1,000 feet of a school. Hamiel-Ward, Dunn, and Williams also are charged with using, carrying, or possessing firearms during drug transactions. Mathes and Barnes also are charged with unlawfully possessing ammunition.

            An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation of criminal law and is not evidence of guilt. Every defendant is presumed innocent until, and unless, proven guilty.

            The case is being investigated by the ATF’s Washington Field Division, the DEA’s Washington Division, and the Metropolitan Police Department. Valuable assistance was provided by the FBI, the Prince George’s County, Maryland Police Department, and the U.S. Secret Service.

            The case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys Allison McGuire and Brian Lynch, of the Violence Reduction and Trafficking Offenses Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. Assistance was provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland.