Upper Marlboro Man Sentenced to Life in Prison on Drug Conspiracy and Money Laundering Charges

Lester Fletcher Headed 19 Member Drug Organization

Lester Fletcher, age 51, of Upper Marlboro, Maryland was sentenced Thursday, July 20, to life in prison after being convicted of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute controlled substances, distribution and possession with intent to distribute cocaine and crack cocaine, conspiracy to money launder and money laundering, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein. U.S. District Judge Peter J. Messitte also ordered Fletcher to forfeit $4.3 million in cash.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein said, “Today’s sentence sends a strong message that drug dealers who plague our neighborhoods will not be tolerated. This investigation dismantled a large drug organization. As is true of many drug dealers, Lester Fletcher will spend most of his life in jail and forfeit all of his money."

Special Agent in Charge for the Baltimore Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Gregory Gant stated, “ATF continues to aggressively address and investigate violent drug distribution rings and the resulting violence associated with them. ATF will continue to work with our partners to identify and investigate the “worst of the worst” violent offenders so that our communities will be safer for all residents.”

According to evidence presented during the two week trial, from about 2002 to April 2005, Fletcher at least once a week purchased kilogram amounts of cocaine from suppliers in Prince George’s County, and cooked some of that cocaine into crack cocaine for distribution through two crack houses he operated in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. Most of the cocaine was sold out of those locations to cocaine addicts, some of whom purchased large enough quantities for further distribution in other counties.

Trial evidence also established that Fletcher operated Big Mann’s Towing & Auto Repair (Big Mann’s) located in Upper Marlboro and together with Brenda Fletcher used Big Mann’s Towing to launder drug money. They opened a checking account in the name of Big Mann’s and deposited proceeds from narcotics distribution activities, commingling the narcotics distribution proceeds with the proceeds of legitimate towing and auto repair services. They used monies from the account to purchase automobiles and other personal property, and real property, in their names, their business and third parties.

Brenda Grierson, a/k/a Brenda Fletcher, age 35, of Upper Marlboro, Maryland was sentenced to 111 months in prison on July 17, 2006. Seventeen other co-defendants who pled guilty have either been sentenced, or are awaiting sentencing dates.

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