D.C. Assault founder, coach indicted on drug charge

WASHINGTON — Curtis Malone, coach and mentor to thousands of area boys with dreams of playing in the NBA, has been indicted, along with two others, on a single count of conspiracy with intent to distribute heroin and cocaine.

Malone, 45, entered a plea of not guilty and a federal judge has ordered him held without bond. He was arraigned in a courtroom packed with family and friends Wednesday.

Malone is co-founder of D.C. Assault, a nonprofit youth basketball program in the District that has funneled scores of kids to Division I college basketball programs, including the University of Maryland and Georgetown. And a few of his players have made it to the NBA.

Malone was arrested Aug. 9. Federal agents say a search of his Upper Marlboro, Md., home turned up large quantities of heroin and cocaine. He was the subject of a year-long investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration and federal agents allege that he has been dealing drugs for at least the past three years.

The judge tried to reconcile two different pictures of Malone painted by the prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Gripkey, and Malone’s defense lawyer, Robert Bonsib.

Bonsib urged the judge to release Malone before he faces trial and argued that he is well-known in the area, provided important mentoring work to legions of kids and was not a danger to the community.

But Gripkey described Malone as a dangerous drug dealer who is also known as “White Boy” and “Daddy.”

Gripkey said police recovered a loaded .40-caliber semiautomatic handgun, 20 rounds of ammunition, plus a kilogram of cocaine and 100 grams of heroin from Malone’s home.

Federal Magistrate Alan Kay called Malone a “Jekyll and Hyde person.” He said he found it “incredulous” and “mind boggling” that an individual could be working with young people on the basketball court while also “peddling poison.”

Because of a previous drug conviction in the 1990s and the search, which uncovered the gun in Malone’s home, the judge ordered Malone to remain behind bars until his next court date on Aug. 24.

If convicted, Malone faces a possible mandatory 10-year prison sentence.

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