DC attorney general wants input on possible early release for drug lord Rayful Edmond

D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine announced Thursday that his office has been appointed by a federal court to represent the views of District residents in the resentencing of Rayful Edmond — the drug kingpin who ran a major cocaine ring in Washington in the 1980s.

Edmond, 54, is serving life without parole for drug distribution, plus an extra 30 years for selling drugs behind bars, following a 1990 conviction. He was 24 at the time.

Federal prosecutors in the District filed a motion in court in February requesting early release for Edmond because of the help he has provided in the government’s fight against illegal drugs since he has been in prison.

As a result of the motion, Judge Emmet G. Sullivan appointed Racine’s office as “amicus curiae” (friend-of-the-court) to obtain the community’s views on Edmond’s resentencing.

“This is a significant and unique opportunity for District residents to be heard in the adult criminal justice system, where we do not often have a voice,” Racine said in a news release.

“This is also a historic step for District autonomy. For the first time, a federal judge has enlisted the Office of the Attorney General to obtain information about the community’s views for sentencing in an adult criminal case.”

Earlier in May, Sullivan said: “Suppose there is a person whose parent died of a drug overdose 30 years ago? I should at least engage the city on this very important issue. It seems to me the court would be remiss to not seek D.C. input.”

In the 1980s, Edmond was making as much as $2 million a week, according to law enforcement officials.

His enforcers had been linked to 30 murders, though Edmond was never convicted of any.

According to prosecutors, Edmond began cooperating with the government in 1997 and continued until 2014. In those 17 years, Edmond contributed to the prosecution of more than 100 dealers.

Edmond’s lawyer has said his client’s time served was sufficient, and he should be released immediately.

Sullivan has set the resentencing for Oct. 16.

He gave federal prosecutors until June 11 to outline their recommendation for Edmond’s sentence reduction, and he gave the defense until June 18 to provide its list of witnesses for the October hearing.

The court indicated that if freed, Edmond would be admitted to the U.S. Federal Witness Protection Program and will be under the supervision of federal probation officers.

How to provide feedback

Submit comments online at RayfulEdmondFeedback.com.

Participate in these public forums:

  • Thursday, June 13, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Old Council Chambers (441 4th St. NW)
  • Saturday, June 15, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Martha’s Table (2375 Elvans Road SE)
  • Saturday, June 29, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Franklin D. Reeves Center (2000 14th St. NW)

To attend one of these public forums, RSVP at feedback-about-rayful-edmond-resentencing.eventbrite.com.

Other questions or comments can be directed to (202) 727-3400, or email OAGCommunity@dc.gov.

WTOP’s Neal Augenstein and Dick Uliano contributed to this report.

Alejandro Alvarez

Alejandro Alvarez joined WTOP as a digital reporter and editor in June 2018. He is a writer and photojournalist focusing on politics, political activism and national affairs, with recent multimedia contributions to Reuters, MSNBC and PBS.

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