2008’s Biggest Stories #8: The Fall Of The BMF

They

lived the life most rappers only fantasize about in the booth. For

nearly five years, the Black Mafia Family flaunted their lavish

lifestyle, barely covering up the illegal activities that afforded them

that life.

This

year, an unraveling that started in 2005 came to a close. Demetrius

“Big Meech” Flenory and his brother Terry “Southwest T” Flenory were

sentenced to 30 years in prison for their role as the leaders of a

cocaine empire valued at nearly $270 million. Their sentence came a

year after the brothers pleaded guilty to Continuing Criminal

Enterprise and money laundering charges under which they were indicted

in 2005.

Despite

a plea agreement, prosecutors obtained the long sentence by presenting

evidence of BMF’s 20 year history, gathered over the course of several

years.

The

brothers, who launched their enterprise in Detroit in the late 1980s,

started drawing the attention of federal authorities around 2000, after

Southwest T relocated to Los Angeles, leaving Big Meech in Atlanta.

Their prolific organization drew even more unwanted attention in 2003,

when Meech established BMF Entertainment and began living a life that

did not fit that of an up-and-coming record executive with only one

artist, Bleu DaVinci, signed to his label.

To

make matters worse, Meech was tied to a 2003 shootout outside an

Atlanta-area nightclub, which left two men dead, including Sean “Diddy”

Combs’ former bodyguard, Anthony “Wolf” Jones.

Just as they spread the wealth in their hay day, the Flenory brothers did not go down alone.

After

the 2005 raids of BMF’s key operations in Georgia, Michigan, Florida,

South Carolina, Tennessee, Missouri and California, over 150 members or

associates of the Black Mafia Family were indicted.

Three notable members of the organizations also saw sentences handed down this year.

Jacob

“The Jeweler” Arabov, indicted in 2006, was sentenced in June to two

and a half years in prison. Arabov admitted to falsifying records and

giving false statements to federal prosecutors, in exchange for the

dismissal of more serious money laundering charges. He was ordered to

pay a $500,000 fine and to make a $2 million forfeiture payment to the

government.

Bleu

DaVinci was sentenced to five years and four months in federal prison

back in October, after being convicted of conspiracy to distribute

cocaine. The rapper, born Barima McKnight, was also suspected of having

taken control of BMF’s operations while Big Meech and Southwest T

awaited their sentences.

The

most recent sentencing came on December 17. Fleming “Ill” Daniels was

ordered to serve 20 years for conspiring to distribute cocaine.

Prosecutors maintained that Daniels was personally responsible for the

sale of nearly $1 million worth of cocaine. His trial made headlines

over the summer, when a prosecution witnessed alleged that Jeezy

received kilos of cocaine from BMF.

Despite

boasting of his affiliation to the crew during his early career, Jeezy

has managed to steer clear of their legal troubles.

When they are released from prison in 2031, Big Meech and Southwest T will be in their 60s.

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