Former Black Mafia Family leaders Demetrius “Big Meech” Flenory (who’s currently incarcerated) and Terry “Southwest T” Flenory (who was released in 2020), may have taken a back seat, but BMF remains active and formidable in the criminal underworld. This week, St. Louis became the epicenter of a massive crackdown, resulting in the arrest of more than two dozen individuals linked to the notorious group.
The Flenory brothers, who once led the BMF, had built an empire into an operation that raked in over $250 million that spanned across the U.S., with roots in Detroit. Their nationwide drug-trafficking ring was their downfall, leading to their imprisonment in 2008.
BMF’s story of ambition, power and decline caught the attention of the entertainment world, inspiring a series on Starz executive produced by 50 Cent, who viewed the latest arrests as an opportunity.
“BMF again ain’t this a b####,” he wrote in an Instagram post on Thursday (October 19). “J BO story is a spin off I’m a put it on the tube you know the vibes.”
U.S. Attorney Sayler A. Fleming spearheaded the operation and revealed the individuals face multiple charges ranging from drug trafficking to intricate financial crimes. The arrests were the outcome of meticulous collaboration between the U.S. Marshals, federal agents and local police, all acting on a series of grand jury indictments. To date, 34 individuals have been implicated, with a significant number being charged recently. Even the DEA was shocked at the size and scale of the latest incarnation of the Black Mafia Family.
“The scale of this Midwest criminal operation is uncommon, so it’s no wonder that it took the combined resources of federal, state and local law enforcement to bring the operation to an end,” Special Agent in Charge Michael A. Davis said. “Protecting our citizens is DEA’s primary goal and the reward is worth the effort,”
Law enforcement’s efforts bore fruit as they managed to seize substantial amounts of fentanyl, methamphetamine, firearms and cash during the operation. The arrestees, as identified in subsequent detention hearings, were either directly affiliated with the BMF or had close associations.
Chad “JBo” Brown, one of the defendants, has been particularly vocal about his association, referring to himself as the “Junior Boss” of the BMF. His claims, backed by various videos on social media, provide a glimpse into the group’s expansive drug trafficking operations.
However, the BMF’s illicit activities aren’t confined to drug trafficking. Fleming highlighted instances where members were involved in money laundering for the organization.
Some even allegedly exploited the COVID-19 pandemic, securing loans under false pretenses, which were originally intended to aid struggling businesses and employees.
Among those indicted are:
- Chad E. “JBo” Brown, 51, charged with bank fraud and using a false document, accused of fraudulently obtaining a PPP loan.
- Robert L. Lewis, 45, facing charges for fentanyl distribution and illegal firearm possession.
- Robert “Honest” Sims, 40, indicted for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.
- Samir Simpson-Bey, 37, charged with fentanyl distribution.
- Jeremy “Welo” Steele, 44, indicted for conspiracy to distribute fentanyl and methamphetamine.
- Carl Von Garrett, 53, facing charges for money laundering, allegedly laundering nearly $1,000,000 of drug proceeds in 2021.
- Tiffany J. “Tiff BMF” Nelson, 42, indicted for money laundering, accused of laundering proceeds from illegal activities.