A Seattle man who allegedly sent dozens of kilograms of cocaine to distributors in Alaska, including local rappers who rhymed about drug dealing, has been indicted and arrested, according to federal prosecutors.
Federal agents arrested the man, 42-year-old Steven Taylor, on July 10, according to a written statement Thursday from the U.S. Attorney's Office. Taylor made his first court appearance Wednesday.
Taylor allegedly pressured the dealers he supplied -- who racked up substantial drug debts to Taylor -- to start selling heroin and methamphetamine in Alaska, because it was more profitable.
According to a charging document, Taylor lived in a mansion near Lake Washington and sent coke to Alaska in U.S. Postal Service shipments of 5, 10 and 15 kilos at a time. Among the recipients were members or associates of Anchorage-based rap groups Out Da Cutt and Up North D Boys, federal prosecutors say.
The D stands for dope, and the men, who wrote lyrics glorifying drug dealing, used the dirty money to "make it appear they were profitable recording artists," the prosecutors said in an earlier press release.
"There is no evidence that they made any money on their music. There was significant evidence they made money selling illegal narcotics," Assistant U.S. Attorney Kelly Cavanaugh wrote in an email Thursday.
A grand jury indicted 11 people Taylor allegedly supplied in August 2012. All but the suspected Anchorage ringleader, Terrance "Baydilla" Fleming, have pleaded guilty. An indictment handed up this week -- expanding on charges filed against Taylor earlier this month -- include eight other defendants from Anchorage, Fairbanks and Washington state.
According to the charges against Taylor and the indictments against the whole group, here is how prosecutors say the deals occurred:
Taylor bought the drugs, mostly cocaine and heroin, in Nevada and California. He was assisted in shipping them from Washington to Alaska by two others: James "Unc" Brown, 68, and Leonard Charles, 39. Another man in Washington, Joseph Irving, 54, helped get the payments for the drugs.
At the other end in Anchorage, Fleming and his associate, Donnell Johnson, waited for the packages. The indictment says Taylor also shipped to five others in Anchorage and Fairbanks, who were indicted with Taylor:
• Shawn Cortez Cloyd, 42, known as "CC" or "Rider"
• Timothy Northcutt, 62, known as "O.G." or "Butch"
• Etienne Q. Devoe, 40, known as "Tin" or "Tien"
• Joshua "Lil' J" Haynes, 34
• Gabrielle Haynes, 29
Some of the drugs did not make it. Through a confidential informant seeking leniency for alleged crimes, federal agents learned about the shipments.
In just one example, Anchorage-based postal inspectors got a search warrant in November 2011 and opened a tan-colored, bubble-wrap-lined mailer and found more than 10 kilograms of cocaine. It was concealed in plastic wrap, vacuum bags and black electrical tape.
Prosecutors say Taylor sent similar packages to the other defendants, who paid for the drugs with wire transfers, prepaid debit cards and through bank deposits. The indictment details a series of multiple-kilogram drug shipments and financial transactions from March 2009 to May 2013. Several of the men allegedly racked up debts to Taylor for tens of thousands of dollars.
In June, Brown was telling Taylor he would send someone to Anchorage to "take care of" Cloyd. In another meeting later, the Haynes siblings tried to explain that they had to throw away thousands of dollars in drug proceeds at the airport when law enforcement authorities were closing in on them.
Agents arrested Cloyd on Friday and Irving and Northcutt on Wednesday. The Haynes siblings and Devoe were still on the loose as of Thursday, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office, which asked that anyone with information on their whereabouts call the Drug Enforcement Administration at (907) 271-5033.
Reach Casey Grove at email@example.com or 257-4589.
By CASEY GROVE