Pubdate: Mon, 27 Nov 2000
Source: Dayton Daily News (OH)


DAYTON--Sure, there are the flashy and expensive cars, multiple homes, 
exciting businesses and lots of girlfriends, but dealing drugs carries all 
the trials and tribulations of any business.

And often more.

There's the frequent surveillance by lawmen, the loss of privacy, worry 
over associates snitching you out, having to hide your assets, inflation, 
enormous expenses, narrow profit margins and stress spilling over into your 
domestic life.

Not to mention being victimized by other criminals or suffering huge losses 
because of government anti-drug business policies.

There are easier ways to make a living.

Hundreds of pages of federal court documents--sworn statements by federal 
agents seeking search warrants plus parts of conversations obtained through 
wiretapping scores of area drug dealers in recent months--give a rare 
glimpse into a drug organization that agents say was headed by Marcus 
Norvell, 34, of Trotwood.

The organization, for example, was facing "a full blown 'drought'" by 
October of 1999 when the price of an ounce of cocaine had soared from $750 
to $900, a confidential source, described only as CS-10, told lawmen.

Leonard Redd, 33, of Dayton, indicted as a leader in Norvell's 
organization, "will not usually sell a kilogram (about 2.2. pounds) of 
cocaine unless he can make a profit of $5,000 per kilogram," according to 

But by January, Andre Perry Phillips, 42, of Dayton, also charged as a 
leader in the organization, was alarmed by the squeeze on profits.

"Boy, my bank ... is dwindling away, too, so I know yours is dwindling 
away," Phillips was quoted as telling Darryl Brooks, 33, of Dayton, also 
charged. "Lord have mercy, I am sick.... I'm up under three-fifty, man. I 
get nervous when I get up under four."

Phillips was telling Brooks that he had less than $350,000 and that he gets 
nervous when he gets under $400,000, according to a federal agent.

Also squeezing profit margins: Frequent seizures of drugs from the 
organization and high transport costs.

On April 17, for example, a person identified as CS-1 was found in 
possession of 44 pounds of cocaine after a traffic stop.

CS-1 told lawmen that Wayne Paul Hodge, 43, of Dayton had paid him $20,000 
to drive from Ohio to California to pick up the cocaine and return it to 
Dayton, and was to be paid $20,000 more on his return.

Hodge, CS-1 said, also gave him $320,000 in a blue backpack to buy the cocaine.

Money now down the drain.

On Feb. 4, a person identified as CS-9 gave information to Dayton Police 
Detective Kenneth M. Daly that led to seizure of another $119,700 destined 
for Phillips for four kilograms (8.8 pounds) of cocaine, according to the 

The organization also suffered enormous losses due to pilfering.

For example, on March 15, a person identified as CS-4 told lawmen that 
Phillips told him someone broke into one of his stash apartments and stole 

Phillips, another source confided the following day, was buying about 
$200,000 worth of cocaine every two weeks and paid another man $10,000 each 
time for use of his drug connection.

Phillips suffered another major loss in January, CS-9 told lawmen.

After selling 4 kilos of cocaine for about $130,000, Phillips ducked 
briefly into a roller skating rink that he managed, leaving the money under 
the seat of his car, according to CS-9.

When he returned about 20 minutes later, Phillips discovered his car window 
broken and the money gone.

The stress of the business combined with the pressure of keeping money, 
property and girlfriends straight can prove challenging, these records suggest.

On Dec. 9, 1999, for example, Brooks inadvertently dialed the telephone 
number of his "live-in girlfriend" while engaged in a conversation with 
another girlfriend.

With his phone off the hook and his live-in girlfriend listening, Brooks 
talked about his home on Edgewood Avenue in Dayton, according to these records.

Shortly after ending the call, Brooks got an angry call from his live-in 
girlfriend, who told him that she knew "he was out with another woman" and 
that "she was going to take his money that was at the house ... and that he 
was never going to see it again."

She then asked Brooks why he was talking about buying other houses when he 
wouldn't buy her a house.

"Do what you want," Brooks told her. "Like you said, I didn't have 
(expletive) when I met you ... I won't have (expletive) when you leave me. 
It don't make no difference, I'll get some more."

Members of the organization juggled several businesses, information from 
the confidential sources, wiretaps, search warrants and other sources suggest.

A review of Ford Motor Co. credit applications, for example, states that 
Phillips owns a record store and manages the roller rink he ducked into, 
both in Dayton.

CS-4 said Phillips also bought a one-third share of an auto dealership on 
West Third Street, paid for with $50,000 in a shoebox.

That dealership, CS-4 said, assisted area drug traffickers in the purchase 
of automobiles by structuring their purchases as payments of less than 
$10,000 on the vehicles.

Payments over this amount must be reported to the IRS.

CS-8 told lawmen that Phillips is also a partner in the land contract 
purchase of a Dayton bar on North James H. McGee Boulevard. Phillips also 
has a pager and cellular telephone company, this source said.

Redd, sources claimed, owns real estate, including an Atlanta nightclub, 
and was trying to start a record label there with another drug dealer.

In addition to thefts, seizures and other losses, members of the 
organization had to pay hefty commissions to Marcus Norvell, described by 
one source as as the "godfather."

CS-10 states he was present at Your Place bar in November or December 1998, 
when Norvell presided over a meeting attended by Redd, Phillips, Brooks and 

"Norvell asked each person to report how much cocaine they received from 
their sources and how much money they made during that period of time," 
CS-10 claimed. "Norvell then took a percentage of the profits from each 

At another meeting, Norvell "instructed everyone that they should not be 
'flashy' with their money because that would attract law enforcement 
authorities to their illegal activities," according to CS-4.

Some didn't heed Norvell's warning.

In 1998, for example, CS-5 said former Dayton City Commission candidate 
Mark P. Donelson, who ran in 1996 on a promise to reduce crime, bought a 
new Corvette for Redd, using $50,000 that CS-5 helped Redd count out.

"Donelson bought the car in his name because Donelson had a legitimate 
business and could justify buying an expensive car and Redd could not 
because he does not have a legitimate job," CS-5 told lawmen.

Not having cars and homes in your own name can prove troublesome.

CS-5 said Donelson took the Corvette back from Redd "because Donelson was 
getting worried that Redd was getting too flamboyant and that Redd may draw 
the attention of law enforcement to him (Donelson) for buying the car for 

Donelson apparently had no such misgivings about cars he bought for himself.

On Oct. 23, 1998, for example, Donelson went to Morgan Motors and used 
$52,000 in $20 bills bound by duct tape to buy a 1998 Mercedes-Benz, being 
sold on behalf of the U.S. Marshals Service. The car had been seized from 
former drug kingpin Keith W. Dewitt, who is awaiting sentencing on drug 

On Jan. 27, Donelson "admitted" to IRS Special Agent Thomas H. Buchenroth 
that he bought Dewitt's Mercedes.

"Donelson claimed he purchased the Mercedes for his mother but she became 
ill," according to the reports.

Donelson also said he bought the Corvette for his "now ex-wife" under the 
name of his Donelson Development Co.

He said he traded in the Corvette for a Rolls-Royce in California.

Donelson denied in an interview being involved in drug trafficking.

Donelson, Norvell, Redd, Phillips, Brooks and others indicted as members of 
the organization have pleaded not guilty to conspiring to distribute large 
quantities of cocaine, crack cocaine and heroin.

They all face a mandatory 10 years in prison and a maximum life term if 

That is just a little more time than Brooks had planned on, according to 
what he told a friend Dec. 16, 1999.

"I know jail come with this (expletive), and I ain't looking to do no 10 or 
15 years," Brooks said.

He may have to recalculate. 
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