Behind bars

Nov 28, 2007 at 12:00 am

Just two of the original 41 people indicted in Detroit in the Black Mafia Family are going to trial as the other 39, including kingpins Demetrius and Terry Lee Flenory, have entered guilty pleas.

Appearing separately in U.S. District Court in Detroit last week, the Flenory brothers admitted that they operated a national, multimillion-dollar cocaine network.

The Flenorys, according to court documents, started dealing coke during the early 1990s as teens in southwest Detroit before they became hip-hop entrepreneurs in Atlanta and Los Angeles. They took their drug business with them, according to the feds.

In his agreement with federal prosecutors, Terry "Southwest T" Flenory, 37, pleaded guilty to operating a continuing criminal enterprise and conspiring to launder money. He agreed to forfeit $270 million in drug proceeds, diamond jewelry and three homes to the feds. He'll face 30 years to life in prison when he's sentenced early next year.

"I was the leader of a few individuals that was involved in this case," his brother, Demetrius "Big Meech" Flenory, 39, told Judge Avern Cohn, reported Mara Shalhoup, the senior writer from Creative Loafing, Atlanta's alternative rag. Shalhoup authored a three-part series published there last year that earned her Journalist of the Year from the Atlanta Press Club. (See "BMF," MT, Feb. 21, 2007.)

Shalhoup calls Meech's guilty plea a "milestone" in the 15-year investigation that ultimately led to 150 suspects being charged in seven states. BMF associates also have been implicated in several high-profile murders, and several investigations into the crew are ongoing, says Shalhoup, who is working on a book about the case.

Can a movie be far behind?

News Hits is edited by Curt Guyette. Contact the column at 313-202-8004 or [email protected]