As some of the trials for defendants in the Black Mafia Family drug trafficking case are approaching this summer, the feds are looking to sell luxury cars seized in the case ("Brothers' keepers," MT, Feb. 21).
Up first: a 2004 Bentley Continental owned by Ronald Canyon. His trial is scheduled in July in U.S. District Court in Detroit.
Canyon, an auto dealer, was an alleged member of the BMF, which authorities say moved millions of dollars of cocaine through Detroit and other cities.
Canyon was among 25 people indicted in October 2005. (The case eventually grew to include 41 defendants.) BMF, the feds say, was headed by the brothers Terry and Demetrius Flenory, who grew up in southwest Detroit and eventually landed in Los Angeles and Atlanta respectively.
Of the 41 people indicted, nine have pleaded guilty and two have scheduled plea hearings, according to court records.
The feds have asked Avern Cohn, who is presiding over all the trials, to approve the sale of a 2005 Maserati, a 2005 BMW X5 and a 2006 Land Rover owned by defendant Larry Van Steele and property owned by Harold Wilcox at 20551 Grand River Ave.
Cohn last month approved the sale of Canyon's Bentley, which was seized in Frisco, Texas, from a residence of Demetrius Flenory. According to the order, the U.S. Marshal Service will hold the proceeds of the sale pending the conclusion of the criminal case.
The owner of Canyon Motors, a high-end dealership and customization shop in California, Canyon is accused of concealing "the true source, nature and ownership" of the Flenory brothers' drug proceeds, which were used, among other things, to purchase fancy rides, according to the federal indictment.
"My client had no objection to the car being sold at this point in time," says Chistopher Andreoff, the Southfield attorney representing Canyon. "It's for the purpose of keeping its value and escrowing the amount of the sale. That becomes a disposable asset. It loses value while it sits."
According to Gina Balaya at the U.S. Attorney's Office, the values of the vehicles are not known: "The U.S. Marshal Service assigns an initial value to the vehicle which is refined by an appraiser."
The Flenorys' trial, along with seven other defendants, is scheduled to begin Aug. 6.News Hits is edited by Curt Guyette. Contact him at 313-202-8004 or [email protected]