A federal court jury in Pittsburgh last week convicted a Jamaican national on multiple drug and money-laundering counts, including violating the kingpin statute, for running an ongoing criminal enterprise in Western Pennsylvania and across multiple states.
The jury deliberated five hours before finding Racoco Williams guilty on Friday following a three-week trial in front of U.S. District Judge Joy Flowers Conti.
He faces a mandatory life term in federal prison.
Prosecutors said Williams, 41, of Lauderhill, Florida, supervised more than a dozen people, many of them young women in dire straits, in a cocaine trafficking ring that shipped multiple kilos from Arizona and Nevada to Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Charlotte and New York City.
The jury determined that Williams was responsible for distributing 150 kilos, using a Carnegie stash house as a distribution point locally.
Trial evidence showed that Williams relied on the young women as mules to haul his coke in their luggage on planes. The women also transported drug money back to Phoenix in hidden compartments inside their luggage.
Williams and his cohorts used rape or the threat of it to control the women. At least four of them were raped by gang members, the government said. Evidence also showed that in one case, Williams threatened to kill one courier and her entire family if she cooperated with the law.
Homeland Security agents and state police, along with police in various jurisdictions, made multiple seizures of coke and cash during the investigation. One search in 2012 resulted in the seizure of $337,000 in cash in secret suitcase compartments.
A search of Williams’ hotel room in the Pittsburgh region in August 2017 turned up 17 kilos of coke and $192,000 in cash.
In addition to the guilty verdict, the jury determined that $400,000 in cash, $200,000 in jewelry and a BMW that Williams was using to transport coke will be forfeited to the U.S.
Williams’ criminal history dates back more than two decades and includes a 2004 conviction in the U.K., where police say he was dealing crack cocaine and heroin. He was deported to Jamaica, but less than a year later police arrested him again after he tried to enter the United Kingdom on a fake passport. He ended up deported to Jamaica again.