Two fez-wearing Detroit drug dealers get life in prison

Reuters News
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Posted: Oct 17, 2014 1:44 PM

(Reuters) - Two Detroit drug dealers, who were known for wearing fezzes in court and who sparked a national manhunt when they fled the area last spring, were sentenced on Friday to life in prison.

Carlos Powell, 39, who ran one of the largest drug rings in Detroit-area history, and his brother Eric Powell, 36, both received life sentences in federal court, said Gina Balaya, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's office in Detroit.

The two men, along with a third accomplice named Earnest Proge, Jr., had been free on bond during their trial and fled the area before a jury read guilty verdicts against them on May 12. All three were all captured in other states in June.

The case resulted in the seizure of more than $21 million in cash, 30 kilograms of heroin, 12 kilograms of cocaine and about 450 kilograms of marijuana. Law enforcement also seized eight pieces of property and 10 vehicles, including a 2008 Bentley, a 2006 Ferrari and two boats.

All three men wore short, cone-like fez hats in court, Balaya said. The men had said they wore the tasseled fezzes as part of their membership in the Moorish Science Temple of America, according to The Detroit News.

Proge also faces life in prison, but his sentencing was adjourned for a later time while his lawyer is involved in another case, Balaya said.

(Reporting by Mary Wisniewski)