Feds Arrest Fugitive Hip-Hop Mogul, Accuse Him of Running Cocaine Ring

By Jonathan Dienst and Shimon Prokupecz
|  Wednesday, Jun 22, 2011  |  Updated 6:32 AM EDT
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Fugitive hip-hop mogul James Rosemond was apprehended earlier today on a federal warrant, accused of running a cocaine ring that trafficked drugs in music equipment cases between Los Angeles and New York.

Rosemond, owner of Czar Entertainment, was taken into custody by Drug Enforcement Administration agents who got a tip that he was at the W Hotel in Union Square, law enforcement sources tell NBC New York. He was arraigned in federal court in Brooklyn, and did not enter a plea.

Sources tell NBC New York that Rosemond, who is known as "Jimmy Henchman" and has managed Brandy, Sean Kingston and The Game, fled and was chased by marshals up Park Avenue. He was carrying a fake I.D. and a passport application in a fake name, sources said.

Authorities believed Rosemond, who lived in Brooklyn until he went on the run in recent months, was planning to leave Thursday for the Bahamas.

Rosemond's attorney, Jeffrey Lichtman, said he would fight the charges.

Rosemond is accused in court papers of being involved in a cocaine distribution ring that ran drugs from Los Angeles to New York City, starting in 2008. In the papers, the DEA accuses Rosemond of being the leader of the organization that distributed hundreds of kilograms of cocaine and generated millions of dollars in sales.

Traffickers changed their methods of moving the drugs over time, according to court papers. Before 2010, they sent drugs through FedEx and UPS, sometimes vacuum-sealed and covered with mustard to hide the smell from drug-sniffing dogs.

Later, cocaine was smuggled in so-called "road cases" like those used to carry music equipment. Court papers say that road cases containing cocaine were sent to music studios in New York City, and afterward, members of the drug ring organization would retrieve them and distribute the cocaine.

The proceeds from the coke sales would then be packed back into the road cases and sent to music studios in Los Angeles.

Court papers say high-level members of the drug ring cooperated in the investigation.

Rosemond was also recently accused by a federal inmate of orchestrating a plot to ambush rapper Tupac Shakur outside a recording studio more than a decade ago.

Shakur was hit five times in the 1994 shooting at the Quad Studios in Manhattan. He survived but was later gunned down in a slaying that remains unsolved.

Last week, Lichtman said his client had nothing to do with Shakur's shooting. The accusations against Rosemond were levied online and attributed to Dexter Isaac, who is serving a life sentence in an unrelated murder-for-hire plot. 

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