Detroit — A federal judge Tuesday rejected a request from convicted Black Mafia Family cocaine kingpin Demetrius "Big Meech" Flenory to leave federal prison 11 years early amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
The request for compassionate release from a federal prison in Oregon is premature, U.S. District Judge David Lawson wrote, because federal officials have not responded to a separate request based on Flenory's health problems.
The 51-year-old native of southwest Detroit headed the Black Mafia Family drug ring with brother Terry Flenory. The national drug organization reaped $270 million in profits, employed more than 500 people and distributed thousands of kilograms of cocaine. The drug ring operated in cities in 11 states, including Detroit, Atlanta, Miami, St. Louis, Los Angeles and Birmingham, Alabama.
The Atlanta hub alone distributed 2,500 kilos each month.
The Flenory brothers were sentenced to 30 years in federal prison in 2008. Terry Flenory was scheduled to be released Tuesday as part of a broader effort by officials to stem the spread of a virus that, according to federal prison data, has killed at least 40 inmates and infected more than 2,300 prisoners and staffers.
U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents toppled the cocaine empire in 2005 by arresting the brothers along with more than 100 co-conspirators. Investigators seized $21 million worth of assets, including cash; jewelry; 13 homes in Metro Detroit, Georgia and Los Angeles; and three dozen vehicles, including a Lincoln limousine.
Demetrius Flenory laundered money through his rap label and promotions business, BMF Entertainment, and co-owned JUICE Magazine. BMF Entertainment takes credit for helping launch the career of the rapper Jeezy.
Flenory proposed living with relatives either in Florida or Michigan.
Prosecutors opposed releasing Demetrius Flenory, saying he did not deserve the same treatment as Terry Flenory.
Demetrius Flenory has a checkered disciplinary record. He has spent time in solitary confinement, illegally possessed a cell phone and a small piece of a razor blade while in prison and has used intoxicants, according to court records.
Demetrius Flenory argued he is susceptible to COVID-19 due to his age and health problems, including including hypertension and heart trouble."