Federal prosecutors say that the offices of Interscope Records were used by a drug-trafficking ring as a transit point for cases filled with cocaine and cash, according to a report in the Smoking Gun published Thursday.
The allegation was included in a letter containing evidence against James "Jimmy Henchman" Rosemond, the CEO of Czar Entertainment and manager of rapper the Game, who was indicted on 18 felony charges this week for his role in drug trafficking ring. Rosemond is being held without bail in Manhattan's Metropolitan Correctional Center.
A yearlong Drug Enforcement Administration investigation states that the Los Angeles offices of Interscope Records were used for pickups and deliveries of hundreds of kilograms of cocaine in 2010 and 2011. Shipping company Rock-It Cargo, which has a lengthy list of musical clients, shipped music cases that allegedly contained drugs to New York studios.
A spokesperson for Universal Music, of which Interscope is a division, had not responded by Billboard's request for comment at press time.
Using 65 pages of records from Rock-It Cargo, prosecutor Todd Kaminsky said the documents were "specifically referencing pickups and deliveries at … Interscope Records" and a recording studio on Manhattan's West Side.
The Smoking Gun reported that the road manager for Game, who records for Interscope, was also implicated in Rock-It Cargo's records.
According to the indictments, road cases containing cocaine would arrive at music studios in New York City for sale by Rosemond's associates. The cash proceeds would then be loaded in the cases and shipped back to Los Angeles. They used the alias "Peter Davis" for shipping and renting studios.
After a road case was seized in early 2011, Rosemond allegedly switched to using automobiles with hidden compartments to ship drugs.
The Smoking Gun reported that Khalil Abdullah, a Rosemond associate who recently pleaded guilty to narcotics trafficking and obstruction of justice charges, struck a cooperation deal with prosecutors. Late last year, Abdullah tipped DEA agents that a case containing nearly $800,000 was about to be shipped to Los Angeles from New York, which they then seized.
Billboard.biz will have more on this story as it develops.