DOCUMENT: Celebrity, Crime

Rosemond Hit With 13-Count Drug Indictment

No mention of Tupac assault in new federal charges

James Rosemond

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Rosemond Indictment

JULY 6--A federal grand jury has indicted hip-hop manager James Rosemond on 13 felony charges for allegedly heading a cocaine trafficking ring that grossed more than $10 million annually and allowed the music industry figure to purchase luxury New York City condominiums that the government now wants to seize.

But while Rosemond, 46, has been accused of an assortment of felonious behavior--crimes that could land him in prison for life--the 21-page indictment filed in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn makes no mention of his alleged role in orchestrating the 1994 shooting of Tupac Shakur at a Manhattan recording studio.

Dexter Isaac, a federal inmate serving life, last month claimed that Rosemond hired him to assault Shakur. Though Isaac, 48, also told federal investigators this tale, the Rosemond indictment includes no counts related to Shakur, who survived the Quad Studios attack (only to die two years later as a result of a shooting in Las Vegas).

The indictment, excerpted here, charges Rosemond (pictured above with Wyclef Jean) with occupying a “supervisory and management position” in a continuing criminal enterprise that trafficked cocaine from January 2007 until Rosemond’s month-long stint as a fugitive ended with his arrest late last month. In addition to cocaine distribution and possession, Rosemond is facing conspiracy, money laundering, and obstruction of justice counts.

Rosemond, who is being held without bail at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in lower Manhattan, is scheduled to be arraigned later this morning before Judge John Gleeson. He is the lead defendant in the indictment, which charges four other men, including Rosemond’s older brother Mario. Rosemond’s brother Kesner has already pleaded guilty to cocaine trafficking charges and is awaiting sentencing.

According to court affidavits sworn by Drug Enforcement Administration agents, Rosemond’s organization shipped cocaine from Los Angeles to New York, where it was distributed for street-level sales. The narcotics were initially sent via overnight services like Federal Express, but later cocaine was hidden inside “road cases” that were sent to and from recording studios on each coast.

Rosemond’s indictment includes provisions seeking the criminal forfeiture of a $1 million condo along the Hudson River on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. The deed to the one-bedroom Riverside Boulevard apartment is held in the name of a limited liability corporation for which Rosemond serves as “Manager,” according to real estate records.

The government also wants to seize a pair of apartments in BellTel Lofts, a downtown Brooklyn condominium conversion. Purchased in mid-2008, the apartments (floorplans at left) in the 1929 Art Deco building cost Rosemond a combined $2.6 million and were subsequently joined in a high-end renovation that investigators believe cost in excess of $600,000 more.

In one court filing, federal investigators reported that a contractor told them that, “one of Rosemond’s confidants handed him a knapsack full of cash as payment” for his services. Additionally, “over a two-week span in 2009, Rosemond paid $120,000 cash to two contractors.”

Until going on the lam, Rosemond lived in the sprawling 20th floor space with his family (there is only one other apartment on the floor). With 14-foot high ceilings and expansive views from its terrace, the residence is the most obvious manifestation of Rosemond’s prosperity. His future criminal trial will likely determine whether that success resulted from legitimate endeavors. (4 pages)