Update: Interscope reps have responded to allegations that their L.A. offices were involved in the narcotics ring described below. Washing their hands of Rosemond, they call reports of Interscope's involvement "erroneous and completely unsupported," asserting that his alleged use of their offices as a pickup and delivery point were unknown to the company. You can read the full statement here.
The Drug Enforcement Administration has indicted rap music manager James Rosemond -- the man accused of arranging the 1994 attack on Tupac Shakur -- on 18 felony charges, following a year-long investigation of a narcotics ring involving Interscope Records.
According to The Smoking Gun, the label's Los Angeles offices were used as a pickup and delivery point for cross-country shipments of cash and cocaine packed in music road cases.
The 46-year-old Rosemond, who faces up to life in prison, was apprehended in June for his alleged role, since 2008, as the "principal leader" of a cocaine distribution ring. The arrest came just days after confessed-Tupac-shooter Dexter Isaac claimed that he had been hired and paid by Rosemond for the hit job that led to the bi-coastal rap feud that left both Shakur and Notorious B.I.G. dead. A controversial Los Angeles Times report in 2008 claims Rosemond orchestrated the hit because Shakur refused to take him on as his manager.
Though the DEA's indictments are unrelated to the shooting, the news comes during the week marking the 15th anniversary of Shakur's death. Rosemond is currently being held at Manhattan's Metropolitan Correctional Center, without the possibility of bail.
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The Smoking Gun notes that, while it remains unclear how members Rosemond's group had access to Interscrope's offices, Game -- the rapper he once managed -- is signed to the label. Moreover, according to the web site, a tour manager for the L.A.-based MC has been implicated in the drug ring as well.
According to investigators, the music cases were sometimes stuffed with kilos of cocaine and sometimes with around $1 million in cash. Though Rosemond considered himself a leader of hip-hop's "no snitch" movement, it seems his former associates have had no problems doing exactly that, providing prosecutors and DEA agents with accounts of trips to music studios to pick up the cash- and coke-stuffed cases.
A U.S. District Court filing by investigators alleges that Rosemond, who headed music and talent management firm Czar Entertainment, was able to "disguise these shipments as legitimate freight that was ostensibly needed by the performance artists he managed."
So when exactly did Rosemond's house of cards begin to fall? Sometime in late December, thanks to a tip from Khalil Abdullah, a key member of the Rosemond's drug ring who struck a cooperation deal with investigators after getting into some hot water of his own for drug trafficking. That tip lead to the seizure of a case from a New York City studio containing close to $800,000 cash -- which Game's yet-unnamed road manager was allegedly about to have shipped to Los Angeles.