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30 years ago: DC's crack kingpin Rayful Edmond arrested at just 24. Here's how he built his empire

DC's biggest and most destructive drug dealer was sentenced to prison 30 years ago for the rest of his life, but now Edmond may be set free.

Bruce Johnson, Stephanie Wilson, Melissa Toms, Cari Hernandez, Tiffany McNeil, Haleigh Purvis, Saliqa A. Khan

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Published: 10:20 PM EDT April 14, 2019
Updated: 10:24 AM EDT April 16, 2019

After nearly 30 years in prison, most of that time divided between maximum security and witness protection, Rayful Edmond III, the biggest drug dealer in the Washington, D.C.'s history, could be on his way back home.

Sometime in May, Edmond is expected in a U.S. District courtroom where he will try to convince a federal judge to let him go free with time served. Most D.C. murder sentences end a lot sooner than Edmond's 30 years in prison.

Here is the real surprise: The federal government supports the 54-year-old's bid to go free. Federal prosecutors and prison officials filed a motion to reduce his life sentences. It's a move that, observers said, is highly unlikely and rare.

The government is arguing that Edmond's assistance in breaking up other drug operations has been invaluable. They said he has led them to more than 100 drug dealers arrests, prosecutions and convictions.

The case has been assigned to U.S. Court District Judge Emmet Sullivan.

Even though in the court motion the government doesn't explicitly ask for "time served," WUSA9 has learned that officials do believe Edmond should be allowed to go free. 

Edmond's cooperation with federal agents is described as taking on many forms, ranging from assisting in the conviction of extremely violent individuals, to assisting in the investigation of ongoing narcotics trafficking to assisting in the institution of prison reforms. They characterize the defendant’s cooperation as both deep and wide.

If you go back to April 15, 1989, who could have predicted such an outcome?