Edmond had become a street legend in but a few years. D.C.-based movie director Kirk Frazer would make a movie about him. Hip-hop artists invoked his name in their lyrics. Young street kids not even born when Edmond ruled the streets claim to be his offspring or made in his likeness.
Edmond, when he was arrested at age 24, had become D.C.'s biggest, most successful and feared crack-cocaine dealer. He was a D.C. native who grew up on M Street, NE. He was smart, a really good basketball player, charismatic with a quick laugh and constant ear-to-ear smile.
Like a lot of the young drug dealers around him, Edmond wasn't poor. His mother and his father had government jobs. But by age 9, he had been exposed to the drug life by his father, Rayful Edmond II. The drug business was equal opportunity; a chance to leap over the rest of the working class into a land of riches.
The people who got hooked on drugs were frowned upon, but the young drug dealers on the corners, the drug bosses and their lieutenants were often considered pillars of the neighborhood.
The influx of drug money into their neighborhoods bought groceries, fancy designer clothes, expensive cars and travel, team uniforms and the best seats at college, Bullets and Redskins games. Drug dealers had cash on hand day and night. They were the ATMs before there were ATMs.
The young drug dealers often had their choice of girlfriends, too. Many of them, like Edmond, left babies behind who had to be reared by young mothers and grandparents after the young father went off to prison. Edmond left two sons when he went away to prison on multiple life sentences.
By any measure as a young drug dealer, Edmond exceeded all expectations. By the time he was 22, investigators said he employed 150 people, many of them juveniles who worked the street corners as crack pushers or lookouts on guard for lurking plainclothes cops.
They planned escape routes down alleys and through boarded up row houses when cops jumped out of their vehicles. Depending on which federal investigator was telling the story, the Edmond drug organization was grossing $200 million per week or $300 million annually.
Rubin Castaneda was a Washington Post reporter assigned to cover the crack epidemic when he became hooked on crack. He describes his work at the time as a roller coaster.
"For me, as a reporter covering this was like being on a perpetual adrenaline rush," Castaneda said. "There was non-stop drug dealing, slingers on the street 24/7 and you had violence break out as young men and dealers fought for turf, so it was not safe to live on these blocks."
Castaneda, who wrote a book "S Street Rising" about his own drug involvement said Edmond wasn't the only big drug dealer in D.C. and his arrest had little impact on the city's bustling drug trade.
"There were probably dozens of Rayful Edmonds in terms of young men who ran blocks and sold a lot of drugs responsible for high levels of violence," Castaneda said.
The bulk of the crack and cocaine demand came from working stiffs of all colors, from the city and its suburbs. They started out as recreational users, moving to the cheaper crack from marijuana and PCP. Their vehicles crowded Hanover, Florida Avenue, Orleans and the Trinidad neighborhoods by day and night.
It was a very violent time, fueled by the crack epidemic and vicious turf bales. D.C. became known as "The Murder Capital." Edmond was never charged with murder, but he wasn't clean by any measure.
A drug business this big needed an army to protect the enterprise which eventually covered nearly a third of the District of Columbia. At least 30 homicides were tied to the Edmond organization.