WASHINGTON — A federal judge reduced the prison sentence of one of the legendary drug lords police deemed responsible for the historic 1980s crack cocaine wars that took over D.C. neighborhoods.
Rayful Edmond III, 55, was slated to die in prison, but a judge has changed his sentence from life without parole to 20 years.
Officials said Edmond's assistance as an informant to bring justice to murder cases and putting dozens of other drug dealers in jail made him valuable and helped lower his sentence.
Edmond's information and testimony over the years put away a killer responsible for 30 murders and helped unspool the Cali and Medellin cartel operations in the U.S.
Investigators revealed Edmond was a cellmate of Pablo Escobar’s future brother-in-law. Retired prosecutor Richard Watkins said that after Edmond was caught in 1994 directing Colombian cocaine into D.C. using prison phones, he decided to cooperate with investigators despite the threat of death.
At a sentence reduction hearing conducted in U.S. District Court in 2019, Edmond told the court that he wanted to get out of prison and become a pastor.
"I would love to be able to go into the community to help law enforcement and to help kids change their lives," Edmond testified in 2019.
Judge Emmet Sullivan predicted the unique circumstances of the case would make it, "the most challenging decision of my judicial career."
Edmond was known as one of the biggest drug lords in D.C. back in the 1980s. He ran a huge crack cocaine ring and was making about $2 million a week.
He was convicted in 1989, which means he has already served his 20 years and then some.
It is still unclear if he'll be released soon. Edmond is still facing a separate 30-year sentence for dealing drugs out of Pennsylvania federal prison.