Denies ordering Tupac Shakur shooting
CADMAN PLAZA EAST (AP) — A hip-hop industry agent likely faces life in prison after being found guilty of federal drug-trafficking charges in Brooklyn. And he still denies ordering a hit on a legendary rapper.
The jury verdict against James "Jimmy Henchman" Rosemond came after a three-week trial in Downtown Brooklyn. Rosemond’s trial had also rejuvenated past allegations that he had orchestrated the non-fatal shooting of Tupac Shakur prior to his murder in 1996.
Rosemond, the head of New York-based Czar Entertainment, was charged last year with running a coast-to-coast drug ring that used music equipment cases to transport cocaine and drug money. The 47-year-old Rosemond had claimed he was framed.
Rosemond's website says he was behind hits including Salt-N-Pepa's "Shoop" and represented The Game, 50 Cent and other artists.
Last year, an internet report attributed to a prisoner alleged Rosemond orchestrated a 1994 ambush that wounded Shakur outside a Manhattan recording studio.
The allegations were attributed to Dexter Isaac, who is serving a life sentence in an unrelated murder-for-hire plot. The website said he claimed Rosemond paid him $2,500 to rob and shoot the legendary rapper.
Shakur was hit five times in the shooting at the Quad Studios in Manhattan in 1994. He survived but was later gunned down in Las Vegas in a slaying that remains unsolved.
The mystery surrounding Shakur’s death has fueled interest in the smallest of details about his life, as well as the old-school feud between East Coast and West Coast rap that some say contributed to his killing, as well as that of local rapper Notorious B.I.G. of Clinton Hill
Isaac stole jewelry off Shakur and handed over a diamond ring to Rosemond after the late-night ambush, according to the internet post.
“I still have the chain that we took that night,” he wrote, according to the post.
New York City police were investigating the claims last year, though it’s not clear if anyone would face charges, in part because the incident occurred about 17 years ago.
Erin Mulvey, a spokeswoman for the Drug Enforcement Administration, refused to comment on Isaac. Rosemond said the accusations posted online were lies fabricated because Isaac is upset he was outed as a government informant. The post is rife with bitterness directed at Rosemond.
“Now I would like to clear up a few things, because the statute of limitations is over, and no one can be charged, and I’m just plain tired of listening to your lies,” according to the post.
Isaac was convicted in the 1997 murder-for-hire shooting death of cab driver Waleed Hammouda. The victim’s wife, Micheline, offered Isaac property in exchange for killing her husband. She was also convicted. Isaac is serving life in prison and was transferred last year to the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn from a prison in Colorado.
Meanwhile, Rosemond had been a fugitive briefly last year before he was discovered hiding out at a popular Manhattan hotel. According to Brooklyn federal prosecutors, he had been holed up at the W New York in Union Square under a false name.
His well-known defense attorney Gerald Shargel, a Brooklyn Law School professor, said he would appeal the conviction.
According to the drug-related complaint filed in Brooklyn, a joint DEA-Internal Revenue Service probe of Rosemond relied on several cooperating witnesses. They include a Los Angeles dealer who pleaded guilty to charges he supplied more than 100 kilograms of cocaine to the ring over a two-year period. The complaint says agents intercepted a phone call last year during which Rosemond fretted about being watched by law enforcement.
“I can’t be online no more,” it quotes him as saying. “I don’t even have a phone with me. I’m going from phone booth to phone booth.”
To avoid detection, Rosemond devised a system that avoided using overnight delivery services, the complaint says.
Members of Rosemond’s crew instead stashed cocaine in road cases and sent them to New York music studios, the complaint says. The cases were then shipped back to Los Angeles packed with cash.
In 2010, agents seized a road case containing $790,000 “packaged in vacuum-sealed plastic in $100,000 bundles,” the complaint says. The seizure prompted Rosemond to switch tactics, stashing drugs in hidden compartments in cars that were transported from coast to coast.
Additional reporting by Ryan Thompson of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.
June 6, 2012 - 3:46pm