Record firm ‘used in drug ring’
THE record company behind Irish rockers U2 has allegedly been unwittingly used by a multi-million dollar drugs trafficking ring.
A year-long investigation by the US Drugs Enforcement Authority (DEA) is alleged to have uncovered a racket where the band's record company, Interscope Records, was being used to transport Class A drugs and money inside the United States.
It is understood that the record company's Californian headquarters was being used for pick-ups and deliveries of hundreds of kilograms of cocaine while a New York recording studio at the other end was also being used for the drug and cash shipments.
Members of the drugs ring allegedly used musical equipment called “road cases” for shipping cocaine from Los Angeles to New York, between January 2010 and June 2011. On the way back, the same cases were filled with hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, according to documents filed in a US court.
The illegal trading was allegedly going on for 18 months, but it was not alleged that Interscope Records or its staff knew or were involved in any drug shipments. The allegation was contained in a letter detailing evidence against James Rosemond, a music-industry manager and head of Czar Entertainment.
Mr Rosemond, 46, known as ‘Jimmy Henchmen', is a rap music manager who represents artist The Game. He was indicted three months ago on drug trafficking charges. Federal prosecutors say Interscope employees knew nothing about Mr Rosemond’s alleged drug smuggling. However, it is not yet understood how Mr Rosemond's team got access to Interscope's Californian headquarters to drop off and take the shipments.
The ring is alleged to have used a New York recording studio at the other end for the drugs and cash shipments, the Wall Street Journal reported. The cases were shipped by music gear specialists RockIt Cargo, which is the company responsible for shipping U2's musical equipment around the world — including during their latest 360 tour. However, there is no suggestion in the filing that RockIt Cargo knew what was inside the cases.
RockIt has not commented. Interscope chairman Jimmy Iovine, long a highprofile executive within the music industry, has recently become something of a household name thanks to American Idol, which he joined last season to provide creative guidance to contestants. His company, which is part of Universal, released a statement yesterday afternoon.
“Interscope Records has been informed by the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York that there is no evidence that any employee of UMG or Interscope Records had any involvement in the drug trafficking ring being prosecuted by that office,” the statement read.
Mr Rosemond's lawyer Jeffrey Lichtman has confirmed that his client has denied the charges.