The conviction of Moore, once listed by the FBI as one of the District’s most dangerous people, was a victory 20 years in the making for area law enforcement officials.
“When we find someone who is a repeat criminal, sooner or later we’re going to catch them and hold them accountable,” said Maryland U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein.
Investigators have thought repeatedly over the years that they had airtight evidence against Moore — only to be thwarted by acquittals or deadlocked juries. Moore and his family maintained his innocence, eventually accusing prosecutors of unduly targeting him out of frustration with their inability to secure a conviction. Moore’s mother, Teresa Richardson, accused prosecutors of carrying out a “vendetta.”
Unlike previous investigations, there were no wiretaps, undercover informants or federal agents involved in the arrest. Instead, the trial at the U.S. District Court in Greenbelt grew out of a routine stop that officials from the small suburban department would later describe as luck.
In September 2010, an officer from the Takoma Park Police Department spotted Moore walking down a quiet residential street with what looked like an open bottle of beer, the patrolman Keith Hubley testified. Moore tossed the bottle into some plants and took off.
Two witnesses testified about the ensuing foot chase and said they saw a plastic bag Moore had been clutching arc in the air toward a trash bin as Moore ran. Authorities later determined that the bag contained nearly a half-kilo of cocaine.
“I have no reason to suspect these neighbors were lying. Why would they lie?” Judge Alexander Williams Jr. said.
“His credibility is just shot with me,” Williams said of Moore. “It’s shot.”
In the basement apartment Moore rented nearby, police found a gallon-size pickle jar under the kitchen sink filled with liquid phencyclidine, commonly known as PCP. In the bedroom closet, tucked among Moore’s clothes, police said they found a brown paper bag containing more than $44,000 in cash and two guns — a loaded .38-caliber revolver and a .44-caliber semiautomatic pistol.
During the five-day trial, there were more than 20 witnesses, including a D.C. narcotics detective, a co-founder of the anti-youth violence group Peaceoholics and even Moore’s landlord. A convicted bank robber testified about investing in a documentary on Moore’s harassment over the years by the criminal justice system.
Prosecutors portrayed Moore as a sophisticated drug dealer who tried to stay off the grid by concealing his address, operating with large amounts of cash and frequently changing his cellphone number.
“It almost worked for Mr. Moore,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven E. Swaney said in his closing argument Monday.