Leon Durwood Harvey of Alexandria was found guilty yesterday of racketeering and running a criminal enterprise that smuggled drugs worth $36 million into the United States during an eight-year period, distributing most of them in Northern Virginia.
U.S. District Judge Albert V. Bryan Jr. also found 37-year-old Harvey guilty of tax evasion, customs violations, money laundering and obstruction of justice after a three-day trial in Alexandria.
Bryan found Harvey not guilty of one count charging him with conspiracy to illegally possess and transfer machine guns, one count of abetting a violation of customs laws and one count of abetting interstate travel to promote an unlawful activity.
Harvey, who faces a minimum sentence of 10 years with no parole and a maximum of life imprisonment, showed no emotion yesterday when Bryan announced his verdict. Sentencing is set for Feb. 14.
"I will advise him to appeal," said Harvey's court-appointed lawyer, John Zwerling.
"I'm glad to see the conclusion after five years of investigation," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Karen P. Tandy, the chief prosecutor on the case.
Tandy said investigations conducted by the Alexandria grand jury, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Internal Revenue Service, the FBI and U.S. Customs have resulted in convictions of about 40 people for their roles in the drug ring that grossed an estimated $100 million since 1974 by importing and distributing marijuana and hashish.
Harvey was the only defendant connected to the drug ring who did not make a plea agreement with the government. Twelve of the government's 17 witnesses were former associates of Harvey and included Robert Reckmeyer of McLean. Reckmeyer and his brother Christopher pleaded guilty last year to running a multimillion-dollar drug operation based in Northern Virginia.
"Mr. [Robert] Reckmeyer was Mr. Harvey's Northern Virginia drug distributor," Tandy told Bryan yesterday, summarizing testimony from Reckmeyer that he bought marijuana and hashish from Harvey.
The government's witnesses testified that Harvey smuggled drugs into the United States on boats from the Bahamas, Thailand, Lebanon and Jamaica.
Much of the government's evidence was aimed at proving that Harvey ran a continuing criminal enterprise by overseeing the activities of at least five people in his drug trafficking. This offense carries a mandatory 10-year minimum sentence with no parole.
Zwerling told Bryan that Harvey, "while guilty of many things, was not supervising" the drug operations, but "was a facilitator to get people together."
"If he wasn't supervising, he certainly was an organizer," which was enough to convict him of running a criminal enterprise, Bryan said.
Bryan also rejected testimony from the defense's only witness, certified public accountant Paul W. Klassett, that Harvey's illegal income from his drug activities was not taxable income because under federal law it was forfeit to the government from the moment Harvey committed his criminal acts.
Bryan ordered all Harvey's assets, which the government said included bank accounts in the Bahamas and Europe and a Mercedes-Benz car, forfeited.