News & Politics

Rayful Edmond, Onetime DC Drug Lord, Has His Life Sentence Reduced

Still, it's unlikely he'll be heading home soon.

The effort to free Rayful Edmond III from prison got a boost today, when a federal judge agreed to reduce the former DC drug dealer’s life sentence.

Edmond, who allegedly ruled a large part of DC’s crack-cocaine market in the 1980s, has been serving that sentence since 1990, when he was convicted for his role in the alleged criminal enterprise.

About two years ago, however, an unlikely group of advocates—federal prosecutors—asked the court to to shorten Edmond’s sentence because the former kingpin had been secretly helping the Justice Department take down other criminals as an informant. In 2019, DC attorney general Karl Racine even surveyed District residents about the matter.

It was left to U.S. District Court judge Emmet Sullivan to determine how to balance Edmond’s assistance to law enforcement against his years of harm to the city. Today, the judge agreed to reduce the 56 year-old Edmond’s sentence to 20 years; he has already served 31 years. You can read Sullivan’s 72 page ruling here, via DCist 

Still, as the Post points out, it’s unlikely that Edmond will he heading home soon. He still faces a pending, three-decade-long sentence for drug dealing in Pennsylvania. 

Senior Writer

Luke Mullins is a senior writer at Washingtonian magazine focusing on the people and institutions that control the city’s levers of power. He has written about the Koch Brothers’ attempt to take over The Cato Institute, David Gregory’s ouster as moderator of NBC’s Meet the Press, the collapse of Washington’s Metro system, and the conflict that split apart the founders of Politico.