May 6, 2020 – The United States Attorneys Office in Detroit is objecting to the early release of revered drug baron Demetrius (Big Meech) Flenory from his 30-year prison term. Flenory, 51 years old and ubiquitous in hip-hop culture, is seeking a compassionate release because of the COVID-19 health crisis like his little brother and co-defendant, Terry, was granted last week. The Flenorys controlled large swaths of the American wholesale cocaine market in the 1990s and the first half of the 2000s.

Terry (Southwest T) Flenory, 50, walked out of a federal correctional facility in Kentucky Tuesday morning and will serve out the remainder of his sentence on home confinement in Detroit. Big Meech’s attempt to do the same has received push back from the feds. Matthew Schneider, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, filed a response brief to Flenory’s bid for compassionate release last Friday with U.S. District Court Judge David Lawson, arguing that Big Meech should be denied relief from his original 30-year sentence, in part, because he has a “pending murder charge,” out of Atlanta, hanging over his head.

Lawson will rule on Flenory’s release on May 17. He took over the case from retired U.S. District Court Judge Avern Cohn, who presided over the crippling 50-person Operation Motor City Mafia indictment from when it dropped in the fall of 2005 until he stepped down from the bench back in December. Flenory is locked up in Oregon and his scheduled release date is in October 2031.

Big Meech and Southwest T were convicted in 2007 of leading the Black Mafia Family, the biggest urban cocaine empire in American history. During their nearly-unfathomable 15-year run atop the dope game, they made hundreds of millions of dollars and established franchises all across the country, embedding themselves in hip-hop culture and underworld lore alike for defining what a New Millennium drug kingpin was.

Both Flenorys pleaded guilty in the landmark Operation Motor City Mafia case on the morning their jury trial was supposed to start in November 2007. Big Meech is name-checked in hip-hop lyrics from a variety of chart-topping MCs and was the inspiration for the birth of “trap rap.” The genre’s main pioneer, Young Jeezy was close to Big Meech at the height of his power and BMF was a “silent investor” in Young Jeezy’s career. A BMF informant placed Young Jeezy (real name Jay Kenkins) as part of a drug deal in Atlanta overseen by a BMF crew chief in the early 2000s.

The ambitious and juiced-in Flenory brothers started BMF in Detroit in the 1990, selling $50 dollar bags of powder out of a series of trap houses in a cluster of low-income industrial suburbs. By the end of the decade, Big Meech was living in Atlanta and Southwest T was located in Los Angeles. Together, they oversaw 23 strategically-placed satellite crews in different city centers coast-to-coast and took over a sizable chunk of the nation’s coke market with diplomacy and acumen instead of reckless brute force and unnecessary violence.

In 2003, Big Meech was charged with the murder of Anthony (Wolf) Jones and Lamont (Riz) Girdy outside an Atlanta nightclub, but had the charges dropped after claiming self-defense. Presumably, the Jones-Girdy homicide is the “pending murder charge” that the U.S. Attorney’s Office is referencing in its response brief. There is no statute of limitations for murder and the FBI in Georgia still considers the double-homicide an open case.

Wolf Jones was music mogul Puff Daddy’s bodyguard and had scuffled with Big Meech and his crew over a girl inside Club Chaos on November 11, 2003. Jones was booted from the club, linked up with his friend Riz Girdy and waited for Flenory and his entourage in the parking lot by Big Meech’s Cadillac SUV until the club closed. The shooting occurred when Jones confronted Flenory as Flenory and his bodyguard attempted to get in the vehicle and leave. Big Meech and his bodyguard were wounded in the gun fight.

The Flenory brothers were a picture in contrast: Big Meech was the magnetic and decadent face of the organization, hobnobbing with celebrities, rappers and pro athletes, leaning into the role of new-era drug don, in contrast to his baby bro Southwest T who was more understated and deliberate in his movements on the west coast.

Southwest T ran the BMF homebase in Detroit remotely from his mansion in California through a cadre of “capos” and childhood friends back in Motown. Big Meech commissioned billboards with a Scarface-theme, declaring “The World is BMF’s,” and had them put up along I-75 Highway, the route driven between Detroit and Atlanta. He started his own rap label and magazine. Tensions between the siblings and their respective crews grew.

The feds finally brought the Flenorys and their highly-structured drug kingdom down in October 2005, charging 50 BMF leaders and associates with running a continual criminal enterprise the likes and scope of which the DEA had never seen before. By the end of their reign, Big Meech and Southwest T, were no longer on speaking terms, but have since reconciled.

Everyone from the historic case, besides Big Meech and his third-in-command Fleming (ILL) Daniels, have been released. Daniels, 47, is serving a life sentence for a separate murder case in a Georgia state prison. The murder Daniels was convicted of took place in the parking lot of an Atlanta nightclub in similar fashion to the shooting involving Big Meech and Wolf Jones which had occurred months prior.

Rapper and actor 50 Cent is producing a television series on the rise and fall of BMF for Starz, where 50 Cent was behind the hit show Power for the last five years. Power scribe Randy Huggins, a native Detroiter, will be the showrunner for the upcoming BMF show.

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