While he has not been charged with a crime -- and at press time appeared unlikely to be -- rapper Young Jeezy (real name: Jay Jenkins) was implicated last week in a major cocaine-dealing ring, according to Atlanta's alternative newsweekly, Creative Loafing.
Prosecution witness Ralph "Ralphie" Simms, who was indicted last year in a related federal drug case in Los Angeles, has been cooperating with the federal government as it continues to build its cocaine-conspiracy case against alleged Black Mafia Family member Fleming "Ill" Daniels, the paper reported. Simms reportedly told the jury that he is hoping his cooperation will result in a reduced sentence.
Simms, testifying in U.S. District Court in Atlanta, told the court that Jeezy -- whose nickname is the "Snowman" -- was on the receiving end of multiple kilos of cocaine from the Black Mafia Family, a drug gang accused of moving hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of the drug across the country.
According to Creative Loafing, Simms testified that he worked for the Black Mafia Family and that he was charged with unloading the gang's cocaine from limousines with secret compartments. He told the court that he'd pile hundreds of bricks of coke in various stash houses and that, back in fall 2004, high-ranking BMF members Chad "J-Bo" Brown and Martez "Tito" Byrth ordered him to set aside multi-kilo cocaine "shipments" for two customers.
One of them, he said, was "Jeezy."
"The rapper?" Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert McBurney asked.
"Yes," Simms replied.
When contacted by MTV News, Jeezy's publicist and manager said the artist had no comment about the allegations. Meanwhile, Justice Department spokesman Patrick Crosby said that the department does not discuss or confirm pending investigations, but that it wasn't his experience that allegations made from the stand ever translate into actual criminal proceedings.
"Not in the 22 years I have covered court cases as a reporter, nor in all my time with the Justice Department," Crosby said. "A defendant or witness can trot out any name they want. It happens all the time."
Creative Loafing reports that Jeezy's name did come up several times during the first few days of the trial but only in relation to the rapper's friendship with BMF's reputed Atlanta leader, Demetrius "Big Meech" Flenory, who pleaded guilty in Detroit to running a continuing criminal enterprise and faces a minimum sentence of 20 years.