ALEXANDRIA – (Press Release) A former probation officer pleaded guilty today to obstructing a federal grand jury investigation into armed drug traffickers and gang members.
According to court documents, Abass Conteh, 28, of Dumfries, served as a Virginia Department of Corrections Probation and Parole Officer working in Prince William County in 2017. As part of his duties, Conteh met with law enforcement officers and discussed ongoing criminal investigations, including with a Prince William County Police Department (PWCPD) gang detective.
During the course of 2017, Conteh used his cell phone and social media accounts to convey confidential law enforcement information about ongoing federal investigations into drug traffickers and gang members. Conteh learned this information from the PWCPD detective and other sources. During these communications, Conteh provided advice to individuals under investigation on how to avoid being prosecuted.
For example, Conteh, informed his cousin Nasiru Carew, a multi-time convicted felon, that federal law enforcement were investigating the individuals who supplied local rappers with guns, money, and drugs. Conteh revealed further information to Carew he learned from the PWCPD detective, including that the “FEDS got they eye on Shy Glizzy and GG etc. The FEDS are investigating MS-13 and the [expletive] supplying the guns, the drugs, and money.”
In March 2017, Conteh informed Carew that federal law enforcement were investigating Tarvell Vandiver, who was the leader of the Imperial Gangsta Blood gang. Carew later passed this information to Vandiver, who he had conspired with to distribute controlled substances.
In December 2017, the PWCPD Detective informed Conteh that federal law enforcement were investigating Alpha Kamara and his sources of supply for narcotics. Shortly thereafter, Conteh revealed the information to Carew and later another individual. Conteh wrote, “[The PWCPD detective] brought All their names up. He never brought their names up until Alpha got womped. The feds goal is to find the supplier for the guns and drugs… They can’t do [expletive] to nobody if alpha [Kamara] don’t snitch”.
In January 2018, Kamara pleaded guilty to being an armed drug trafficker (1:18-cr-12). In April, Carew pleaded guilty to a drug trafficking offense (1:18-cr-8). In May, Vandiver pleaded guilty to drug trafficking and firearms offenses (1:18-cr-16).
Conteh pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice and faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison when sentenced on Feb. 22, 2019. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Conteh, Carew, Vandiver, and Kamara were prosecuted as part of Operation Tin Panda, which has resulted in 44 federal convictions and was investigated as part of the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF). The OCDETF program is a federal multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional task force that supplies supplemental federal funding to federal and state agencies involved in the identification, investigation, and prosecution of major drug trafficking organizations. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking, and money laundering organizations, and those primarily responsible for the nation’s illegal drug supply.