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Suspect's Trip to Movies Is Just the Ticket for Officials, Who Arrest Him

June 12, 2002|ERIC MALNIC | TIMES STAFF WRITER

An alleged drug kingpin who bought a ticket to "The Sum of All Fears" may have realized his own a few minutes later when he was arrested at a movie theater in Long Beach, the U.S. marshal's office said Tuesday.

Darrell Dwight Bellamy, 33, is suspected of heading a narcotics network that distributed more than 150 kilograms of cocaine and half a ton of marijuana in Arizona, Oklahoma, Illinois and Michigan over about eight years, officials said.

He is accused by a grand jury in Tulsa, Okla., of torturing a woman by dipping her feet in boiling oil and branding her arm with a hot iron after she lost more than $291,000 in drug receipts.

Deputy Marshal Kurt Ellingson said marshals followed Bellamy from a nearby home to the AMC theaters on Pine Avenue on Monday afternoon after receiving a tip on his whereabouts from investigators in Oklahoma.

"He purchased a ticket and disappeared inside," Ellingson said.

Marshals quickly checked with the box office, determined which movie Bellamy was watching and unobtrusively entered the back of the theater, Ellingson said.

"He was watching a showing that was almost over," Ellingson said. "As he got up to leave, we blocked his exit, handcuffed him quietly and took him outside. I don't think most of the people in that theater ever realized what had happened."

Bellamy is awaiting arraignment in Los Angeles before his scheduled return to Oklahoma.

Chad Greer, an assistant U.S. attorney in Tulsa, said that during his months on the run, Bellamy gambled away about $3 million in Las Vegas in an unsuccessful attempt to launder his alleged drug profits. Bellamy was added to the marshals' "15 Most Wanted List" in April.

Investigators said Bellamy allegedly employed more than 20 "mules," couriers who transported drugs by plane and automobile and then returned with the proceeds. The female courier reportedly was tortured when she was suspected of stealing drug money. In reality, she apparently lost the money in a robbery, officials said. Five of Bellamy's purported accomplices went on trial last week in Tulsa.

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