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Universal Rap Label Executive Arrested

April 25, 2003|Chuck Philips | Times Staff Writer

Members of a federal task force Thursday arrested the director of promotions for rap record label Murder Inc., which is under investigation for alleged money laundering.

Authorities said they arrested Dexter Diamond on a weapons charge as he was in a limousine in Encino. His apprehension came after a 24-hour stakeout by federal marshals, federal firearms agents, Los Angeles police officers and members of the Major Crimes Fugitive Detail of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

Diamond's arrest warrant stemmed from a Jan. 3 raid on the Manhattan offices of Murder Inc. Although no one was arrested during the raid, FBI agents seized computers, files and a handgun from a desk in the promotions department that allegedly belonged to Diamond, according to the warrant.

Diamond has a felony drug conviction. It would be unlawful for a felon to possess a weapon.

Murder Inc., home to such stars as Ja Rule and Ashanti, is in partnership with Island Def Jam, a New York arm of Vivendi Universal.

The U.S. attorney's office in Brooklyn, N.Y., is investigating alleged financial ties between Murder Inc. chief Irv Gotti and convicted drug kingpin Kenneth McGriff, whose gang ruled the crack trade in Jamaica, N.Y., in the 1980s.

Late Tuesday, New York authorities contacted the U.S. marshal's office in Los Angeles and asked that the fugitive task force stake out a house rented by Murder Inc., sources said.

Authorities said Diamond emerged from the residence early Thursday with Murder Inc. executive Tarik Williams and one of the label's rap artists, Cadillac Tah, whose real name is Taheem Crocker. The men got into a limousine and were stopped a few blocks away.

Representatives of Murder Inc., Def Jam Island and Vivendi Universal declined to comment.

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