Face Off: Drug Lord Altered Face to Avoid Capture

Detroit smuggler used Chicago tour buses to transport cash and drugs

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Adarus Mazio Black after plastic surgery.

    Adarus Mario Black of Detroit was no ordinary drug smuggler. He was so cunning and shrewd, his story of crime sounds like a movie plot.

    According to federal prosecutors, Black used large tour buses from Jackson Coach Lines of Chicago to smuggle drugs and money between Detroit (Michigan) and Tucson (Arizona). Several black duffel bags full of cocaine, marijuana, or cash would be stored in the luggage compartments.

    Meanwhile, James Washington Jr., the company's owner, would pay people as much as $2,000 to drive the bus or $1,000 to act as passengers.

    When the feds busted the operation in April 2007, Black allegedly sent out a couple of hit men to make sure Washington and the drivers "kept quiet for good," if you get our drift. One of Black's men, Vincent Smothers, is awaiting trial for the murder of two bus drivers.

    Washington surrendered to agents, seeking protection. He'll appear in Milwaukee court on Thursday and could get up to 20 years in jail for conducting financial transactions with money from illegal activities.

    Black, 38, was so concerned about getting caught that he flew to Mexico where, according to court documents, he visited a plastic surgeon. The drug lord had a total of nine surgeries to alter his face and erase his fingerprints.

    No amount of surgery could keep federal authorities off Black's heels, though. DEA agents used bank withdrawal records to track him to Corona, California, where he was taken into custody in October 2007.

    "This is the one of the most elaborate operations I've ever seen," said U.S. Assistant Attorney J. Michael Buckley, who has spent nearly 20 years as a federal prosecutor, told the AP. "[Black is] one of the most calculating and cunning individuals I've investigated and prosecuted, and one of the most dangerous."

    Black will be sentenced in November in Detroit on conspiracy to distribute cocaine and marijuana. He has not, however, been charged with any homicides.

    Matt Bartosik, a "between blogs" blogger, is not that calculating nor that cunning.