Prosecutors said Richard Bernard Grundy III was the mastermind behind a violent drug operation, allegedly responsible for ordering a slew of murders and trafficking thousands of pounds of marijuana into Indianapolis.
But in September, the 28-year-old walked out of court a free man.
Grundy faced life in prison for a litany of charges filed in 2015, including four counts of murder. But problems with evidence—including one witness lying about her identity—led Marion County prosecutors to drop the case.
As part of a plea deal, Grundy pled guilty only to dealing marijuana and received time served and probation.
“I want to live a normal life,” Grundy told the IndyStar. “I want to live where I ain’t got to look over my shoulders or be harassed every time that I’m pulled over by a police officer or, you know what I’m saying, just being harassed for being me.”
But Grundy now finds himself in federal crosshairs, busted in a sweep alongside 25 others who allegedly helped to haul methamphetamine, heroin, and marijuana from Phoenix, Arizona, and sell it in Indiana’s capital city.
On Monday, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana announced the arrests of 21 people in a probe that unearthed 30 firearms, $100,000 in cash and heroin, meth, weed, and prescription drugs. Five other suspects are still at large.
According to the indictment, Grundy threatened to kill informants in a series of Facebook posts, and he and his alleged accomplices used code language on the phone to coordinate their trafficking operation.
Indeed, Grundy didn’t lay low after his brushes with the law. He recently posed with stacks of cash in a friend’s Facebook photos, the indictment says.
The alleged gangster also posted a Nov. 3 video on Facebook wherein he threatened to kill people cooperating with federal agents, court papers allege.
A review of Grundy’s Facebook page reveals a video of himself rapping to a song he’s promoted on social media in recent weeks. The rhyme refers to a “code of silence” and its lyrics warn about retribution for snitching: “We get violent if you’re telling,” and “Bitch, you better close your mouth for them feds.”
Grundy asked people to share his song and wrote on Facebook: “Don’t wait till I die or go to jail … I’m here now trying to do something with my life.”
The indictment says that Grundy—also known as White Boy—and other defendants, including Ezell Neville, Conway Jefferson, and David Carroll, pooled their money to purchase meth in Phoenix from June to November 2017.
They gave the cash to Christopher D. Bradford and Daona Le’Ann Gholston, who carried the funds on a Greyhound bus headed to Arizona, authorities say. Cops seized about $84,500 when they cuffed the duo in Albuquerque on Aug. 1.
Gilberto Vizcarra-Millan and Mario Eduado Villasenor of Phoenix, Arizona, provided the Grundy Crew with meth and weed for distribution, court papers allege.
Meanwhile, Emilio Mitchell, II, aka Loaf, and Emilio Mitchell Jr. are accused of transporting the drugs from Phoenix to Indianapolis, where they allegedly kept a stash at the Island Club Apartments. Another operative, Lance L. Hatcher Jr., stashed drugs at a house on quiet Riverbrook Lane, the indictment states.
Grundy is charged with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, and conspiracy to launder monetary instruments. Other defendants are facing charges including distribution of methamphetamine, distribution of controlled substances, and conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.
The latest arrest comes months after Grundy was ambushed at a woman’s funeral.
Grundy’s cousin, 28-year-old Jasmine Moore, was fatally shot early one Sunday in July outside a bakery. According to Fox 59, the shooting occurred when up to 40 people were exiting the nearby Sunset Strip Gentlemen’s Club.
Later that month, Grundy was one of three people shot during Moore’s funeral procession. Men in a white pickup truck opened fire as the mourners approached Sutherland Park Cemetery, and bullets hit Grundy’s chest and arm, Fox 59 reported.
Authorities believed Grundy was the intended target of both the bakery and cemetery shootings, and that Grundy had a $50,000 bounty on his head.
At the time, Grundy’s attorney, Keirian A. Brown, told local press that cops should have monitored the funeral procession. When reached by The Daily Beast, Brown again questioned why authorities weren’t surveying the alleged drug kingpin.
“It’s no surprise to me that [Grundy] was under investigation this entire time,” Brown said. “My question all along has been: When he was shot back at that funeral, was he under investigation then? And, if he was, where was the surveillance at that funeral?”
Brown, who represented Grundy in the 2015 murder-for-hire case, said police are making him a “scapegoat” for violence in Indianapolis.
“My business is to look at the evidence that’s presented… based simply on that, there was nothing to support allegations of him being this notorious criminal figure,” Brown said.
Brown speculates that authorities targeted Grundy because he produced music under a label called Money Go Gettas (MGG). One artist named Lil’ Mack, born Mack Taylor, made a music video that featured a crowd of people, and several of those individuals were charged as co-conspirators in the 2015 case, Brown says.
“The prosecution turned several music videos over as evidence in that case, and this was one of them,” Brown said.
When Lil’ Mack was killed in September 2016, local reports identified him as Grundy’s friend and as a possible member of the Grundy Crew.
According to Fox 59, investigators said they uncovered a 2014 cellphone video of “Richard Grundy and Mack Taylor rapping about murders and snitches.” Taylor’s Facebook page also featured a photo of a tattoo of a dead rat—which police called a common image among Grundy Crew members.
Brown says Grundy became a police “target” because of his music videos and “they wanted to shut him down because he was being very flamboyant.”
“He was on Facebook and Instagram holding stacks of cash,” Brown added. “It’s not hard to figure out [police] got offended by that.”
When asked for comment, Indianapolis police Sgt. Christopher Wilburn told The Daily Beast, “We don’t have an axe to grind.
“That’s their opinion, and we will let people exercise their constitutional rights. We won’t get into a war of words. But we only address specific criminal activity as it relates to our citizens and calls for service,” he added.
The IndyStar reported that the Grundy Crew was linked to at least nine homicides and five non-fatal shootings, but that no members had been convicted of murder.
One alleged hit man, John Means, was charged in four killings in two separate cases. Earlier this year, a jury acquitted him in one case and prosecutors dismissed the other one, the IndyStar revealed.
In September 2015, Marion County prosecutors claimed that Grundy ordered hits on Tyrece Dorsey and William David in January 2014, and Carlos Jefferson and Julius Douglas in February 2014.
Informants allegedly told cops that Means bragged about the rubouts in jail, the IndyStar reported. One tipster said Grundy paid Means to kill Dorsey because he robbed Grundy of a “dope load” and couldn’t pay him back for the supply.
A month later, Marion County prosecutor Terry Curry announced charges against 11 people accused of running the Grundy drug-trafficking operation—including Grundy’s wife, Amanda Chowning-Grundy, and his father, Richard Grundy Jr.
Grundy, accused of being the boss of the organization, was charged with the 2013 murder of Kendrid Mintze and conspiracy to commit murder for his alleged attempt to kill Anthony Brown and other individuals. He was also charged with conspiracy to commit dealing marijuana, corrupt business influence, and criminal gang activity.
Prosecutors claimed Grundy’s father provided firearms to protect members and vehicles to transport the pot. Both the elder Grundy and Chowning-Grundy faced charges including conspiracy to commit murder and conspiracy to commit dealing marijuana.
Yet Grundy’s kin would ultimately be convicted of much less serious charges. In March, Grundy’s dad pleaded guilty to just one count of conspiracy to commit dealing marijuana. He received no prison time. Chowning-Grundy pleaded guilty to assisting a criminal and was sentenced to probation.
When Grundy took his own plea deal, he told The Indy Channel, “A jury would likely think that I’m a gang member and convict me. But you see today that I wasn’t convicted of no gang charges, I wasn’t convicted of no murders. Nobody who’s been with me has been convicted of gang charges or murders. We’re a family, you know.”
On Tuesday, Indianapolis police Sgt. Wilburn told The Daily Beast that Grundy and his underlings have described themselves as “untouchable” and that their criminal enterprise has spanned “many, many years.”
Wilburn said the department’s challenge is identifying people who might try to fill a void in Grundy’s absence in the illicit drug trade.
“We recognize there is a void created, and we will go after these individuals,” Wilburn said, “and they’ll be next.”