Maurice Phillips was one of the most notorious drug lords in Philadelphia, who ran a multimillion-dollar cocaine empire for eight years. He lived a lavish lifestyle, throwing extravagant parties and buying expensive cars and jewelry. He also ordered the murder of a witness who was about to testify against him in a federal trial. But his reign of terror came to an end in 2012, when he died of natural causes in a New York prison. Here is the story of how Maurice Phillips rose to power and how he met his fate.
The Rise of a Drug Kingpin
Maurice Phillips was born in 1948 in Hackney, London, England. He moved to the United States in the 1970s and became involved in the drug trade. He started as a low-level dealer, but soon climbed the ranks and became a major supplier of cocaine in Philadelphia and other cities. He had connections with Colombian cartels and Mexican gangs, and imported tons of cocaine every year. He also had a network of distributors, couriers, stash houses, and money launderers who worked for him. According to the FBI, he made over $100 million from his drug business.
Phillips was also a master of disguise and evasion. He used multiple aliases, fake IDs, and burner phones to avoid detection. He frequently changed his appearance, wearing wigs, glasses, and hats. He also moved from place to place, staying in hotels, apartments, and houses. He never stayed in one location for more than a few days. He was so elusive that the FBI dubbed him “the ghost”.
Phillips had a girlfriend and business partner named Channell Cunningham, who helped him run his drug operation. She was also his accountant, bookkeeper, and money manager. She handled the financial transactions, paid the workers, and moved the cash. She also organized lavish parties for Phillips and his associates, where they would spend thousands of dollars on food, drinks, and entertainment. The parties were held in different locations, such as hotels, mansions, and yachts. Some of the guests included celebrities, politicians, and athletes.
Phillips and Cunningham lived a life of luxury and excess, but they also lived in fear and paranoia. They knew that they were under investigation by the authorities, and that they had enemies and rivals in the drug world. They also knew that they could not trust anyone, not even their own workers. They had to constantly watch their backs and protect themselves from threats.
The Fall of a Drug Lord
In 2004, Phillips and Cunningham’s drug empire began to crumble. The FBI and the DEA launched a joint operation to take down Phillips and his organization. They used informants, wiretaps, surveillance, and undercover agents to gather evidence and build a case against him. They also seized drugs, money, and weapons from his stash houses and vehicles. They arrested dozens of his associates and workers, and pressured them to cooperate and testify against him.
One of the key witnesses against Phillips was Chinetta Glanville, a former girlfriend and employee of Phillips. She had worked as a courier and a distributor for him, and had intimate knowledge of his drug operation. She had also witnessed him commit acts of violence and intimidation against his rivals and enemies. She agreed to cooperate with the authorities and provide information and testimony against Phillips in exchange for a reduced sentence.
However, Phillips was not going to let her testify against him. He hired a hitman named Dwayne Smith to kill Glanville and silence her forever. Smith tracked down Glanville to her apartment in Philadelphia, and shot her multiple times in the head and chest. He also killed her godson, Dane King, who was with her at the time. King was an innocent bystander, who had nothing to do with the drug trade. He was only 17 years old.
The murders of Glanville and King shocked and outraged the public and the authorities. They also sealed Phillips’ fate. The FBI and the DEA were able to link Phillips to the murders through phone records, surveillance footage, and witness statements. They also arrested Smith and charged him with the murders. Smith confessed and implicated Phillips as the mastermind behind the plot. He also agreed to testify against Phillips in court.
In 2006, Phillips and Cunningham were finally arrested and indicted on multiple charges, including drug trafficking, money laundering, and murder-for-hire. They faced the death penalty if convicted. They pleaded not guilty and went to trial in 2010.
The trial lasted for six weeks and featured over 100 witnesses and thousands of exhibits. The prosecution presented a strong case against Phillips and Cunningham, showing how they ran a massive and violent drug operation that spanned several states and countries. They also showed how they ordered the murder of Glanville and King to prevent them from testifying against them. The defense tried to cast doubt on the credibility and motives of the witnesses, especially Smith, who they claimed was lying to save himself. They also tried to portray Phillips and Cunningham as victims of a conspiracy and a witch hunt by the authorities.
The jury deliberated for four days and returned with a verdict. They found Phillips and Cunningham guilty on all counts. They also found that there were aggravating factors that warranted the death penalty for both of them. However, they could not reach a unanimous decision on whether to impose the death penalty or life in prison. As a result, the judge sentenced Phillips and Cunningham to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Phillips and Cunningham appealed their convictions and sentences, but they were denied by the courts. They were sent to different federal prisons to serve their life sentences. Phillips was sent to the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, New York. Cunningham was sent to the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, Connecticut.
The Death of a Drug Kingpin
In 2012, Phillips died of natural causes in his prison cell. He was 64 years old. He had suffered from various health problems, including diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. He had also been depressed and suicidal, according to his lawyers and family. He had no contact with Cunningham or any of his associates or friends. He died alone and forgotten, with no one to mourn him.
Phillips’ death marked the end of an era in the drug world. He was one of the last of the old-school drug lords, who ruled with an iron fist and a ruthless ambition. He was also one of the most successful and elusive drug lords, who evaded capture and detection for years. He left behind a legacy of violence, corruption, and death. He also left behind a trail of victims, who suffered from his actions and decisions. Among them were Glanville and King, who were killed for speaking the truth. They were the real heroes of this story, who paid the ultimate price for justice.