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2 sentenced in connection with Nov. 24, 2009, 3-county car chase

MIAMI - Two Florida men involved in a drug trafficking conspiracy on Nov. 24, 2009 that resulted in the assault on federal officers were sentenced Thursday to federal prison following an investigation led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPD).

On April 8, U. S. District Court Judge K. Michael Moore sentenced Orenthal Marcel Butler, 24, and Solvin Bowie-Forbes, 44, both of Clearwater, Fla., to 35 years and nine years in prison. Butler pleaded guilty on Jan. 7 to conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute four kilograms of cocaine, being a felon in possession of a firearm, possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, and assaulting a federal officer with a deadly weapon.

Bowie-Forbes pleaded guilty on Jan. 12, to conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute four kilograms of cocaine.

On Nov. 24, 2009, the defendants agreed to purchase four kilograms of cocaine at $21,000 per kilogram from undercover agents they believed to be drug dealers. Once Butler showed the undercover the money with which he intended to buy the cocaine, surveilling ICE special agents arrested Bowie-Forbes without incident.

As ICE special agents and officers of the MDPD attempted to arrest Butler, he fled in his white Mazda, leading them on a high-speed, three-county car chase. The chase ended when Butler, traveling at approximately 130 mph, crashed into a black F-150 truck, collided against the metal barrier along the east side of the highway, crashed against the concrete wall along the west side of the highway, and finally came to a stop just north of the 45th Street overpass in Palm Beach county.

Butler, who was unharmed, was immediately taken into custody by troopers of the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP). In a search incident to his arrest, officers found, in his pocket, a wad containing $4,210 in cash. He consented to a search of his vehicle where officers recovered, in the rear passenger seat, one blue gym bag containing approximately $83,830 in cash.

After Butler's arrest, a civilian resident of Livingston, Texas, who had seen the car chase on CNN Headline News, called the MDPD and reported that, during the chase, Butler had tossed what appeared to be a gun from the passenger's side window of the speeding car. Based on the information provided by the concerned citizen, the police recovered a loaded, .25 caliber semi-automatic pistol from the side of the road.

The indictment was the culmination of a two-week investigation by ICE's Office of Investigations and the MDPD, with assistance of Sweetwater Police Department and the FHP.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Roy Altman.