Jason Miskiri moved to Maryland from Guyana at the age of five. He developed a penchant for basketball and took his talents to George Mason University in Washington, DC. From George Mason, he played for a stint in the minor leagues and entered the NBA in 1999 for a week with the Charlotte Hornets. In recent years, Miskiri rose to prominence after opening an upscale restaurant and nightclub called Society Lounge in Silver Spring, MD. He donated to charities, hosted dinners for the homeless during the holidays and held an annual summer basketball camp for local children. However, much of this was made possible by Miskiri’s dealings as a major cannabis dealer in the area. Now, Miskiri is headed to prison, after being convicted in federal court for his role in a plot to flood the DMV with more than 2,000 pounds of bud.
In April, Miskiri pleaded guilty to to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute at least 1,000 kilograms of weed. The former Hornet ran afoul of the law for the first time back in 2009 in Texas, when troopers found 200 pounds of tree packed in nine suitcases inside a Lincoln Town Car. The car was rented by Miskiri, who was riding in the backseat. Houston investigators were tipped off that two men and a woman from Maryland were coming into town to cop. He was interrogated, but not prosecuted, which is common in border states were law enforcement let small fish go to catch bigger fish. He posted bail and returned to Maryland, but not before telling the laws he entered the drug game “through connections he made during his professional basketball career.”
A few years before, Miskiri retired from basketball and started cooking at his family’s Caribbean restaurant, Island Flavors in Laurel, MD. This would become his base of operation with the cheeba. The Washington Post reports:
Between August 2010 and May 2011, prosecutors say, more than four tons of marijuana was delivered to Miskiri’s restaurant. Court records indicate that the traffickers purchased their inventory for about $550 per pound and sold it for between $900 and $1,100 per pound. Prosecutors said that means Miskiri netted at least $3 million on the sales of those shipments alone.
The feds didn’t get hip until March 2011, when they busted Oneil Foster (aka Harvey Garvey) with $240,000 in a suitcase at Baltimore-Washington International Marshall Airport. This arrest led to Garfield Mullings, the plug supplying Miskiri who caught a five year sentence.
Miskiri opened Society Lounge with $600,000 of his weed proceeds. Miskiri, though allegedly making millions, endured some financial setbacks, too. He failed to file taxes and his restaurants were successfully sued three times for unpaid bills.
The Post outlines Miskiri’s downfall:
The knock came at Miskiri’s apartment door on the morning of Feb. 6, 2014. Along with his trafficking in Maryland, prosecutors charged him with the 2009 Texas drug buy — which was unrelated to Mullings’s ring.
Voluntarily, court records say, Miskiri showed the investigators a shoe box that contained 121/2 grams of pot. He also called his girlfriend to ask where he could find their guns. Inside a purse in the closet, investigators found two handguns, one of them unregistered.
The officers discovered $1,256 in Miskiri’s pants and $6,000 in a purse.
The question of where his millions went remains unanswered. Prosecutors will take his restaurant but found no other assets of significant value.
On Tuesday, Miskiri was sentenced to two years in prison. In court, Miskiri said, “Very disappointed. I should be. That’s not me. But you make mistakes. I’m confident I’ll be back stronger. Show the people I’m a good guy.”
With all things considered, the sentence handed down is very light. His charge could have gotten him locked up from anywhere from 10 years to life. The judge was lenient because Miskiri admitted fault and cooperated with investigators.