Aug 3, 2022 - Politics

Drug kingpin helped fund a Richmond City Council campaign

An image of Richmond councilwoman Reva Trammell standing on a street in her district.
City Councilwoman Reva Trammell. Photo: Julia Rendleman/Washington Post via Getty Image

One of City Councilwoman Reva Trammell's biggest campaign donations in 2020 came from a shell company founded by a now-convicted drug trafficker.

What's happening: Trammell reported a $5,000 donation from Beloved Produce LLC during the last election, according to campaign finance records compiled by the Virginia Public Access Project.

  • It was the third-largest donation to her campaign.
  • In June, authorities revealed the man behind the company was Nikike Tyler, a Henrico resident who pleaded guilty that same month to wholesaling millions of dollars worth of heroin, cocaine and fentanyl throughout the region.

His supposed produce company was part of the plot, prosecutors said in court, per the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

  • Tyler rented a large warehouse, registered the produce company to the address and used it to operate his drug business, the outlet reported.
  • Three months after Tyler's donation to Trammell, police searched the warehouse, seizing two presses used to form bricks of cocaine and 6.7 pounds of marijuana.
  • Prosecutors said they found no produce, according to the paper.

What they're saying: In a text message to Axios, Trammell said there was nothing unusual about the donation, which was Tyler's only recorded political contribution. She did not respond when asked what led to the contribution.

  • "I have received hundreds of donations every four years for my re-election," she wrote. "A donation from a produce company years ago was typical of lots of donations."
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