O.J. Simpson’s Fargo Friend, Former Owner of JT Cigarro’s, Accused of Leading Cocaine Trafficking Ring

Barrett Prody
Barrett Prody

FARGO, ND (trfnews.i234.me) – Barrett Clair Prody, a friend of O.J. Simpson and former owner of a cigar bar in Fargo, has been accused of leading a drug trafficking ring that brought cocaine to the Fargo-Moorhead area.

Prody, 51, appeared in the North Dakota U.S. District Court on April 16, facing charges of conspiracy to possess cocaine with intent to distribute and aiding and abetting in the obstruction of justice.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in North Dakota did not disclose the amount of cocaine involved or its country of origin. Prody is currently held at Cass County Jail.

According to a federal indictment, Prody led a conspiracy to transport over five kilograms of cocaine from Florida to Fargo-Moorhead starting in August 2020. Co-defendants Kashiem Jeffery Lashley and Tyler Eugene Schroeder are also charged with conspiracy.

Law enforcement used confidential informants who distributed cocaine supplied by Prody, according to a criminal complaint. One informant was arrested on June 9, 2023, in Illinois while transporting a kilogram of cocaine from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to Fargo. Court documents indicate Prody owns a condo in Fort Lauderdale.

Lashley assisted in driving cocaine from Florida to North Dakota and was arrested in late April in Florida. He has not yet appeared in North Dakota court.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Alice Senechal allowed Schroeder to be released on bond and he faces an additional charge of possessing a firearm during a drug trafficking crime. On April 30, Judge Senechal ordered that Prody remain in custody, citing a video of his April 15 post-arrest interview where he allegedly admitted to elements of the conspiracy.

Prody reportedly described cocaine as “pretty harmless” and claimed no one was hurt by his dealing. On April 17, the day after his first court appearance, Prody asked his mother to transfer his Florida condominium and financial assets to her, which may be subject to criminal forfeiture.

Prody’s statements and actions led to the obstruction of justice charge, and he allegedly made threatening comments about the officers who arrested him. His attorney, Peter Wold, did not respond to requests for comment.

Prody was connected to O.J. Simpson, the NFL star acquitted in 1995 of murder charges involving his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman. Prody’s sister, Christine Prody, dated Simpson for over a decade following his acquittal.

Simpson visited Prody’s cigar bar, JT Cigarro, in 2008, and played golf with him in Fergus Falls, Minnesota. Prody also created a nonprofit to support Simpson’s appeal of a 2008 conviction for robbery and kidnapping in Las Vegas. Simpson was sentenced to 33 years but was released in 2017.

Simpson passed away on April 11 from prostate cancer at the age of 76. In an April 11 interview with WDAY News, Prody described Simpson’s death as losing a family member, speaking via video call from Medellin, Colombia, where court documents confirm he traveled.

Prody formerly owned JT Cigarro’s and O’Leary’s Irish Pub in Moorhead. JT Cigarro’s closed in 2015 and reopened as the African International Restaurant and Night Club, which then closed in 2021 and reopened this year as Cairo Restaurant and Bar. O’Leary’s closed in 2020 and reopened as Murphy’s Pub the following year. In 2018, Prody and O’Leary faced an eviction lawsuit for allegedly owing $300,000 in rent to the Southmoor Mall.

Court documents revealed Prody had attempted to have money dropped off with an unknown supplier at Murphy’s.

Prody has a history of criminal charges. In 2014, he was charged with aggravated assault, terrorizing, and simple assault after attacking his then-fiancée, resulting in two broken ribs. He pleaded guilty to the assault charge, receiving credit for one day served in jail and almost a year of probation.

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