BALTIMORE, MD. – At least 425 law enforcement officers from DEA, Baltimore Police Department, U.S. Marshals Service, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Baltimore County Police Department participated in an enforcement operation resulting in the seizure of heroin, marijuana, guns and approximately $69,000 in cash.
Thirty-eight defendants have been arrested and are facing state and federal charges related to the operation of a drug distribution organization in the Latrobe Homes area of East Baltimore from at least 2008 through March 2011. Twenty-two defendants have been arrested on state indictments. Fifteen defendants have been arrested on a federal indictment that was returned on March 3, 2011, and unsealed on March 10, 2011, upon the arrest of the defendants. A 16 th federal defendant was arrested previously and charged by criminal complaint. State search warrants were executed at 39 locations today, including residences and vehicles belonging to some of the defendants. The charges were announced by Special Agent in Charge Ava Cooper-Davis of the DEA Washington Field Division; United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III of the Baltimore Police Department; and Baltimore City State’s Attorney Gregg L. Bernstein.
“DEA and the Baltimore Police dismantled an entire Drug Trafficking Organization today. We got the top, we got the bottom and we got everybody in between,” stated Cooper-Davis. “We arrested the leaders, mid- and lower-level members, street lieutenants, runners and street corners sellers of the organization. These arrests are representative of law enforcement’s commitment to keep this city safe from the violence and crimes associated with drug trafficking. The success of this case was the product of an extensive investigation by the DEA Baltimore District Office and the Baltimore Police Department along with our partners from the Baltimore City States’ Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Attorney’s Office,” added Cooper-Davis.
“Wherever criminal gangs bring violence to our streets, that is where we will direct the resources needed to send them to prison,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. “We must persist in this coordinated effort, because every American deserves to live in a safe neighborhood.”
“This successful investigation and takedown demonstrate that law enforcement works best when we all work together,” said Baltimore City State’s Attorney Gregg L. Bernstein, referring to the United States Attorney’s Office, the Baltimore City Police, the DEA, and the Office of the State’s Attorney for Baltimore City. “As for the contributions of my office, I commend Baltimore Assistant State’s Attorneys Jeanne Canal, Rebecca Finn, Tony Gioia, MiaBeth Marosy and Anna Mantegna for their tireless commitment to this extremely important case.”
Baltimore Police Commissioner Frederick Bealefeld III said, “These 64 defendants - whom we believe have contributed to a considerable amount of violence and drug activity in East Baltimore - will be brought to justice to face both federal and state charges. After all is said and done, the most important part of what happened today is a demonstration of the formidable partnership between the federal government, the State of Maryland and Baltimore City and County to improve public safety and quality of life.”
According to the indictments and other court documents, from June 2008, through March 2011, the drug distribution organization conducted drug transactions in residential neighborhoods and other areas in Baltimore. The federal indictment alleges that the conspirators mainly obtained heroin and marijuana from suppliers in New York and California, respectively. Further, the indictment alleges that members of the conspiracy possessed firearms, and engaged in violence against members of the conspiracy who failed to perform required tasks.
The state defendants are charged with conspiracy to distribute heroin; conspiracy to distribute marijuana; conspiracy to distribute cocaine, conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute heroin; with possession with intent to distribute heroin or marijuana; and with aiding and abetting in the drug distribution conspiracy. The maximum penalty for crimes involving heroin and cocaine is 20 years in prison. The maximum penalty for marijuana charges is five years in prison.
The defendants in the federal case are all charged with conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute heroin and face a minimum of five years and a maximum of 40 years in prison for the drug conspiracy. The federal defendants had initial appearances in U.S. District Court in Baltimore and were detained pending detention hearings .
An indictment or criminal complaint is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by indictment or criminal complaint is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.