Drug Enforcement Administration

Washington, DC

Jesse R. Fong, Special Agent in Charge

February 20, 2004

Contact: SA Heath Anderson

Phone Number: 202-305-8500

Baltimore Man Sentenced to Ten Years in Prison for RICO Charges

Washington, D.C. - The Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Ms. Laura M. Nagel, announced that following a September 19, 2002 guilty plea to a federal racketeering charge, United States District Judge J. Frederick Motz sentenced Louis Colvin, age 44 of Baltimore, Maryland, to 10 years incarceration followed by 3 years of supervised release. Colvin is the seventh and final defendant to be sentenced for his role as a member of a violent racketeering enterprise led by James Gross, Sr. The RICO indictment was the result of an extensive investigation that began with the January 27, 2001 arson at Strawberry’s 5000, a popular nightclub in the Rosedale section of Baltimore County that had been operated for two years by Gross Sr. and Louis Colvin. Testimony from cooperating coconspirators and voluminous documentary evidence, established that the Gross racketeering organization engaged in an unusually varied pattern of criminal offenses to preserve its territory and power, and financially enrich its members, including narcotics trafficking, witness tampering, attempted murders and assault, mail fraud, arson and armed robbery. In the plea agreement, Colvin admitted that he and others arranged to burn Strawberry’s 5000 nightclub and filed a fraudulent insurance claim based on that arson, through use of the U.S mail.

Previously on May 16, 2003, Judge Motz sentenced co-defendant James Gross, Jr., age 26, of Baltimore, Maryland to 412 months in prison on charges of racketeering, narcotics offenses, armed robbery, attempted murder and assault in aid of racketeering, arson, fraud, and witness tampering. On the same day, Judge Motz sentenced co-defendant James Wilkes, age 34, of Baltimore, Maryland to 300 months in prison on charges of felon in possession of a firearm and assault in aid of racketeering. On June 23, 2003, Judge Motz sentenced codefendant Ronald Eddie, age 25, to 262 months in prison for racketeering, arson, and conspiracy to distribute cocaine and heroin. On July 20, 2003, Judge Motz sentenced James Gross Sr., age 44, of Abingdon, Maryland to 50 years in prison followed by five years of supervised release for racketeering offenses, arson, witness tampering, fraud, and conspiracy to distribute cocaine and heroin. Judge Motz also sentenced James Earl Feaster, age 44, of Baltimore, Maryland to 30 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for racketeering and fraud. Michael Randolph, age 27, of Baltimore, Maryland was sentenced on October 10, 2003 to 108 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release.

Ms. Nagel stated “the success of this investigation can be credited to the outstanding cooperation of all the law enforcement agencies involved, which were dedicated and committed to dismantling this violent drug trafficking organization”. This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Baltimore City and Baltimore County Fire and Police Departments and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

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