October 18, 2006
Contact: SA Heath Anderson
Phone Number: (202) 305-8500
Leaders Of Rice Drug Gang Face Decades In Prison For Convictions On Racketeering And Drug Conspiracy Charges
.S. Attorney Calls on Drug Dealers to Give Up "Gangster Lifestyle" Before it is Too Late
OCT 18--BALTIMORE, Maryland - Howard Rice, age 40, and Raeshio Rice, age 33, both of Baltimore, pleaded guilty in U.S. Court to racketeering conspiracy and drug conspiracy charges arising from their operation of a large narcotics-trafficking enterprise in Baltimore over a 10-year period, announced Assistant Special Agent in Charge for the Drug Enforcement Administration, Baltimore District Office Carl J. Kotowski and United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein.
In addition, Howard Rice pleaded guilty to racketeering and conspiracy to distribute heroin.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein stated, “The Rice brothers lived the gangster
lifestyle for a few years and now they will pay the price for the rest of their lives. Other
Baltimore drug dealers should stop now instead of following in Howard and Raeshio's footsteps
to federal prison. Drugs and guns always lead to misery and regret."
Carl J. Kotowski, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Baltimore District Office stated "with this plea today, we have dismantled a violent drug organization from top to bottom. This plea sends a clear message to drug dealers that they will not operate freely on the streets of Baltimore. If you sell drugs, you will be arrested and prosecuted."
"The RICE brothers and their organization had a major impact on the Baltimore metropolitan area for an extended period of time and demonstrated a high propensity for violence. Their plea to RICO charges is a significant event for drug law enforcement in Baltimore. The guilty pleas are essentially the final disposition of all the major defendants in this investigation and signals the final chapter to the Rice legacy" stated Kotowski.
The Rice brothers were charged, along with 11 others, in an indictment filed in February 2005 with racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, drug conspiracy, several acts of violence, and other offenses relating to the operation of their narcotics-trafficking enterprise.
According to the statement of facts provided to the court as part of the plea agreement, from 1995 through 2004, the Rice brothers conspired with others to operate a racketeering enterprise (the “Rice Organization”) responsible for the distribution of large quantities of cocaine and heroin in northwest Baltimore City, as well as multiple contract murders. The Rice Organization obtained the cocaine from suppliers in California and New York and the heroin from suppliers in New York and elsewhere and distributed it to their customers in Baltimore. The Rice brothers admitted that their organization was responsible for the distribution of more than 150 kilograms of cocaine and more than 30 kilograms of heroin in the Baltimore area. The locations used by the Rices and their co-conspirators to conduct their drug operations included a car wash on Quantico Avenue and the Red Door Lounge, owned by Howard Rice and one of his co-conspirators.
The Rice brothers used the proceeds of their drug transactions to purchase property, jewelry, a Sea Ray boat, and luxury automobiles, including a Ferrari, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, two BMWs, a Cadillac, a Bentley and several motorcycles, which have been forfeited or which they have agreed to forfeit as part of their plea agreements.
The Rice Organization preserved its power, territory and profits and retaliated against rival drug organizations through the use of intimidation, violence and threats of violence. The specific acts of violence that are cited in the indictment as part of the racketeering conspiracy include the December 16, 1996 murder of Dante Green, the December 27, 1996 attempted murder of Dennis Smith, and the June 22, 2003 murder of Marvin Nutter.
Of the 13 defendants charged, 11 have now pleaded guilty to racketeering or drug conspiracy charges. Keenan Dorsey, age 40, of Baltimore, Maryland, is charged with cocaine and heroin conspiracy and is scheduled to go to trial on October 30, 2006. He faces a maximum
sentence of life imprisonment. Eric Hall, age 35, also of Baltimore, alleged to be a “hitman” for
the Rice Organization, is charged with racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, cocaine
conspiracy, heroin conspiracy, murder in aid of racketeering, attempted murder in aid of
racketeering, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime resulting in
death. Hall faces a maximum penalty of death. His trial is scheduled for October 1, 2007.
After accepting the guilty pleas, United States District Judge William D. Quarles, Jr.
sentenced Howard Rice to 30 years in federal prison followed by 10 years of supervised release.
Judge Quarles has scheduled Raeshio Rice’s sentencing for January 8, 2007. Both
defendants have been detained since their arrest.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the investigative work performed by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Baltimore City Police Department, the Internal
Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation Division, the State’s Attorney’s Office for Baltimore
City and the United States Attorney’s Office. We would also like to thank the United States
Attorney’s Offices for the Central District of California and the Southern District of New York,
as well as the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New York, Lubbock, TX and Los Angeles offices, and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Los Angeles office for their assistance. Mr.
Rosenstein also commended Assistant United States Attorneys Steven H. Levin and Jason M.
Weinstein, who are prosecuting the case.