June 26, 2007
Contact: Public Information Officer
Phone Number: (202) 305-8426
Eight Baltimore Drug Gang Members Indicted by Federal Grand Jury in Alleged Large Heroin Distribution Conspiracy
"Operation Smackdown" Targets Alleged to Have Distributed About $20,000 of Heroin a Day
JUN 26 -- Baltimore, Maryland - A federal grand jury has indicted the following defendants, all of Baltimore, for their alleged participation in a drug conspiracy to distribute large quantities of heroin in the Baltimore City area, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein:
Calvin Wayne Matthews, age 28;
Lennell Matthews, age 25;
Lionel Matthews, age 23;
Jermaine Gilbert, age 37;
Jerome Gilbert, age 26;
Donita Moore, age 28;
Bryant Snowden, age 25; and
Jamal Piles, age 18.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein stated, “Thanks to a coordinated investigation by the Baltimore Police Department, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Office eight alleged gang members are charged with distributing about $20,000 of heroin a day in south Baltimore. Heroin is the cause of a great deal of suffering and violence in Baltimore. This case is another example of the outstanding cooperation among law enforcement agencies working to dismantle drug-dealing organizations and seize the proceeds of their criminal enterprises.”
“We are here today as a result of good detective work. That good detective work led to an investigation that expanded to include our federal partners and the indictments announced this afternoon,” said State’s Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy. “Operation Smackdown allegedly distributed heroin on the streets of Baltimore valued at $20,000 per day . We must continue to leverage all of our local, state and federal resources to identify and prosecute individuals who terrorize our neighborhoods.”
Baltimore Police Commissioner Leonard Hamm said, "Cases like this illustrate the incredible value of the Baltimore Police Department's partnership with the U.S. Attorney's office and the D.E.A. I would hope that drug dealers in Baltimore are finally getting the message that if they continuing plying their deadly trade, they will be caught and severely punished."
The one-count indictment charges the defendants with conspiracy to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin. According to court documents, the defendants’ drug organization is responsible for distributing large quantities of heroin from 2005 to 2007 in various parts of south Baltimore through mobile street-level distribution “shops.” The “shops” include vacant residences, lightly traveled side streets, rear alleys and similarly desolate locations selected to avoid police detection. The territory used by the drug organization is a five to eight block area bounded generally by Baltimore Street to the north, Pratt street to the south, Gilmore Street to the west, and Arlington Street to the east. On weekends, the organization distributed heroin next to the Social Services Building located on Pratt Street.
Calvin Matthews is alleged to be the leader of the organization. Court documents allege that his brothers, Lennell and Lionel Matthews, and family relatives Jermaine Gilbert, Jerome Gilbert and Bryant Snowden, were “lieutenants” who helped oversee the organization’s day-to-day operations. Bryant would collect the day’s drug proceeds and distribute the daily salary payments for the street-level sellers and other lieutenants. Donita Moore allegedly operated a stash location and helped deliver and resupply the heroin from the stash location into the shop. Jamal Piles was a courier, delivering heroin from stash locations to the stash house located near the shop being used on a particular day. A shop would operate from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. seven days a week. Calvin allegedly met with the lieutenants weekly to pay them between $1,200 to $1,700 per week, in addition to money the lieutenants received for each day’s work.
The defendants face a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum of life in prison for the drug conspiracy. The indictment was returned on June 21, 2007 under seal, and unsealed upon their arrests on June 22, 2007, when they had their initial appearances in U.S. District Court.
An indictment is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Baltimore Police Department - Organized Crime Division and the Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Office, for their investigative work coordinated under the DEA Mobile Enforcement Team. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant State’s Attorneys Christine Siemek and Chris Mason, who are handling the related state prosecutions for their assistance in the investigation and thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys James Wallner and Bryan Giblin, who are prosecuting this case.