Former Member of Baltimore’s Safe Streets Program Pleads Guilty
Ronald Alexander used his Employment with Safe Streets to Avoid Arrest and Evade Law Enforcement; Operated a Drug Shop in Northwest Baltimore and Illegally Possessed a Firearm and Ammunition
Baltimore, MD –Ronald Alexander, of Baltimore, pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to distribute fentanyl, heroin, and powder and crack cocaine. While participating in a narcotics conspiracy, Alexander was employed by “Safe Streets,” an organization working to reduce violence and crime in Baltimore through intervention. While he was engaged in the distribution of fentanyl and other dangerous narcotics, Alexander used his affiliation with Safe Streets to evade law enforcement, including to avoid arrest when police seized from him a large quantity of fentanyl.
The guilty plea was announced by Jarod Forget, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Washington Division; Jonathan F. Lenzner, Acting United States Attorney for the District of Maryland; Orville Greene, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Baltimore District Office; and Commissioner Michael Harrison of the Baltimore Police Department.
According to Alexander’s plea agreement, law enforcement obtained judicial authorization to intercept communications to and from cellular telephones used by Alexander from May through July 23, 2020. Alexander’s conversations revealed that he operated a “drug shop” in the vicinity of Spaulding Avenue and Palmer Avenue in Northwest Baltimore. Alexander and co-defendant Thomas Corey Crosby corresponded every week or two concerning the sale of narcotics, including heroin and fentanyl. After these conversations, which were often very brief, the pair would meet. Most meetings took place at a gas station located at the intersection of Druid Park Avenue and Liberty Heights in Baltimore, where Crosby supplied drugs to Alexander. Investigators conducted surveillance of many of these meetings and obtained surveillance video from the gas station.
As detailed in his plea agreement, on August 5, 2020, a Baltimore Police officer conducted a traffic stop of Alexander after Alexander rolled through a stop sign. During the encounter, Alexander used his affiliation with Safe Streets and the Baltimore City Mayor’s Office to try to deter further police investigation. Alexander called an associate afterward, and said, “Yeah. Police hopped on me. Told me to get off the phone. You know they scared, you know they scared of the Mayor Office, I said man I work for Safe Streets from the Mayor Office. I was just coming from one of my participant house, in need with this, it was in need of food due to the pandemic. He say oh, ok ok.”
On August 9, 2020, Alexander received a call from Crosby arranging to meet at the gas station. At the gas station, Crosby was seen entering Alexander’s vehicle and the two had a brief conversation. Crosby then placed an item in the center console area of Alexander’s vehicle and then got out of the car. Alexander pulled away from the gas station and investigators performed a traffic stop and searched Alexander’s vehicle, recovering what was later determined to be 100 grams of fentanyl from a bag found in the center console. Alexander again informed law enforcement that he worked for Safe Streets and provided law enforcement with a letter from the Baltimore City Mayor’s Office. When asked about the bag in the center console, Alexander stated that he had taken the drugs from a member of the community as part of his work with the Safe Streets program in an attempt to prevent crime. According to court documents, law enforcement seized the drugs, but permitted Alexander to leave without being arrested. After the traffic stop, Alexander called Crosby and they met again at the same gas station. After the meeting, Crosby disposed of his cell phone, which investigators had obtained authorization to intercept and track.
On August 14, 2020, search warrants were executed at locations related to the investigation, including Alexander’s residence in the 1200 block of North Augusta Avenue and a second residence where Alexander sometimes stayed in the unit block of North Culver Street, both in Baltimore. Alexander was located at his residence. There, law enforcement seized a 9mm semi-automatic pistol and six cartridges of ammunition, a digital scale and drug packaging material, suspected cutting agents, and Safe Streets apparel. At the residence on North Culver Street, investigators located 80 grams of a heroin and fentanyl mixture, more than 100 grams of powdered caffeine, and a digital scale.
Alexander was prohibited from possessing a firearm and ammunition as the result of a 2001 conviction in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute heroin. Alexander was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison in that case and was released from the Bureau of Prisons in approximately May 2018.
Thomas Corey Crosby, age 51, of Woodlawn, Maryland, previously pleaded and was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison, for conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, specifically, 40 grams or more of fentanyl. Judge Russell also ordered Crosby to forfeit $134,499 in cash, seized during a search of his residence on August 14, 2020.
Alexander and the government have agreed that, if the Court accepts the plea, Alexander will be sentenced to between 11 and 13 years in federal prison. U.S. District Judge George L. Russell, III has scheduled sentencing for September.
SAC Jarod Forget commended the Baltimore Police Department and the U.S. Attorney's Office of Maryland for their work in the investigation.