FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT
AUSA VICKIE E. LEDUC or
MARCIA MURPHY at 410-209-4885
November 26, 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BALTIMORE DRUG GANG MEMBER CONVICTED OF FEDERAL RACKETEERING AND MURDER CONSPIRACY CHARGES
Baltimore, Maryland - A federal jury convicted Tyrone Johniken, a/k/a “Hassan Muhammed,” and “Roland,” age 30, of Baltimore, today of racketeering conspiracy, conspiracy to commit murder in aid of racketeering and conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute drugs in connection with a drug gang operating on a stretch of Baltimore Street in Baltimore known as “the Block.”
The conviction was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Steven L. Gerido of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives - Baltimore Field Division; Acting Special Agent in Charge Robert Brisolari of the Drug Enforcement Administration - Washington Field Division; and Commissioner Anthony W. Batts of the Baltimore Police Department.
“Federal racketeering prosecutions are an essential component of the coordinated local, state and federal law enforcement strategy to reduce violent crime in Maryland,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein.
According to evidence presented at the three week trial and court documents, from at least January 2008 to the present, defendants Monica McCants and her son Donte Baker were leaders of the gang who supplied heroin and crack cocaine in “packs” of 10, 20 or 60 pills/vials to lower tier members, including defendants Johniken and Gary Cromartie, who in turn sold the drugs to runners and drug users on the Block. The profits from these sales were given to McCants and Baker, who paid the lower tier members for making the sales. Johniken also assaulted a police officer on July 2, 2009. In November 2010, Baker collected money from drug sales in order to bail McCants out of jail.
The gang members protected themselves and the drug organization through violence and intimidation, including robberies and the murder of Cherrie Gammon on December 12, 2010. More specifically, on November 25, 2010, McCants instructed Baker to assault Gammon to ensure that Gammon provided the gang with drug proceeds. On December 12, 2010, Gammon was driven to the area of Leon Day Park in Baltimore where she was murdered by Johniken, Baker and Cromartie. In a phone call on December 30, 2010, McCants stated to Baker that law enforcement probably learned from Gammon that Gammon owed money to Baker over a pack.
All three co-defendants, all from Baltimore, previously pleaded guilty to their participation in the racketeering conspiracy: Donte Bernard Baker, a/k/a “Tay,” and “Donnie,” age 22; Gary Thenor Cromartie, a/k/a “Miami,” age 27; and Monica McCants, a/k/a “Money,” age 42. All of the defendants face a maximum sentence of life in prison for the racketeering conspiracy and for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute drugs. Baker also faces a maximum sentence of life in prison for possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the ATF, DEA and Baltimore Police Department for their work in this investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorneys Joshua Kaul and Robert R. Harding, who are prosecuting the case.