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AUSA VICKIE E. LEDUC at 410-209-4885
June 26, 2006
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OCDETF: HYATTSVILLE MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO CONSPIRACY
TO DISTRIBUTE COCAINE
Cocaine Smuggled into United States in Car Batteries
GREENBELT, Maryland - George E. Smith, age 39, of Hyattsville, pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine and being felon in possession of ammunition, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein.
Smith entered his guilty plea on the eve of trial set to begin tomorrow. In a statement of facts provided to the court as part of the plea agreement, Smith acknowledged that from 2001 through February of 2004, numerous individuals conspired to import and distribute cocaine and heroin from Guatemala for redistribution in and around Maryland and other states. Beginning in early 2003, Smith joined that conspiracy by purchasing quantities of cocaine for resale to customers in Maryland. Initial transactions included one or two kilogram deals, but before Smith’s arrest in 2004 he received several car batteries which concealed more than 5 kilograms of powder cocaine.
On February 20, 2004, law enforcement officials conducted a series of search warrants pertaining to the investigation of this drug trafficking conspiracy. At Smith’s home, agents recovered, among other things, a car battery and circular saw in the garage; a microwave oven containing crack cocaine residue in the master bedroom; 46 rounds of 9 mm ammunition in the master bedroom closet; a currency counter; $33,769 in several locations within the master bedroom; a Galesi .625 handgun, an RG Industries .22 caliber handgun, and a Davis Industries .32 caliber handgun on the floor of an attic crawlspace above the master bedroom closet; a box of 9 mm ammunition; a ballistic vest; and a shoulder holster. Various ledger sheets seized from a codefendant’s home and from Smith’s residence on Rambler Drive in Hyattsville, reflect drug debts consistent with multi-kilogram transactions.
Smith had previously been convicted of a felony offense in the Circuit Court for Montgomery County, Maryland, on June 18, 1993 and was prohibited from possessing ammunition.
Smith faces a maximum sentence of life in prison and a $4,000,000 fine. He also agreed to forfeit the $33,000 seized from his residence. Judge Chasanow has scheduled sentencing for September 25, 2006.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the investigative work performed by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Montgomery County Department of Police, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement in this Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force. Mr. Rosenstein also thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys James M. Trusty and Donna C. Sanger, who are prosecuting the case.
This page last modifiedJune 26, 2006