Baltimore Heroin Dealer Pleads Guilty and Is Exiled to 10 Years in Prison on Gun and Drug Charges
Baltimore, Maryland - U.S. District Judge William D. Quarles, Jr. sentenced Keith James, age 34, of Baltimore, Maryland, to 10 years in prison followed by three years of supervised release, after James pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute heroin, and possession of a firearm by a prohibited person.
The guilty plea and sentence were announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge William Winter of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); Special Agent in Charge Steven L. Gerido of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives - Baltimore Field Division; Baltimore City State’s Attorney Gregg L. Bernstein; and Commissioner Anthony W. Batts of the Baltimore Police Department.
According to James’ plea agreement, from January 2011 until March 2012, James participated in a conspiracy to distribute heroin. Specifically, James obtained bulk quantities of heroin, which he diluted using cutting agents such as mannitol, then divided into individual doses appropriate for street-level sales. James sold bulk quantities of these individual doses to others for further street sales.
On January 28, 2012, officers of the Baltimore Police Department (BPD) saw James seated in a vehicle in the 700 block of North Eden Street in Baltimore. After noticing that the vehicle’s tag lights were not working, officers activated their emergency lights and attempted a traffic stop. James continued driving north, rolling through a stop sign, eventually pulling to the side of the street. Officers approached the vehicle, and James sped off, with officers following. After the vehicle turned west onto East Chase Street, the officers saw James throw a handgun out the window. Officers continued their pursuit of James, ultimately stopping him and recovering a handgun holster from the car. Officers returned to the spot where James had thrown the handgun and recovered a loaded .40 caliber handgun, a magazine that had broken into several pieces, and four rounds of ammunition.
In the weeks following his arrest, James made several phone calls to friends and relatives seeking to have them process and sell heroin to help pay his legal and other bills, and to have others obtain and sell firearms on his behalf.
On March 8, 2012, BPD officers executed search warrants on two apartments in Baltimore used by James. Officers recovered heroin packaging materials and paraphernalia used in the distribution of heroin; .380 caliber, .40 caliber, .357 caliber and 9mm ammunition; a gun cleaning kit; a gun vault, and paperwork for a storage unit on Park Heights Avenue in Baltimore.
The same day, a search warrant was executed at the storage unit. Officers recovered additional heroin packaging material; 12 guns, including one Norinco SKS, 7.62x39 caliber rifle and magazine; a loaded AR-15-style 5.56mm rifle; a loaded .40 caliber handgun; three loaded .45 caliber handguns; two loaded 9mm handguns, one with a high-capacity magazine with 31 rounds of ammunition; two .357 Magnum caliber revolvers, one of which was loaded; a .22 caliber revolver; and a 12-gauge black pistol grip shotgun. In addition, officers recovered two bullet proof vests, ammunition of various calibers, two holsters and two magazines.
James had previously been convicted of a felony and was prohibited from possessing guns and ammunition.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended HSI Baltimore, ATF, BPD and the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office for their work in this investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Special Assistant United States Attorney Kenneth S. Clark and Assistant U.S. Attorney Mushtaq Gunja, who prosecuted the case.