Leader in Baltimore Heroin Distribution Ring Sentenced to over 10 Years in Prison
Baltimore, Maryland - U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake sentenced Walter Powell, age 60, of Baltimore, Maryland, today to 121 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release for conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute heroin. Judge Blake also sentenced co-defendant Diego Amparo to a total of seven years in prison, followed by one year of supervised release, on the same charge and for distribution of heroin in an unrelated case.
The sentences were announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Stephen E. Vogt of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Baltimore City State’s Attorney Gregg L. Bernstein; Colonel Marcus L. Brown, Superintendent of the Maryland State Police; and Commissioner Anthony W. Batts of the Baltimore Police Department.
According to Powell and Amparo’s guilty pleas, as part of an investigation into a heroin drug trafficking organization, the FBI overheard phone calls in which Powell arranged to purchase heroin from co-defendants Danilo Garcia and Amparo. For example, on July 22, 2011, agents set up physical surveillance in Philadelphia, after intercepting telephone calls in which Powell had arranged to pick up heroin from Amparo in Philadelphia, in a deal that had been brokered by Garcia. Agents observed Powell arrive at the meeting place in Philadelphia and leave a short time later. As Powell was driving back to Maryland, he was stopped in a traffic stop on I-95 in Maryland and was found to be in possession of approximately 144 grams of heroin.
During the investigation, Powell was overheard on numerous occasions selling heroin to co-conspirators and on August 15, 2011, a courier was intercepted by law enforcement on the way to deliver approximately 497.8 grams of heroin to Powell.
Powell admitted that he was responsible for the distribution of between one and three kilograms of heroin.
Danilo Garcia was convicted after a 12 day jury trial of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin and three counts of possession with intent to distribute heroin. U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake has scheduled sentencing for Garcia on February 1, 2013 at 9:15 a.m.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the FBI, Baltimore Police Department, Maryland State Police and Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office for their work in this investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorneys Ayn B. Ducao and Christopher J. Romano, who prosecuted the case.