News

Jamaican Drug Dealer Sentenced To 14 Years In Prison

Also Laundered More Than $300,000 in Drug Proceeds

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 28, 2014

Baltimore, Maryland - U.S. District Judge George L. Russell III sentenced Jerome Adolfo Castle, a/k/a Dontwon Burris, age 35, a Jamaican citizen residing in Pikesville, Maryland, to 14 years in prison, followed by five years of supervised release, for conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute cocaine and marijuana; conspiracy to launder money; and illegally re-entering the United States after having previously been deported. Judge Russell also ordered that Castle forfeit $57,997 in cash, his interest in seven Baltimore properties, jewelry valued at more than $411,000, 98 pairs of men’s shoes, two laptop computers and an I-Pad, seven firearms and ammunition, as well as six vehicles, including a 2009 Jaguar XF Premium.

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Assistant Special Agent in Charge Gary Tuggle of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Baltimore District Office; Chief James W. Johnson of the Baltimore County Police Department; Colonel Michael Kundrat, Chief of the Maryland Transportation Authority Police; Special Agent in Charge Thomas J. Kelly of the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation, Washington, D.C. Field Office; and Special Agent in Charge William Winter of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)..

According to Castle’s plea agreement, from March 2013 through April 22, 2013, Jerome Castle conspired with Josef Byrd, Harold Byrd and others to distribute cocaine and marijuana. As a result of extensive surveillance and other investigative actions, law enforcement obtained federal search warrants for the residences of Harold and Josef Byrd; a commercial building at 5819 Moravia Road, Baltimore, MD; and for Castle’s residence on Archimedes Court in Pikesville.

On April 22, 2013, investigators arrested Josef Byrd and Harold Byrd as they took delivery of a shipment of approximately 500 pounds of marijuana at the commercial premises at 5819 Moravia Road. Jerome Castle was conducting counter-surveillance during the marijuana delivery and fled from police in a Ford pick-up truck. Castle took the police on a high-speed chase at speeds exceeding 100 miles per hour, and was arrested only after he crashed his vehicle into other vehicles parked in a used car lot in Harford County.

In search warrants executed later that day, law enforcement recovered over five kilograms of cocaine from each of the Byrd brothers’ homes, with a street value of approximately $150,000. Law enforcement also recovered three handguns, one AK-47 (semi-automatic), and four sets of body armor from Harold Byrd’s residence. Seventy-three black plastic containers used to conceal large quantities of marijuana during shipment from Arizona to Maryland were also recovered from Harold’s home. At Castle’s home, investigators recovered almost $58,000 in cash; jewelry appraised at over $411,000; a money counter; a scale used to measure quantities of drugs; over 200 grams of marijuana; and seven handguns. The substances recovered during these searches were field-tested and the results were positive for the presence of cocaine and marijuana.

In addition to his drug activities, Jerome Castle conspired to conduct monetary transactions of more than $10,000 using the proceeds from the sale of cocaine and marijuana. These monetary transactions were primarily bank account deposits made by Castle under the name of Dontwon Burris. Between 2010 and April of 2013, Castle deposited approximately $300,000 in cash to bank accounts in the name of Dontwon Burris.

Brothers Harold Alexander Byrd, age 26, of Phoenix, Maryland, and Joseph Ibreham Byrd, age 34, of Owings Mills, Maryland, previously pleaded guilty to their roles in the conspiracy and were each sentenced to 10 years in prison.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the DEA, Baltimore County Police Department, the Maryland Transportation Authority Police, IRS-Criminal Investigation and HSI-Baltimore for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorneys James G. Warwick and Kenneth S. Clark, who prosecuted the case.

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