60 Year Old Former Counselor Sentenced to Over 11 Years in Prison for Selling Drugs at D.C. Women's Shelter

April 27, 2011

Greenbelt, Maryland - U.S. District Judge Peter J. Messitte sentenced Howard Ray Barnes, age 60, of Capitol Heights, Maryland, today to 140 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release for distributing heroin, possessing with intent to distribute cocaine and possessing a gun in furtherance of drug trafficking.

The s entence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosen stein and Special Agent in Charge Ava Cooper-Davis of the Drug Enforcement Administration - Washington Field Division.

According to Barnes’ guilty plea, several sources identified Barnes, while a counselor at the women’s shelter of D.C. General Hospital in Washington, D.C., as selling heroin from the shelter. From October 2009 to February 2010, officers used sources to buy heroin from Barnes, twice at the shelter’s parking lot and twice from Barnes’ home, totaling 6.7 grams.

On March 17, 2010, after Barnes left his home to work at the shelter, officers executed a search warrant and seized from Barnes’ home 10.8 grams of heroin, approximately 3.4 grams of crack cocaine, hundreds of plastic ziplock bags that were identical to the packaging of the heroin purchased from Barnes, two loaded revolvers and a loaded pistol, and over 200 rounds of ammunition. Barnes was arrested that day in the shelter’s parking lot as he arrived for work. Officers seized from Barnes 54 plastic baggies, each containing heroin, totaling approximately 14.1 grams; and 21 small baggies, each containing cocaine base, totaling approximately 4.2 grams.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the DEA for its work in the investigation and thanked Assistant United States Attorney Christen A. Sproule, who prosecuted the case.

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