Baltimore EXILE Partners Announce 60% Increase in Violent Defendants Charged Federally Since 2005
Program Will Enhance Focus on Violent Gangs and Witness Intimidation in 2008
Baltimore, Maryland - Leaders of the local, state and federal agency partners implementing the Baltimore EXILE strategy held a meeting today to discuss their progress and recognize the second anniversary of the program. “Criminals are getting the message that gun crime equals jail time and armed repeat offenders are at the top of our list,” said United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. “Baltimore EXILE is working to reduce gun crime because it is a unified and comprehensive strategy to send armed criminals to jail and deter others from following in their footsteps. This year, we will enhance our efforts to combat violent gangs and witness intimidation and devote additional resources to fugitive apprehension.” “I appreciate the enthusiasm and dedication of our local, state and federal law enforcement partners. We are committed to many initiatives that have resulted in the successful prosecutions outlined today. We will continue to work very hard using every tool in our toolbox to achieve the best possible public safety results for our citizens,” said Baltimore City State’s Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy.
Gregory K. Gant, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Baltimore Field Division stated, “The increase in defendants charged in 2007 is an indication of the Baltimore EXILE partners’ continued commitment to this worthwhile program. Baltimore EXILE benefits the citizens of our communities by taking violent repeat offenders off the streets for a very long time.” Baltimore EXILE is a unified and comprehensive strategy to combat gun crime initiated in 2006 by the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office, the Baltimore Police Department, the Maryland Division of Parole and Probation, the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Marshals Service, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force and the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The program combines law enforcement efforts, community action and revitalization, and public awareness. Details are available on the internet at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/md/Exile/index.html.
During 2007, 197 Baltimore EXILE defendants were charged with federal crimes. Approximately 58% of those cases were based on referrals from the State's Attorney's FIVE Unit. Many of the other cases were the result of proactive investigations, including leads generated under EXILE's Violent Repeat Offender initiative. Many of the cases involved local gun arrests that resulted in lengthy federal prison sentences.
The 2007 total represents a 30% increase over the number of Baltimore EXILE offenders charged in federal court in 2006, when 151 defendants were charged. In 2005, before the EXILE strategy was adopted, federal gun charges were filed against 123 Baltimore City defendants, resulting in a total increase of 60% since the program went into effect.
In addition to the federal indictments, a total of 36 Federal Letters of Intent to Prosecute, known as “FLIP letters,” were utilized in 2007. FLIP letters are written by federal prosecutors to notify certain defendants with pending state gun charges that the evidence in their cases has been reviewed by ATF agents and federal prosecutors and that federal charges will be filed if their cases are not resolved in state court.
Of the 36 defendants given FLIP letters in 2007, 28 defendants – or 77% – pleaded guilty to state charges carrying at least a mandatory five-year sentence. Defendants who rejected the state pleas were indicted in federal court.
Combined with the 197 defendants charged federally in Baltimore EXILE cases, federal prosecutors handled a total of 225 violent crime defendants in 2007. Compared to 2005, before the FLIP program began, federal prosecutors saw a increase of over 80% in the number of violent crime cases handled.
Violent Repeat Offenders
The second year of the Baltimore EXILE program also was marked by proactive efforts to take some of Baltimore’s most violent repeat offenders off the streets. Under Baltimore EXILE’s Violent Repeat Offender (VRO) initiative, representatives of the Division of Parole and Probation of the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, the United States Probation Office, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the High Intensity Drug-Trafficking Area Task Force (HIDTA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), ATF, BPD, the SAO, and the USAO meet regularly to identify some of the most violent individuals in the city – individuals who belong to violent gangs or organizations operating in Baltimore and individuals who have been charged with, or have been suspects in, shootings and murders.
Some VRO targets have pending state gun, drug, or violent crime cases. Many are in violation of their parole or probation. Others have no pending charges but have lengthy and disturbing criminal histories. The VRO team determines the most effective strategy for arresting and detaining each criminal – including violations of parole or probation, aggressive prosecution of pending state or federal charges, or proactive investigations – and monitors the status of each pending case or investigation.
More than 50 VROs have been identified and pursued since the program began in early 2006. Of those, 37 have been detained or are facing pending charges, as follows:
• four have been detained pursuant to revocations of parole or probation;
• six have been detained following convictions in state court;
• 21 have been detained based on newly filed federal charges; and
• six have pending felony charges in state court.
Other VROs are the subjects of ongoing investigations.
During 2007, many defendants were sentenced to lengthy terms of imprisonment for firearms possession or related drug offenses in Baltimore City and have been sent to, or are awaiting designation to, federal prison facilities outside of Maryland to serve their sentences. Some examples of those defendants follow. Press releases relating to each case can be found on the internet at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/md:
15 years and 8 months
St. Matthew Evans
19 years and 7 months
11 years and 8 months
Under the leadership of BPD and the Marshals Service, and with the assistance of other agencies, additional resources were directed to apprehending fugitives wanted on state and federal charges in Baltimore in 2007.
Throughout 2007, USAO and SAO prosecutors and ATF agents and BPD task force officers provided legal instruction during the BPD’s weekly inservice training. Specialized instruction is also being provided on search warrants and other topics.
The Baltimore EXILE program continued an extensive outreach and media campaign including bus billboards, radio public service announcements, and posters advertising lengthy federal sentences received by particular defendants.
At today’s meeting, Baltimore EXILE Achievement Awards were presented to 28 Baltimore City police officers, 14 federal agents and three local and federal prosecutors whose outstanding work resulted in significant firearms or violent crime cases. Awards were presented by U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein, Baltimore City State’s Attorney Patricia Jessamy, Baltimore Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III, ATF Special Agent in Charge Gregory Gant, DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge Carl Kotowski, and FBI Special Agent in Charge William Chase. A list of award recipients is attached.
Awards for Contributions to the EXILE Program
February 20, 2008
United States Attorney’s Office
AUSA Michael Hanlon
State’s Attorney’s Office
ASA Andrew Kowalczyk
ASA Roya Hanna
Significant Exile Cases
1. U.S. v. Daron Brown (AUSA Jim Wallner)
SA Noah Slackman (ATF)
Det. Greg Jenkins
Summary: Daron Brown was arrested for a string of burglaries in the Northwood Section of Baltimore City, one of which involved the theft of multiple firearms. A search warrant was executed at Brown’s home, in which two shotgun shells were recovered. Brown was prosecuted for being a felon in possession of ammunition and received a sentence of about 8 years. He has now been “exiled” to Pennsylvania.
2. U.S. v. Keith Debnam, et al. (AUSAs Stephanie Gallagher, Debbie Dwyer;
ASA Nancy Olin)
Michael Hodnett (ATF)
Det. Al Savage
Summary: Between July and August 2006, Keith Debnam, Michael Goodwyn, and Clyde Ringgold committed a series of armed robberies of cigarette trucks. Debnam participated in six robberies, resulting in the theft of more than 650 cartons of cigarettes worth over $24,500. Goodwyn and Ringgold each participated in four of the six robberies. On each occasion, the robbers threatened the drivers of the delivery trucks with a gun. The robbers were arrested on August 8, 2006 after police received a 911 call describing the getaway car, and the firearm was recovered. All three defendants pled guilty. Last month, Debnam was sentenced to 14 years and 10 months in prison, and co-defendant Michael Goodwyn was sentenced to 14 years and 4 months in federal prison. Both were also ordered to pay restitution. In December, co-defendant Clyde Ringgold was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison.
3. U.S. v. Ronald Ector (AUSA Debbie Dwyer)
Special Agent Alan Boroshok (ATF)
Sgt. Sue Dillman (BPD)
Summary: On January 12, 2006, Baltimore City police officers responded to a 911 call for an attempted armed robbery and encountered Ronald Ector. On the scene, officers approached Ector, who identified himself as a Deputy U.S. Marshal. At the time, Ector had subdued the intended robbery victim with flex cuffs and was wearing body armor and a raid jacket labeled “POLICE.” Police searched Ector and recovered a loaded .40 caliber pistol and several forms of false police identification. An additional pair of handcuffs and another piece of body armor were also recovered from Ector’s car. Ector pled guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm. In November 2007, Ector was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison. He has now been “exiled” to Oklahoma.
4. U.S. v. Donta Gillie (SAUSA Jamie Francomano)
Det./TFO Kenneth Ramberg (ATF)
Det./TFO Edgar Allen (ATF)
Det./TFO Michael Glenn (ATF)
Summary: On January 2, 2006, Baltimore City detectives reviewed the ammunition sales logs at a local Wal-Mart and conducted background checks on all of the individuals who purchased ammunition at the store on December 31, 2005, including Gillie, a convicted felon. On February 1, 2006, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at Gillie’s residence and recovered a semi-automatic handgun with a holster, a magazine with eight .25 caliber cartridges, and three boxes of .25 caliber ammunition. Gillie pled guilty and was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison, which he’s serving in upstate New York. He is 26 and will not get out of prison until around 2022.
5. U.S. v. Darryl Harcum (SAUSA Jamie Francomano, AUSA Debbie Dwyer)
SA John Cooney (ATF)
Officer Bryan Ruth (now with Shippensburg University Police)
Summary: On January 26, 2006, Officer Ruth responded to a report of shots being fired. As Officer Ruth approached Harcum in an alley, Harcum dropped a handgun and several small objects to the ground as he ran away. Harcum was arrested and officers recovered three zip-lock bags with marijuana and a loaded semi-automatic pistol, which had been stolen from an owner in West Virginia. Harcum was on probation at the time of this arrest. Harcum was convicted after a two-day trial. One unexpected challenge arose when we discovered, just before trial, that the gun had inadvertently been returned to its owner in West Virginia. Special Agent Cooney deserves special recognition for tracking down the gun and driving to West Virginia and back on the first morning of trial to retrieve it.
Harcum was determined to be an Armed Career Criminal based on eight previous state convictions. On August 24, 2007, Harcum was sentenced to 19 years and 7 months in federal prison. He has now been “exiled” to Pennsylvania. He is 28 and will not be released until around 2025.
6. U.S. v. Dwight Hickman, a/k/a “Monster” – VRO case (AUSAs Jim Wallner, SAUSA
Jamie Francomano; ASA Diana Smith)
SA Mike Mizer (FBI)
Det./TFO Todd Moody (FBI)
Det. Joseph Donato
Det. Dan Martin
Det. John Ryce
Det. Paul Thompson
Summary: From May 2005 to January 2007, Dwight Hickman conspired with others to distribute crack cocaine in the Westport section of Baltimore. Hickman and his co-conspirators used locations in and around Baltimore City to store crack cocaine for distribution. On June 7, 2006, Baltimore police searched Hickman’s residence and recovered plastic bags containing a total of more than 60 grams of crack cocaine, drug packaging materials, and a digital scale with cocaine residue. Hickman pled guilty shortly before trial and, on January 2, he was sentenced to 25 years in prison without parole, which he’s now serving in Pennsylvania (Lewisburg). He is 29 and will not be released until around 2030.
7. U.S. v. Larry Johnson (AUSAs Ty Kowitz, Jonathan Biran)
Det./TFO Kenneth Ramberg (ATF)
– also honored for: U.S. v. Donta Gillie
Det./TFO Edgar Allen (ATF)
– also honored for: U.S. v. Donta Gillie
SA Ram Mahanand (ATF)
Officer Joseph Bannerman
Detective Eric Green
Sergeant Burl Tuller (ret.)
SA Douglas Ellington (DEA)
Det./TFO Todd Moody (FBI)
– also honored for: U.S. v. Dwight Hickman
Summary: From a pole camera video, Detective Green observed Johnson engage in a drug transaction. The defendant walked away from his vehicle and into a carry-out store. Johnson was arrested in the carry-out after he threw a gelcap of heroin behind the counter. A search of the car from which Johnson had been retrieving drugs resulted in the recovery of over 50 gel caps containing heroin, 38 vials of cocaine, a scale, a razor blade and a loaded firearm, all located beneath the passenger seat. The defendant, who qualified as both a Career Offender and an Armed Career Criminal, was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison, which he’s now serving in Pennsylvania. He is 30 years old and will be nearly 60 when he is released from prison, around 2035.
8. U.S. v. Calvin Matthews, et al. – VRO case (AUSAs Jim Wallner, Bryan Giblin;
ASAs Christine Siemek, Chris Mason)
SA Daniel Mitry
SA Steve Aziz
SA Pete Kim
SA Aaron Padgett
SA Bryan Silvestro
GS Jim McCaffery
Det. Brian Biehler
Summary: Calvin Matthews was the leader of a prolific heroin-distribution organization known as “Smackdown” that was responsible for distributing massive quantities of heroin – up to $20,000 worth per day – in various parts of south Baltimore over a four-year period through mobile street-level distribution “shops.” Five close relatives were lieutenants who helped oversee the organization’s day-to-day operations. Investigative work by the DEA MET and the Baltimore Police Department led to wiretaps on two phones used by Calvin Matthews’ lieutenants. The wiretap portion of the investigation was highly efficient, as a mere 41 days elapsed between the initiation of the first wiretap and the takedown in late June 2007. Eight defendants were arrested and six search warrants were executed, resulting in the seizure of over 3 kilograms of raw heroin, packaging material, over $120,000 in cash, and three firearms. All of the defendants have pled guilty or are scheduled to do so, and are facing terms of more than 10 years in prison.
9. U.S. v. Lamar Prilliman – VRO case (AUSAs Jim Wallner, Greg Welsh;
ASAs Brian Fish, Marc Cohen)
SA Douglas Ellington (DEA)
– also honored for: U.S. v. Larry Johnson
Det./TFO Keith Benson (DEA)
Det. Joseph Dugan (ret. – now with Harford Co. Sheriff’s Dept.)
Det. David Jones
Det. Greg McGillivary (ret. – now with MTA Police Dept.)
Det. Michael Smith
Summary: From 1999 to 2006, Lamar Prilliman operated a crack-distribution organization in the area of the 1800 block of Pennsylvania Avenue, the 1600 block of Druid Hill Avenue and 500 block of Wilson Street. Prilliman or one of his street lieutenants would oversee the daily operation of the street level distribution, and Prilliman collected the proceeds at the end of the day’s distribution. As a result of this scheme, Prilliman and his co-conspirators distributed over 1.5 kilograms of cocaine base. In furtherance of his drug organization, Prilliman and another individual killed one of his workers in order to prevent her from providing information about him to law enforcement. Prilliman pled guilty shortly before trial and was sentenced on February 1 to 21 years in federal prison without parole.
10. U.S. v. Lanikko Santiago (AUSAs Ty Kowitz, Mike Hanlon)
Greg Rotberg (ATF)
Det. Lamont Davis
Det. Lou Holley
Det. Dennis Workley
Summary: On November 8, 2006, Lanikko Santiago was a passenger in the rear seat of a vehicle pulled over by Baltimore City detectives, who had observed the vehicle go through a stop sign. One of the detectives observed Santiago toss something to the floor of the passenger seat and then move several jackets that were on the seat to the same area. Detectives observed the handle of a firearm sticking out from under the jackets. Santiago was removed from the vehicle and handcuffed after a brief struggle. The officers recovered a loaded firearm, which had been stolen and which had an obliterated serial number, from the floor of the backseat. Santiago admitted that he was a member of the Bloods Gang. He was convicted at trial and was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison. He has now been “exiled” to Kentucky.
11. U.S. v. William Wright (AUSA Greg Welsh)
SA Alan Boroshok (ATF)
– also honored for: U.S. v. Ronald Ector
Det. Harold J. Dent, III
Det. Julius T. Dockett
Det. John C. Ganovski
Det. Richard Jamison
Summary: On July 4, 2006, the officers searched Wright’s residence and found Wright in possession of a .32 caliber pistol. Wright later pled guilty and was sentenced in March 2007 to 15 years in federal prison as an Armed Career Criminal. He has now been “exiled” to South Carolina. He is 38 and will not get out of prison until around 2022, when he’s over 50.