News

Cocaine Dealer Sentenced to 22 Years in Prison

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 31, 2011

Baltimore, Maryland - U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett, sentenced Gregory Alfred Whyte, a/k/a “Tony Smith” and “Manny,” age 39, of Baltimore, Maryland, today to 22 years in prison followed by five years of supervised release for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine and attempted possession with intent to distribute cocaine. Judge Bennett enhanced Whyte’s sentence upon finding that Whyte obstructed of justice by attempting to have a witness recant his testimony.

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

“This is drug interdiction at its best,” stated Ava Cooper-Davis, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration. “Quick and effective cooperation between our domestic offices put an end to Mr. Whyte's smuggling business. Mr. Whyte received an appropriate sentence today which also shows that witness intimidation will not be tolerated.” added Cooper- Davis.

According to evidence presented at his six day trial, on May 29, 2009, agents for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in Los Angeles intercepted a package containing a refrigerator with 16 kilograms of cocaine hidden inside. The package was being shipped to "MichaelTurner,1621 N. Fulton Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21227, Baltimore, Maryland." DEA agents in Baltimore were alerted and the package was sent to a freight company located near BWI Airport to be picked up. On June 1, 2009, DEA agents established surveillance in and around the freight company. That day, agents observed a black Mitsubishi, registered to Whyte, arrive at the location. The driver inquired about the package but was told it was not yet ready for delivery.

While preparing the cocaine shipment for the controlled delivery at the freight company, DEA agents received information that two individuals had recently sent a large package from that location to the same shipper in Gardena, California, from which the package containing the 16 kilos of cocaine had originated. When DEA agents in California arrived at the shipper’s office, they learned that an individual from Maryland had just arrived to pick up the package that had been shipped from Maryland. The package was searched and found to contain $259,570 in cash. Witnesses at trial testified that Whyte and another man had delivered the package for shipment to California. Evidence at trial also showed numerous contacts between phones used by co-conspirators and the phone used by Whyte. Finally, according to evidence presented at trial, when Whyte was arrested on May 13, 2010, he was in possession of a piece of paper on which was written “Michael Turner 1621 Fulton Avenue,” the name and address that was on the shipment containing the 16 kilos. Whyte was also had numerous business cards for shipping companies and other businesses in Los Angeles.

On Friday, August 27, 2010, the grand jury transcript of a co-conspirator’s testimony and other items were provided to Whyte as part of a motions hearing. After the hearing, Whyte returned to Supermax, where the co-conspirator was being held in an adjacent cell. The co-conspirator testified that Whyte accused him of being a “snitch,” and told other inmates that he had seen the co-conspirator’s grand jury testimony. According to trial testimony, Whyte asked the co-conspirator to recant his grand jury testimony, which he agreed to do in light of his circumstances (being locked up with Whyte and being disclosed as a “snitch” to other inmates ). The co-conspirator testified that Whyte told him what to write and that he gave Whyte two handwritten copies of the affidavit, which was notarized by a prison employee. The following Monday, Whyte alerted his attorney about what he did, and the co-conspirator was moved to another facility. On August 31, 2010, based on information provided to the facility, Whyte’s cell was searched and one handwritten copy of the recantation was recovered. The second copy came was produced by Whyte’s attorney at trial during the co-conspirator’s cross-examination.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the DEA for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorney John F. Purcell, who prosecuted the case.

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