Federal Jury Convicts Two Drug Dealers with Ties to Mexican Drug Cartels

A Total of Four Drug Conspirators Convicted in the Baltimore Drug Trafficking Scheme

February 8, 2011

Baltimore, Maryland - A federal jury convicted Wade Coats, age 45, of Baltimore, Maryland, and Jose Cavazos, age 43, of Midlothean, Texas, late yesterday of conspiring to distribute, and possessing with intent to distribute, marijuana and cocaine. Coats was also convicted of possessing a gun in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

The convictions were announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Ava Cooper-Davis of the Drug Enforcement Administration - Washington Field Division; Special Agent in Charge Richard A. McFeely of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Colonel Terrence Sheridan, Superintendent of the Maryland State Police; Baltimore City State’s Attorney Gregg L. Bernstein; and Baltimore Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III.

“Coordination by local, state and federal law enforcement agencies is essential to combat international drug cartels that import drugs and violence to Maryland,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein.

“DEA’s investigation of this Drug Trafficking Organization (DTO) was a long-term, highly complex effort. This investigation used a myriad of investigative techniques, to include confidential sources, surveillance and other techniques to expose this DTO.” stated Ava A. Cooper-Davis, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration. “Cocaine and marijuana for this DTO came directly from a powerful Mexican drug cartel. The conviction today of Wade Coats and Jose Cavazos is another example of our success in the fight against major Mexican drug cartels operating in the United States,” added Cooper-Davis.

According to testimony at the five day trial, from 2005 until April, 2009, Coats and Cavazos, along with James Bostic and Ronald Brown received marijuana, heroin and/or cocaine from the Gulf and Los Zetas Mexican drug cartels, which they distributed on the east side of Baltimore. The Mexican drug cartels shipped the drugs from Mexico through Texas to Baltimore. On April 27, 2009, law enforcement saw Coats and co-defendant Ronald Brown conduct a drug transaction. Agents followed Coats to a Baltimore hotel where Coats removed several bags from his trunk, enter the hotel and return to his car shortly thereafter without the bags.

Later that evening, law enforcement saw Coats exit a business located on North Duncan street in Baltimore with bags that he placed in his trunk. Agents stopped Coats outside his car and Coats became nervous. After Coats denied visiting the hotel earlier that day, agents searched Coats and seized a gun and $7,000 in cash. Coats was arrested.

According to evidence presented at trial, agents traveled to the hotel and determined which room was registered to Coats under one of his fake identifications. Law enforcement executed a search warrant for the hotel room, found Cavazos inside and seized several cell phones and a suitcase containing $275,000 in heat sealed bricks of cash wrapped in aluminum foil. Agents arrested Cavazos. Investigators found the car driven by Cavazos in the hotel garage and seized another suitcase containing $335,00 in heat sealed bricks of cash from the trunk.

Agents searched Brown’s residence on April 28, 2009 and seized quantities of heroin and powder cocaine, and other drug paraphernalia consistent with the packaging of drugs. Agents arrested Brown.

Agents also recorded a meeting between Bostic and cartel representatives in December 2009 in which Bostic paid the cartel $590,000 for previously obtained marijuana and cocaine, and another meeting on February 2, 2010 in which the cartel provided Bostic with 26 ½ pounds of cocaine. Agents arrested Bostic as he left the second meeting.

Coats and Cavazos face a maximum sentence of life in prison for the drug conspiracy. Coats also faces a maximum penalty of life in prison for the gun possession. U.S. District Judge William D. Quarles, Jr. scheduled sentencing for Coats and Cavazos on March 24 and 25, 2011 , at 1:00 p.m., respectively.

James Bostic, age 39, of Baltimore, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute between 110 and 330 pounds of cocaine and was sentenced to 210 months in prison. Ronald Brown, age 44, of Gwynn Oak, Maryland, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine. Brown’s sentencing has not yet been scheduled.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the DEA and the DEA High Intensity Drug Trafficking Task Force, FBI, Maryland State Police, Baltimore Police Department and the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office for their work in this investigation and prosecution. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorneys James T. Wallner and Peter M. Nothstein, who are prosecuting this Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force case.

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