Johnnie Butler and Calvin Wright Convicted of Drug Conspiracy

“Defendants Will Spend Decades In Federal Prisons Far From Home”

January 29, 2010

Baltimore, Maryland - A federal jury convicted Johnnie Butler, a/k/a “Jr.,”age 33 of Nottingham, Maryland and Calvin Wright, a/k/a “Turkey,” age 37, of Baltimore, today on charges of conspiracy to distribute heroin, cocaine and other drugs, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime and possession of firearms by convicted felons. Wright was also convicted of possession with intent to distribute heroin. Butler and Wright still face separate state charges for the 2007 torture and murder of Sintia Mesa.

The conviction was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Baltimore City State’s Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy; Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III of the Baltimore City Police Department; and Special Agent in Charge Ava Cooper-Davis of the Drug Enforcement Administration - Washington Field Division.

“Johnnie Butler and Calvin Wright will spend the next several decades in federal prisons far from home,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. “These defendants will never again bring drugs and violence to the streets of Baltimore.”

Ava A. Cooper-Davis, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration stated, “Throughout this investigation over 26 individuals have been arrested and numerous high power assault weapons have been taken off the streets of Baltimore. These collaborative investigations illustrate the impact law enforcement has when working together.” Cooper-Davis added, "Many individuals came forward to help convict Mr. Butler and Mr. Wright. These citizens ensured their communities are now safer.”

According to evidence presented at the three week trial, Butler operated a drug distribution organization that utilized locations in Baltimore, such as the 5000 block of Belair Road, Greenmount Avenue and 29th Street, and Collington Avenue and Eager Street, to package, store and distribute drugs and collect money from drug customers. Witnesses testified that members of the conspiracy resupplied the street inventory as needed and used guns to protect the drugs and drug proceeds and to further the drug organization.

According to the evidence and witness testimony, in 2006, Butler and Wright received and distributed at least five kilograms of heroin they received from a supplier in New York, as well as kilograms of cocaine. Witnesses testified that Butler and Wright illegally possessed firearms which they used in the drug conspiracy. In addition, according to testimony at trial, Butler obtained a total of over 1.5 kilograms from two separate sources of supply in May and June 2008.

Butler and Wright face a maximum sentence of life in prison for conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and for possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime and a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison for illegal possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Calvin Wright faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for possession with intent to distribute heroin. The government also seeks the forfeiture of $800,000, shown during trial to be the proceeds of the conspiracy, as well as several vehicles.

U.S. District Judge Benson E. Legg scheduled sentencing for Butler and Wright on April 28 and April, 2010, respectively, both at 10:00 a.m. The defendants remain in federal custody.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein and Baltimore City State’s Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy commended Assistant United States Attorney George J. Hazel and Special Assistant United States Attorney Christine M. Celeste, a cross-designated Baltimore City Assistant State’s Attorney, who are prosecuting this Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force case and Assistant State’s Attorneys Melissa Copeland, Jerry Jones and Michael Studdard, who are assisting in the prosecution.



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