Leader of Conspiracy to Import Cocaine and Heroin Is Sentenced to 25 Years in Federal Prison

February 20, 2009

Baltimore, Maryland - U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett sentenced Derrick Gilliard, a/k/a “Prince,” age 45, of Baltimore, today to 25 years in prison followed by five years of supervised release for conspiracy to import five kilograms or more of cocaine and one kilogram or more of heroin, on September 5, 2008, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein. Judge Bennett enhanced Gilliard’s sentence upon finding that he was a career criminal, based on two previous convictions for narcotics distribution.

“Derrick Gilliard managed a large criminal enterprise that smuggled a lot of cocaine and heroin to Baltimore from overseas for seven years,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. “This case demonstrates how illegal drug businesses operate in our state.”

“Those involved in the importation of illegal narcotics are not beyond the reach of justice,” said Scot R. Rittenberg, Acting Special Agent in Charge for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in Baltimore. "ICE is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to identify, disrupt, and dismantle drug trafficking organizations that seek to infiltrate our borders and operate within our jurisdiction."

According to his guilty plea, beginning in or about 2001 and continuing through February of 2008, Gilliard was a manager in a scheme to import large quantities of heroin and cocaine into the United States from Barbados, Dominica and elsewhere. Once successfully imported into the United States, the heroin and cocaine was given to Derrick Gilliard, who distributed the drugs to customers in Baltimore and New York City. Gilliard supervised the individuals who recruited couriers to make the trips. Gilliard supplied the recruiters with cash that was given to the couriers, and they provided Gilliard with the drugs delivered by the couriers. During the course of the conspiracy, dozens of couriers were utilized, with many couriers making multiple trips over the course of the conspiracy. Each courier routinely returned from Barbados and Dominica with between three and four kilograms of heroin or cocaine taped to their persons. Gilliard admitted that over the course of the conspiracy he was responsible for the importation of more than 150 kilograms or more of cocaine or its equivalent in heroin.

Nine other defendants have pleaded guilty to their roles in the scheme.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein thanked U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Drug Enforcement Administration for their investigative work in this Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force case and commended Assistant United States Attorney James G. Warwick, who prosecuted the case.



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