Southern Maryland Cocaine Conspirator Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison
All 15 Defendants Have Pleaded Guilty in the Drug Conspiracy
Greenbelt, Maryland - U.S. District Judge Peter J. Messitte sentenced James Walter Ball, Jr. a/k/a Pooh Ball, age 36, of Great Mills, Maryland, today to 10 years in prison followed by five years of supervised release for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine base, commonly known as “crack cocaine,” and being a felon possession of ammunition.
The sentence was 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 Jeannine A. Hammett of the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation, Washington, D.C. Field Office; St. Mary’s County Sheriff Tim Cameron; Calvert County Sheriff Mike Evans; Charles County Sheriff Rex Coffey; and Chief Mark A. Magaw of the Prince George’s County Police Department.
Acting Special Agent in Charge, Jeannine A. Hammett of IRS Criminal Investigation stated, “The role of IRS CI in narcotics investigations is to follow the money so we can financially disrupt and dismantle major drug trafficking organizations. IRS Criminal Investigation is proud to provide its financial expertise as we work alongside our law enforcement partners to bring criminals to justice."
According to his guilty plea, from 2006 to September 2009, Ball conspired with Rodney Estep and others to distribute cocaine hydrochloride and crack. During the conspiracy, Estep would receive cocaine from his sources of supply. The cocaine was smuggled back to St. Mary’s County, Maryland. Estep supplied to Ball and others with the cocaine for distribution in St. Mary’s County and Charles County, Maryland. Ball converted the cocaine into cocaine base, and then sold quantities of crack and cocaine hydrochloride to customers. Ball stored the drugs at various locations, including his residence.
On September 10, 2009, law enforcement executed a search warrant at Ball’s residence and seized cocaine hydrochloride, cocaine base residue and 30 rounds of 9mm ammunition, 115 grain, with full metal jackets. Ball was previously convicted of a felony and thus, was prohibited from possessing ammunition.
During the conspiracy, Ball was responsible for the distribution of between five and 15 kilograms of cocaine hydrochloride, and between 150 and 500 grams of crack.
To date, all of the 15 defendants charged in this conspiracy have pleaded guilty to their participation in the drug and gambling operations, including the ringleader Rodney Matthew Estep, a/k/a “Barney Fife,” age 35, of Mechanicsville, Maryland, who was sentenced to 14 years in prison.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein thanked the DEA, IRS-CI and the deputies and officers from the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office, Calvert County Sheriff’s Office, Charles County Sheriff’s Office and the Prince George’s County Police Department, for their investigative work in this Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force case. Mr. Rosenstein commended Assistant United States Attorneys James A. Crowell IV and Mara Zusman Greenberg, who prosecuted the case.