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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Columbia

Friday, August 9, 2019

Leader of Narcotics Trafficking Conspiracy Sentenced to 16 Years in Prison

FBI Recovered Crack, Cocaine, PCP, Fentanyl, and Firearms During Investigation

            WASHINGTON – Darnell Catlett, 46, of Upper Marlboro, was sentenced today for his role as a leader of a nearly year-long crack and cocaine drug trafficking conspiracy in Washington, D.C. and Maryland, announced U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu and Timothy Dunham, Special Agent in Charge, Criminal Division, FBI Washington Field Office.

            Catlett pled guilty in May 2019 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 280 grams or more of cocaine base and a detectable amount of cocaine. Judge Richard J. Leon sentenced Catlett to 16 years in prison, to be followed by five years of supervised release.

            Catlett was arrested on the morning of March 15, 2018, and his residence was searched pursuant to a search warrant. At Catlett’s residence, the FBI recovered a loaded firearm, $70,813 in U.S. currency, a money counter, and multiple plastic bags with drug residue. Inside his BMW parked in the garage, Catlett had 234 grams of crack packaged for distribution. As part of his plea agreement, Catlett accepted responsibility for a firearm possessed in his Maryland residence at the time that he was arrested and that he was a leader of the conspiracy. Prior to his arrest, Catlett had been intercepted on a court-approved wiretap and unbeknownst to him, had sold narcotics to law enforcement.

            Catlett was previously convicted of drug trafficking in United States District Court for the District of Columbia in 1992, and assault with intent to kill in the District of Columbia Superior Court in 1995.

            Five others have pled guilty to charges in the case. They include Everette Reel, 46, of Upper Marlboro, Md; Jamal Curtis, 41, of Washington, D.C., Derek Holmes, 54, of Washington, D.C., Russell Harrison, 40, of Temple Hills, Md., and Brian Jenkins, 44, of Brentwood, Md. Reel, Curtis, and Holmes are now serving sentences. Coconspirators Russell Harrison and Brian Jenkins still face sentencing. Harrison faces a mandatory minimum sentence of five years of imprisonment and up to life imprisonment for his possession of multiple firearms in furtherance of his drug trafficking as part of the conspiracy. Jenkins faces a mandatory minimum sentence of five years of incarceration and up to forty years imprisonment for his distribution of cocaine and crack as part of the conspiracy.

            This case is part of an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF specializes in the investigation and prosecution of drug trafficking and money laundering organizations and related criminal enterprises.

            In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Liu and Special Agent in Dunham, commended the work of those who investigated the case. They cited the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, including Paralegal Specialists Candace Battle and Teesha Tobias, Legal Assistant Emma Atlas, and Christopher Macchiaroli and Kevin Rosenberg of the Violent Crime and Narcotics Section, who conducted the underlying investigation, indicted the case, and prosecuted the defendants.

Drug Trafficking
Press Release Number: 
Updated August 12, 2019