Abingdon Man Sentenced to 14 Years in Federal Prison for Cocaine Distribution Conspiracy
31 Kilograms of Cocaine and $2.4 Million in Cash Seized
Baltimore, Maryland – U.S. District Judge Ellen L. Hollander sentenced William Frederick Cornish, age 52, of Abingdon, Maryland, today to 14 years in federal prison, followed by five years of supervised release for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine.
The sentence were announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Karl C. Colder of the Drug Enforcement Administration - Washington Field Division; Colonel Woodrow Jones, Chief of the Maryland Transportation Authority Police; Commissioner Kevin Davis of the Baltimore Police Department; Chief James W. Johnson of the Baltimore County Police Department; Anne Arundel County Police Chief Tim Altomare; Chief Michael A. Pristoop of the Annapolis Police Department; Colonel William M. Pallozzi, Superintendent of the Maryland State Police; Chief Richard McLaughlin of the Laurel Police Department; Harford County Sheriff Jeffrey R. Gahler; and Special Agent in Charge Thomas Jankowski of the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation, Washington, D.C. Field Office.
According to his plea agreement and court documents, in August 2015, DEA received information about a group that was trafficking large amounts of cocaine into Maryland and using a warehouse on Golden Ring Road in Baltimore. Investigation showed that the business using that location, KMKJ Trucking, LLC, had been evicted by July 31, 2015. The investigation subsequently identified a warehouse on Hammonds Ferry Road in Linthicum Heights, Maryland, as the new location being used by the group.
According to the plea agreement, on April 6, 2016, a tractor trailer with the KMKJ logo arrived at the Hammonds Ferry Road warehouse and backed up to the rear bay door of the unit. Investigators observed items being unloaded from the tractor trailer into the warehouse. A short time later, law enforcement observed a van traveling around the parking lot and warehouse building, conducting counter-surveillance to determine if law enforcement was in the area.
On the evening of April 8, 2016, investigators saw Cornish’s co-conspirators arrive at the Linthicum Heights warehouse. One of the co-conspirators then left in a black Honda, followed by a silver F-150 pickup truck. After a conversation on a nearby street between the drivers of the Honda and the pickup truck, they returned to the warehouse. The co-conspirator got out of his car and went into the warehouse and the F-150 entered the warehouse through the bay door, which was then closed. A few minutes later, the bay door re-opened and the F-150 drove out of the warehouse. The truck, driven Cornish, was stopped by law enforcement shortly after leaving the warehouse area. A narcotics detection dog was brought to the scene. The dog scanned the truck resulting in a positive response for the presence of illegal drugs. Law enforcement recovered 31 kilograms of cocaine from a box in the back seat of the truck. Law enforcement also stopped Cornish’s co-conspirators as they left the warehouse.
Search warrants were obtained and executed at the warehouse and at the residences of Cornish and his co-conspirators. Law enforcement recovered three large duffel bags in the basement of one of the homes containing approximately $2.4 million in cash, vacuum sealed in plastic bags marked with the amount of cash on the outside of each plastic bag. Investigators also recovered a drug/money ledger in the home documenting just over $2.4 million in receipts from the sale of illegal drugs. From Cornish’s home, law enforcement recovered a money counter, colored rubber bands, latex gloves and a digital scale, typically used in the narcotics trade to count and package money and to weigh drugs prior to distribution. Investigators also recovered a radio frequency detector that is commonly used by drug traffickers to “sweep” cars, people, and other items for hidden transmitters and electronic devices that are often used by law enforcement while investigating the distribution of illegal drugs.
The 31 kilograms of cocaine recovered from Cornish’s truck have a wholesale value in Baltimore of approximately $1 million.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended DEA, the Maryland Transportation Authority Police, Baltimore Police Department, Baltimore County Police Department, Anne Arundel County Police Department, Annapolis Police Department, Maryland State Police, Laurel Police Department, Harford County Task Force, and IRS Criminal Investigation for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys James G. Warwick and Joshua T. Ferrentino, who are prosecuting the case.