Baltimore Drug Dealer Pleads Guilty to Discharging a Firearm in Furtherance of Drug Trafficking, Resulting in Death
Expected to be Sentenced to at Least 25 Years in Federal Prison
Baltimore, Maryland – Cortez Weaver, a/k/a Corty and Tez, age 28, of Baltimore, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to possessing, brandishing, and discharging a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, resulting in death of Maurice Finney.
The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; Special Agent in Charge Jennifer C. Boone of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office; and Commissioner Michael Harrison of the Baltimore Police Department.
According to Weaver’s guilty plea, beginning in at least July 2017 Weaver was a member of a drug conspiracy that distributed heroin and crack cocaine in the Abington Avenue area of Baltimore. Christopher Hockaday was also a member of the Abington Avenue drug trafficking organization (DTO). Hockaday became involved in a dispute with a rival DTO over who could sell drugs at a gas station at the intersection of Baltimore Street and Hilton Avenue. As a result of the dispute, on July 14, 2017, a member of the rival drug organization shot and killed Hockaday.
As detailed in his plea agreement, on July 17, 2017, Weaver and another member of the Abington Avenue DTO went to the gas station to retaliate against members of the rival drug organization and encountered Maurice Finney, a/k/a Mitch. Weaver murdered Finney, shooting him in the head at close range with a .40-caliber handgun. Weaver also attempted to murder Victim 2, chasing him across Hilton Avenue while firing multiple shots at him. Meanwhile, Weaver’s co-conspirator attempted to murder Victim 3, shooting him multiple times with a 9mm handgun and causing life-threatening injuries. The shootings were captured on surveillance cameras at the gas station. Afterward, Weaver sent his co-conspirator a text message directing him to “burn them clothes.”
On November 12, 2018, a confidential informant (CI) placed a call to Weaver that was monitored by law enforcement. During the call, the CI made plans to meet Weaver to discuss the potential robbery of a drug stash house. During the conversation, Weaver confessed that he had killed Maurice Finney and described the murder using specific details that were consistent with the surveillance footage and other physical evidence recovered during the investigation. Weaver agreed to carry out the robbery, stating that it was what he had been doing with another member of the Abington Avenue DTO. Weaver showed the CI a .45-caliber firearm and talked about owning other firearms, including a “357” and a “40.”
Unbeknownst to Weaver, the robbery opportunity was a fiction and the drug stash house did not exist. On January 25, 2019, the CI introduced Weaver to an undercover Baltimore Police Officer (the UC), posing as a drug dealer who wanted to rob his source of supply. Weaver had several meetings with the UC to discuss the robbery, including distributing the heroin they planned to steal. In every meeting, Weaver confirmed his desire to commit the robbery and stated that he intended to kill everyone who was guarding the stash location. Weaver brought co-conspirators to two of the meetings who also agreed to assist with the robbery.
On March 7, 2019, Weaver and three co-conspirators met the UC to commit the robbery. Weaver and the co-conspirators were arrested. A search of Weaver recovered a loaded .357 revolver, 11 pin-top vials of suspected cocaine, and a mask. A pair of black gloves was also recovered from the area of the car where Weaver had been sitting. Law enforcement also recovered black masks from the co-conspirators, and from their vehicle they recovered a 9mm handgun loaded with 10 rounds of ammunition, including a round in the chamber, and two pairs of black woolen gloves.
Weaver admitted that from at least July 2017 through March 7, 2019, he conspired to distribute heroin and crack cocaine in Baltimore, and that it was foreseeable to Weaver that the members of the conspiracy would distribute between three and eight kilograms of heroin.
Weaver and the government have agreed that, if the Court accepts the plea agreement, Weaver will be sentenced to between 300 and 360 months in federal prison. U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett has scheduled sentencing for May 21, 2020 at 3:00 p.m.
Co-defendants Jamal Jackson, age 20; Kevin Brooks, age 29; and Jermaine Sumpter, age 43, all of Baltimore, previously pleaded guilty to their roles in the robbery conspiracy. Sumpter was sentenced to 37 months in federal prison. Jackson and Brooks are awaiting sentencing.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.
United States Attorney Robert K. Hur commended the FBI and the Baltimore Police Department for their work in the investigation. Mr. Hur thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christina A. Hoffman and Peter J. Martinez, who are prosecuting this Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force case.
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