Baltimore, Maryland – U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett sentenced Leonard Benjamin, age 30, of Bowie, Maryland today to 19 years in prison followed by five years of supervised release for conspiring to distribute a kilogram or more of heroin. Judge Bennett also entered an order that Benjamin forfeit $39,387 seized on February 7, 2014.
The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Assistant Special Agent in Charge Gary Tuggle of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Baltimore District Office; Baltimore City State’s Attorney Gregg L. Bernstein; Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts; and Colonel Marcus L. Brown, Superintendent of the Maryland State Police.
According to his plea agreement, from no later than 2013, Benjamin was an organizer and leader of a conspiracy to distribute heroin in the Baltimore area. Benjamin had others operate stash houses for him in the Baltimore area. Benjamin planned trips to New York City to buy heroin. Benjamin gave the heroin to couriers in New York who drove the heroin back to Baltimore.
For example, on October 20, 2013, Benjamin arranged with a courier to drive to New York, where Benjamin planned to acquire heroin. Law enforcement agents saw Benjamin provide heroin to the courier in New York. The courier then left New York and returned to Maryland.
The Maryland State Police, in conjunction with the DEA investigation, stopped the courier in Cecil County, Maryland on the return trip. MSP troopers searched the courier’s vehicle and seized more than 400 grams of heroin.
Thereafter, Benjamin continued to engage in drug-trafficking activities. Investigators overheard Benjamin regularly make drug deals by phone; arrange new supplies of heroin; and instruct others to receive, store or distribute heroin to customers. Benjamin made several calls to a co-conspirator who operated a stash house location at Benjamin’s direction.
On February 7, 2014, investigators executed a search warrant at one of the stash houses and recovered more than 600 grams of heroin. During a search of other locations, investigators seized cash, including $39,387 from Benjamin’s home.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the DEA, Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office Major Investigation Unit, Baltimore Police Department, and Maryland State Police for their work in the investigation, and recognized the Cecil County State’s Attorney’s Office for their assistance. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael C. Hanlon, who prosecuted the case.