Baltimore, Maryland – U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett today sentenced Jovon Lee, age 41, of Baltimore, to 10 years in federal prison, followed by five years of supervised release, for possession with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine. On May 8, 2019, a federal jury convicted Lee after a three-day trial.
The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; Assistant Special Agent in Charge Don A. Hibbert of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Baltimore District Office; Special Agent in Charge Kelly R. Jackson of the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation, Washington, D.C. Field Office; Commissioner Michael Harrison of the Baltimore Police Department; Chief Melissa R. Hyatt of the Baltimore County Police Department; and Baltimore City Sheriff John W. Anderson.
According to the evidence presented at trial, on October 3, 2018, law enforcement recorded a telephone call between Lee and a DEA confidential source posing as a Mexican cartel drug trafficker. During the call, Lee used coded language to arrange to purchase heroin and cocaine from the confidential source, and agreed to have a face-to-face meeting with the confidential source in approximately eight days. On October 9, 2018, the source and Lee exchanged messages and agreed to meet on October 12, 2018, at a mall in McLean, Virginia.
On October 12, Lee and the source met at the agreed-upon location. Law enforcement investigators recorded the meeting. During the meeting, Lee requested as many kilograms of cocaine as he could get, but stated that he would need the cocaine on consignment because he was out of money. Lee and the source negotiated a price of $25,500 per kilogram of cocaine. After several other calls and messages, Lee agreed to purchase three kilograms of cocaine and to receive four more kilograms on consignment. Lee and the source agreed to meet on October 24, 2018.
On October 24, 2018, Lee and the source met at a hotel in Hanover, Maryland. Lee was carrying a white shopping bag containing cash, which he showed to the source in the hotel lobby, in expectation of receiving seven kilograms of cocaine. The source and Lee left the hotel and walked to an undercover vehicle. On the back seat of the vehicle was a brown designer backpack that contained six kilograms of cocaine and one kilogram of sham cocaine. Lee inspected the cocaine in the backpack, placed the shopping bag of cash on the back seat of the vehicle, took the backpack, and walked away. Law enforcement officers then arrested Lee. The shopping bag was found to contain $75,000 in cash, not the $76,500 that had been negotiated.
United States Attorney Robert K. Hur praised the DEA, the IRS-CI, Baltimore Police Department, the Baltimore County Police Department, and the Baltimore City Sheriff’s Office for their work in the investigation and recognized the Morgan County (West Virginia) Sheriff’s Office for its assistance. Mr. Hur thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys James G. Warwick and Joan C. Mathias, who prosecuted the case.
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