Baltimore Felon Sentenced to Nine Years in Federal Prison for Possession with Intent to Distribute Drugs and Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime
Baltimore, Maryland –U.S. District Judge Ellen L. Hollander sentenced Steven Cole, age 31, of Baltimore, Maryland, today to nine years in federal prison, followed by five years of supervised release, for possession with intent to distribute controlled substances, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
The sentencing was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; Special Agent in Charge Rob Cekada of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Baltimore Field Division; and Commissioner Michael Harrison of the Baltimore Police Department.
According to his guilty plea, on December 5, 2017, Cole was selling narcotics in the 2400 block of Winchester Street in Baltimore, less than a block from an elementary school and across the street from a baseball field adjacent to the school. Cole carried a revolver-style handgun to facilitate his drug trafficking. Officers observed Cole engaged in what they believed to be a drug transaction. When Cole saw the officers, he fled into the stairwell of a nearby apartment complex. Officers gave chase, with one officer proceeding up the north stairwell and the other officer taking the south stairwell.
The officer in the south stairwell located Cole’s glasses and on the third floor found Cole, a few feet away from the black jacket he had previously been wearing. Cole had placed it on the ground next to a bag of garbage. Cole was arrested and the jacket was secured. Within the jacket was a black fanny pack that contained a .32-caliber revolver, loaded with five rounds of ammunition. Law enforcement searched Cole after his arrest and recovered oxycodone pills, as well as $443 in cash, which was proceeds from his drug sales.
A federal search warrant was subsequently obtained for Cole social media accounts. Law enforcement discovered photos of Cole wearing the jacket recovered in the apartment complex; pictures of Cole handling large amounts of cash; a picture of OxyContin pills; pictures of two handguns; and various gang-related posts.
Cole was prohibited from possessing guns and ammunition as a result of several felony conviction, including two previous convictions for possession with intent to distribute drugs.
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 ATF and Baltimore Police Department for their work in the investigation. Mr. Hur thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul A. Riley, who prosecuted the case.
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