Baltimore, Maryland – U.S. District Judge Ellen L. Hollander sentenced Larry Gardner, a/k/a “Little Larry,” age 40, of Baltimore, Maryland, today to five years in federal prison, followed by four years of supervised release, for his participation in a conspiracy to distribute heroin and other drugs in the Baltimore area.
The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron; Special Agent in Charge Thomas J. Sobocinski of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office; Assistant Special Agent in Charge Orville O. Greene of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Baltimore District Office; and Postal Inspector in Charge Greg L. Torbenson of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service - Washington Division.
According to his guilty plea, between November 2019 and December 2020, Gardner participated in a drug trafficking organization (DTO) that distributed large quantities of controlled dangerous substances, including heroin, in the Baltimore area.
As detailed in the plea agreement, between June and November 2020, federal agents assigned to the Baltimore Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Strike Force intercepted hundreds of electronic and wire communications between Gardner and the leader of the DTO which revealed that Gardner was a mid-level distributor of heroin and that the DTO leader was his source of supply.
Gardner exchanged coded text messages with the DTO’s leader negotiating the price and amount of heroin. After one such exchange on November 4, 2020, a covert camera captured the DTO leader entering an apartment in downtown Baltimore used as a stash house, then leave eight minutes later. A few minutes later, agents conducting surveillance outside Gardner’s residence saw the DTO leader arrive and intercepted a message from the DTO leader to Gardner stating, “Here cuz”. The DTO leader rang the bell at Gardner’s residence and Gardner answered the door and accompanied the DTO leader to his car, where they conducted the heroin transaction.
On December 16, 2020, law enforcement executed a search at Gardner’s residence, which was occupied at that time by Gardner, his wife, and three minor children. Law enforcement recovered a ballistic vest, a kilogram press and more than 1,000 empty gel capsules in the basement. In the bathroom, officers found white residue around a toilet and on the floor next to the toilet; plastic bags containing a white powder substance; and at least one plastic bag with a crystalline white rock-like substance that was subsequently analyzed and identified as approximately 19 grams of cocaine.
Gardner admitted that it was reasonably foreseeable to him that the conspiracy involved the distribution of between 100 and 400 grams of heroin.
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 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.
This prosecution was brought as a part of the Department of Justice’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) Co-located Strike Forces Initiative, which provides for the establishment of permanent multi-agency task force teams that work side-by-side in the same location. This co-located model enables agents from different agencies to collaborate on intelligence-driven, multi-jurisdictional operations against a continuum of priority targets and their affiliate illicit financial networks. These prosecutor-led co-located Strike Forces capitalize on the synergy created through the long-term relationships that can be forged by agents, analysts, and prosecutors who remain together over time, and they epitomize the model that has proven most effective in combating organized crime. The specific mission of the Baltimore OCDETF Strike Force is to reduce violent, drug-related, and gang crime in the Baltimore area and surrounding region.
United States Attorney Erek L. Barron commended the FBI, the DEA, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service for their work in the investigation and thanked the Baltimore Police Department for its assistance. Mr. Barron thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey J. Izant, who prosecuted the case.
For more information on the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office, its priorities, and resources available to help the community, please visit https://www.justice.gov/usao-md/project-safe-neighborhoods-psnexile and https://www.justice.gov/usao-md/community-outreach.
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