Baltimore, Maryland – Billy Wesson, age 20, of Baltimore, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to possession with intent to distribute cocaine and to possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. Wesson also admitted to participating in a series of armed robberies of convenience stores.
The guilty plea 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; and Commissioner Michael Harrison of the Baltimore Police Department.
According to his guilty plea, between August 4, 2020 and August 7, 2020, Wesson and a co-conspirator committed three armed robberies of convenience stores. In the first robbery on August 4, the store clerk began to run to the rear of the store when she saw the robbers enter. Wesson chased after the employee, caught up with her and walked her back to the cash register, which she opened at gunpoint. In the second robbery on August 6, Wesson approached a store employee from behind and placed the gun to the back of the employee’s head, telling her to “go to the register and open it.” Wesson walked the employee to the register area and again ordered her to open the register, which she did. In the third robbery on August 7, which was committed less than an hour after the second robbery, Wesson pointed a gun at a store employee immediately upon entering the store. Wesson ordered the employee to open the register, which he did, but the employee could only open the first cash drawer and not the second drawer. As in the two previous robberies, Wesson took the cash from the drawer and fled the store.
As detailed in his plea agreement, on the evening of August 8, 2020, at approximately 10:53 PM, four Baltimore Police Department officers were conducting routine patrol in an unmarked vehicle on 5100 block of Midwood Avenue in the Winston-Govans neighborhood in Northwest Baltimore. There was a party in the area and individuals were in the street and on the sidewalk. The officers saw an individual later, identified as Wesson, wearing a satchel across the right side of his body and conducting a “security check,” indicating that Wesson was armed.
The officers stopped their car and began to get out to approach Wesson. Wesson immediately fled, followed by the four officers. As he ran from the officers, Wesson threw his satchel on the sidewalk not far from one of the homes on Midwood Avenue, where it was almost immediately recovered by law enforcement. The satchel was searched and was found to contain a loaded firearm that matched the gun used in connection with the robberies. The satchel also contained a medicine bottle containing 7 blue baggies of a white rock substance (confirmed by lab results to be cocaine), and a black drawstring bag containing the following: (1) a plastic bag containing a white rock substance (confirmed to be cocaine); (2) 55 gel capsules of white powder (later confirmed not to be drugs); (3) 3 green Ziploc baggies of white rock substance (confirmed to be cocaine); (4) 3 pink jugs of white rock substance (confirmed to be cocaine). The cocaine—which amounted to less than 50 grams total—was packaged for street-level distribution.
On Wesson’s person, law enforcement recovered $279 in cash—proceeds from his drug trafficking—and suspected marijuana. Wesson was arrested. Wesson admitted that he possessed the firearm in connection with and in furtherance of his illegal business selling cocaine and the he knew he was prohibited from possessing a firearm or ammunition.
Wesson and the government have agreed that, if the Court accepts the plea agreement, Wesson will be sentenced to between seven years and eleven years in federal prison. U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake has scheduled sentencing for November 4, 2022 at 2:00 p.m.
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. PSN, an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime, is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. 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 Erek L. Barron commended the FBI and the Baltimore Police Department for their work in the investigation. Mr. Barron thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Paul A. Riley and Colleen McGuinn, who are prosecuting 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.
# # #