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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Maryland

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, June 21, 2019

Black Guerilla Family Gang Member Sentenced to Life in Prison for Federal Racketeering and Drug Conspiracy Charges

Evidence Presented at the Sentencing Hearing Proved that the Defendant Committed Additional Murder related to his Gang Activity; Gang was Responsible for Seven Murders, along with Armed Robberies, Shootings, and Stabbings

Baltimore, Maryland – Chief U.S. District Judge James K. Bredar sentenced Marquise McCants, a/k/a Digga, age 26, of Baltimore, to life in prison for conspiring to participate in a violent racketeering enterprise known as the Black Guerilla Family (BGF).  In January 2018, McCants was convicted by a federal jury of racketeering conspiracy, conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute controlled substances, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.  At the sentencing hearing, the government also presented evidence that McCants committed an additional murder that was unsolved at the time of McCants’ trial.

The sentence 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 - Baltimore Field Division; Special Agent in Charge Jennifer C. Boone of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office; Commissioner Michael Harrison of the Baltimore Police Department; Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh; and Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby.

“Marquise McCants and his fellow gang members brought terror and death to Baltimore’s Greenmount Avenue neighborhood with guns, drugs, and violence,” said U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur. “As a result of a coordinated effort by our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners, nine members of the BGF Greenmount Regime have been removed from our community and Marquise McCants faces the rest of his life in federal prison, where there is no parole—ever.  I urge anyone who’s thinking of following these gang members’ example:  Please, put down the guns and save a life—maybe even your own.”  

According to the evidence presented at the two-month trial, McCants was a member of an organization known today as the BGF Greenmount Avenue Regime, a violent set of BGF.  Between 2005 and 2017, the gang and its members were responsible for seven murders; three non-fatal shootings; more than 10 armed robberies; and over 12 years of street-level drug dealing.  McCants was a member of the gang during that time and dealt drugs, and committed stabbings, robberies, and attempted murders in furtherance of BGF. 

Beginning in approximately 2005 and continuing until early 2007, co-defendant and BGF Greenmount Regime leader Gerald Johnson supplied distribution quantities of cocaine, crack cocaine, heroin, and methylenedioxy-methamphetamine (ecstasy) to YGF members, including McCants, who was then a juvenile.  According to witness testimony, McCants primarily sold crack cocaine in the vicinity of Barclay and 24th Streets.  McCants also participated in violence on behalf of the gang.  For example, on May 9, 2008, in the 2400 block of Greenmount Avenue, McCants, who was not even sixteen years old at the time, led a group of individuals who attacked and stabbed a twelve-year-old member of a rival Bloods gang.  A witness who identified McCants as the person who led the attack testified that afterward, members of BGF walked back and forth in front of the witness’s residence in an apparent effort to silence the witness.  The witness’ family moved out of the neighborhood shortly thereafter, in fear for their lives.

Witnesses testified at trial that on August 26, 2010, McCants and an unknown accomplice committed an armed home invasion and robbery of a family in Elkton, Maryland.  Further, the evidence proved that in August 2011, McCants assaulted and stabbed a member of a rival Bloods gang in a prison in Hagerstown, Maryland.

On February 4, 2017, while a fugitive in the case, McCants attempted to murder an individual in the vicinity of Greenmount and North Avenues, shooting him seven times in the legs and back.  McCants then fled to a residence in the 5600 block of Pioneer Drive, where he was arrested after a multi-hour standoff with a U.S. Marshals Task Force.  Before surrendering, McCants disassembled the .40 caliber firearm used to shoot the victim and hid it behind a wall in a bathroom of the residence.  In recorded jail calls after his arrest, McCants attempted to direct confederates to dispose of the weapon.  Law enforcement officers monitoring his jail calls were able to recover the gun, which was then examined and linked to the February 4 shooting.

On September 26, 2017, a hidden audio-video recording device in a common area at the Chesapeake Detention Facility captured McCants telling co-conspirator Norman Handy about a brutal murder he committed with a fellow BGF member in retaliation for the victim shooting up the BGF member’s residence on Druid Hill.  According to McCants, he and his co-conspirator convinced the victim to come for a ride with them.  Upon reaching their destination, the victim started to get out of the car, when McCants grabbed the victim’s shirt and fired 11 rounds at him, killing him.  McCants bragged that he took the victim’s phone while “he was still twitching.” 

Based on evidence presented at the sentencing hearing, the Court also found that McCants shot and killed George Cookson on January 19, 2017, in connection with an effort to collect a drug debt owed to an associate.  The gun used to murder Cookson was recovered during the execution of a search warrant on a vehicle parked in the driveway of the associate’s home in northeast Baltimore, where McCants was arrested.  The gun was found in a hidden compartment in the vehicle, along with another firearm.

Eight co-defendants, also members of the BGF gang, were convicted of conspiring to violate federal racketeering and drug trafficking laws and have been sentenced, including Gerald Thomas Johnson, a/k/a “Geezy,” age 35; and Kenneth Jones, a/k/a “K-Slay” and “Slay,” age 30, both of Baltimore, who were convicted after trial and sentenced to life in prison.

United States Attorney Robert K. Hur commended the ATF, the FBI, the Baltimore Police Department, the Maryland Attorney General’s Office, and the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office for their work in the investigation.  Mr. Hur thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Peter J. Martinez and Christina Hoffman, who prosecuted the case.

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Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Opioids
Firearms Offenses
Violent Crime
Component(s): 
Contact: 
Marcia Murphy (410) 209-4854
Updated June 21, 2019