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Justice News

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

Friday, October 23, 2015

Cherry Hill Drug Dealer Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison

Baltimore, Maryland – U.S. District Judge George L. Russell III sentenced Ernest Thomas, a/k/a “EJ,” age 27, of Baltimore, Maryland, today to 10 years in prison, followed by five years of supervised release, for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute heroin and cocaine, in connection with his membership in a group known as “Coppin Court” which operated in the Cherry Hill section of Baltimore.

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge William P. McMullan of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives - Baltimore Field Division; Commissioner Kevin Davis of the Baltimore Police Department; and Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby.

According to his plea agreement, Thomas is a long-time drug distributor who has distributed heroin and crack cocaine with members of the Coppin Court group in the down the hill section of Cherry Hill.  Thomas obtained some of his narcotics from fellow Coppin Court member including one of the main narcotics suppliers, Nathaniel Lightford.

For example, on December 5, 2012, Thomas was observed on CCTV running in the down the hill section of Cherry Hill. Thomas ran down to an area near the playground, removed a plastic bag from the ground, took out small objects, and handed them to an individual who was subsequently stopped by police.  The police told the individual that he had just been observed buying drugs, and the individual removed a gel cap of heroin from his jacket.  Similar events took place with a second drug purchaser, who possessed two gel caps of suspected heroin.

During his participation in the drug conspiracy Thomas admitted to distributing between three and 10 kilograms of heroin, and between 840 grams and 2.8 kilograms of crack cocaine.

Nathaniel Lightford, a/k/a “Taboo,” age 35, of Windsor Mill, Maryland; Robert Sanders, a/k/a “Man,” age 28, and Danna Fraser, age 26, a/k/a “Stroke,” both of Baltimore, previously pleaded guilty to their roles in the conspiracy and were sentenced to 135 months in prison, 132 months in prison, and 70 months in prison, respectively.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the ATF, Baltimore Police Department, and Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office for their work in the investigation and thanked the FBI, Baltimore County Police Department, Anne Arundel County Police Department and Baltimore City Sheriff’s Office for their assistance. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorneys Andrea L. Smith, Seema Mittal and Patricia McLane, who prosecuted this Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force case.

Drug Trafficking
Updated October 23, 2015