Baltimore, Maryland – U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett sentenced Rasan Byrd, age 39, of Houston, Texas today to 14 years in prison followed by five years of supervised release for conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine and marijuana.
The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Assistant Special Agent in Charge Gary Tuggle of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Baltimore District Office; Chief James W. Johnson of the Baltimore County Police Department; Colonel Michael Kundrat, Chief of the Maryland Transportation Authority Police; Special Agent in Charge Thomas J. Kelly of the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation, Washington, D.C. Field Office; and Special Agent in Charge William Winter of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
According to his plea agreement and court documents, Byrd supervised the Arizona-based activities of a drug conspiracy in which large quantities of cocaine and marijuana were obtained in Arizona and shipped to Maryland. Byrd supervised several workers who weighed the drugs and then wrapped the cocaine and marijuana in plastic containers to avoid detection by law enforcement. He oversaw the delivery of drugs to a shipping company in Scottsdale, Arizona, which forwarded the drugs to his associates in Baltimore and other destinations on the east coast.
As a result of extensive surveillance, on April 22, 2013 law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at the residences of co-conspirators Harold and Josef Byrd, and Jerome Castle, as well as at a commercial building at 5819 Moravia Road in Baltimore that was used to store deliveries of drugs shipped from Arizona. Law enforcement seized 10 kilograms of cocaine from the residences of Josef and Harold Byrd; and approximately 350 pounds of marijuana shipped by Rasan Byrd from Arizona that had just been delivered to the commercial building. Jerome Castle was conducting counter-surveillance during the marijuana delivery at the commercial building and fled from police in a pick-up truck. Castle took the police on a high-speed chase at speeds exceeding 100 miles per hour, and was arrested only after he crashed his vehicle into other vehicles parked in a used car lot in Harford County. Rasan, Harold and Josef Byrd were also arrested, along with Maurice Jones.
In Arizona, over 500 pounds of marijuana and 16 kilograms of cocaine were seized from the shipping company. Between 2009 and April 22, 2013, approximately 88 shipments containing cocaine and marijuana were sent under the supervision of Rasan Byrd and others to the commercial building in Baltimore.
Brothers Harold Alexander Byrd, age 27, of Phoenix, Maryland, and Joseph Ibreham Byrd, age 35, of Owings Mills, Maryland, previously pleaded guilty to their roles in the conspiracy and were each sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Jerome Adolfo Castle, a/k/a Dontwon Burris, age 37, a Jamaican citizen residing in Pikesville, Maryland, previously pleaded guilty to his role in the conspiracy and was sentenced to 14 years in prison. Castle was also ordered to forfeit $57,997 in cash, his interest in seven Baltimore properties, jewelry valued at more than $411,000, 98 pairs of men’s shoes, two laptop computers and an I-Pad, seven firearms and ammunition, as well as six vehicles, including a 2009 Jaguar XF Premium.
Maurice Jones, age 60 of Baltimore, also has pleaded guilty to his role in the conspiracy and was sentenced to seven years in prison.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the DEA, Baltimore County Police Department, the Maryland Transportation Authority Police, IRS-Criminal Investigation and HSI-Baltimore for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorneys James G. Warwick and Kenneth S. Clark, who prosecuted the case.