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Press Release

Four Members of Baltimore Drug Distribution Conspiracy Plead Guilty

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Maryland

Baltimore, Maryland – Four Baltimore men, all members of a Baltimore drug trafficking conspiracy pleaded guilty this week to conspiring to distribute crack cocaine. Tarik Brooks, age 41, pleaded guilty today; Jermaine Epps, age 42, pleaded guilty on April 4, 2017, and Terry Downs, age 24, and Theodore Smith, age 41, pleaded guilty on April 3, 2017.


After their guilty pleas, U.S. District Judge James K. Bredar sentenced Epps and Downs to 108 months in prison, and 60 months in prison, respectively, each followed by four years of supervised release. Brooks was sentenced to 151 months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release.


The guilty pleas and sentences were announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Assistant Special Agent in Charge Don A. Hibbert of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Baltimore District Office; Commissioner Kevin Davis of the Baltimore Police Department; and Chief Terrence B. Sheridan of the Baltimore County Police Department.


According to their plea agreements, the defendants were part of a drug distribution conspiracy that operated an open-air drug market near the 600 block of Glenwood Avenue in the Woodbourne-McCabe neighborhood in Baltimore. Members of the conspiracy distributed the organization’s signature orange-top vials of crack cocaine in that location, as well as other locations in Baltimore. Members of the conspiracy purchased powder cocaine, which they converted to crack cocaine. Some members of the conspiracy also sold large quantities of heroin. The conspirators used residences in and around North Baltimore as stash houses to cut, package and store these narcotics. Some members of the conspiracy routinely carried firearms and committed acts of violence in furtherance of the organization’s activities.


Epps and Downs were street lieutenants of the organization’s open-air drug market, and oversaw the sale of crack cocaine to customers. Smith was in charge of overseeing and managing the distribution of crack cocaine at the street shop, collecting proceeds from sales, making sure the organization had a sufficient supply of cocaine, and cooking powder cocaine into crack. On April 28, 2016, Downs was overheard by law enforcement requesting more “shirts” from a co-defendant, which is code for packages of orange-top vials of crack cocaine. Downs and the co-defendant were then recorded by law enforcement meeting outside a nearby stash house where they exchanged a bag containing crack cocaine. On June 1, 2016, an undercover officer approached Epps to purchase 12 vials of crack cocaine. Epps arranged for the undercover officer to purchase the crack cocaine from a lower level street hitter, who Epps supervised.


Brooks was in charge of packaging orange-top vials of crack cocaine for the organization, which were then distributed to street lieutenants who oversaw the street shop and open-air drug market. Law enforcement intercepted text messages in which Brooks discussed the number of vials of crack cocaine that were ready to be distributed. In addition, law enforcement intercepted text messages Smith exchanged with another conspirator discussing purchasing cocaine for the organization for $38,000 per kilogram.


On June 16, 2016, law enforcement seized over 1,100 orange-top vials of crack cocaine from a stash house on Craig Avenue that was used by the organization. On September 1, 2016 law enforcement seized narcotics from another stash house on Reese Street, including 130 grams of raw heroin, 15 grams of crack cocaine, 36 grams of diluted heroin, and 20 orange-top vials of crack cocaine. That same day, law enforcement seized 230 grams of heroin from a bar operated by Smith and used by the organization to conduct drug trafficking operations. Also on September 1, 2016, law enforcement seized a loaded .40 caliber handgun from Epps’ residence that was purchased by, and registered to, Epps’ girlfriend.


Co-defendant Asante Leroy Marshall, age 23, of Baltimore, previously pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 50 months in prison.


Judge Bredar has scheduled sentencing for Smith on August 15, 2017 at 10:00 a.m.


United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the DEA, Baltimore Police Department and Baltimore County Police Department for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Derek E. Hines and Leo J. Wise, who are prosecuting this Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force case.

Updated April 10, 2017

Drug Trafficking