Baltimore Firearms Trafficker Sentenced to 42 Months in Federal Prison for Illegally Dealing in Firearms
Greenbelt, Maryland – U.S. District Judge Theodore D. Chuang sentenced Donald Fortune, Jr., age 19, of Greenbelt, Maryland, today to eight years in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release for federal charges of illegal possession of a machinegun, possession with intent to distribute oxycodone and fentanyl, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron; Acting Special Agent in Charge R. Joseph Rothrock of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office; and Chief Malik Aziz of the Prince George’s County Police Department (“PGPD”).
According to his guilty plea, law enforcement began investigating Fortune in April 2022 for suspected firearms and drug trafficking offenses. As part of the investigation, PGPD detectives monitored public posts from Fortune’s social media account where he displayed firearms and advertised drugs for sale. Based on their investigation, including the social media posts, a search warrant was obtained for Fortune’s apartment.
On June 2, 2022, law enforcement was conducting surveillance outside Fortune’s apartment building in preparation for executing the warrant. In the late morning, Fortune exited the building and approached a silver Honda Civic. Fortune removed a large bag of blue pills, suspected to be oxycodone, from a Gucci satchel that he was wearing and engaged in a suspected hand-to-hand drug transaction with the driver of the Civic. Fortune then placed the pills back in the Gucci satchel and returned to his apartment.
According to court documents, a short time later, Fortune, still wearing the Gucci satchel, left the apartment building with a woman. They both got into a rideshare and the vehicle drove away. PGPD police conducted a traffic stop of the ride-share vehicle a short time later and observed Fortune reach down toward his feet. Officers asked Fortune, who was still wearing the Gucci satchel, to step out of the vehicle and officers observed a .40-caliber semi-automatic pistol on the floorboard where Fortune had been seated. The gun, which had an obliterated serial number, was loaded with one round in the chamber and 21 rounds in an extended magazine and was equipped with a full auto selector switch on the rear of the handgun slide, making it a machinegun under federal law. A search of the Gucci satchel recovered a large bag containing 282 30mg blue pills, later found to be counterfeit oxycodone pills containing fentanyl. Officers also recovered $790 in cash from Fortune. Fortune was arrested and charged in Prince George’s County. He was released on June 14, 2022, pending trial.
Fortune admitted that he continued to sell drugs and possess firearms after his release, including coordinating a drug deal around a court appearance. Fortune switched to using a second social media account in mid-July 2022, believed by investigators to be an effort to evade law enforcement. Investigators began monitoring this account. Fortune continued to advertise pills for sale and display firearms, despite being on pretrial release. For example, on July 26, 2022, investigators observed a public-facing live video that was streaming from Fortune’s second social media account, which showed Fortune smoking a suspected marijuana cigarette, flashing two prescription bottles, and holding an AR-style pistol. Fortune then turned the camera around to show a table display of at least six firearms, including two AR-style pistols, one handgun with an extended magazine, and one handgun with a suspected full-automatic switch, with cash fanned out in front of the firearms.
As detailed in the plea agreement, on the evening of July 26, 2022, PGPD officers were on patrol in the 6400 block of Pennsylvania Avenue in District Heights, Maryland and saw Fortune smoking marijuana on the sidewalk in front of a residence. As the officer was parking his car in the parking lot, he saw Fortune walk behind a pick-up truck, crouch down, and throw an item on the ground before walking away. Believing Fortune had discarded a firearm or contraband, the officer got out of his unmarked police cruiser to speak with Fortune, who continued to walk away. As the officer got closer, Fortune began running and was apprehended a short distance away. Another officer arrived and stayed by the location where Fortune had been seen throwing something. A search of the area recovered a privately manufactured 5.56 caliber semi-automatic AR-15 style pistol with no serial number, also known as a “ghost gun.” The gun was loaded with 30 rounds of ammunition in the magazine and one in the chamber. Officers searched Fortune and recovered two pill bottles containing 16 real or counterfeit oxycodone pills. The pills were tested and eight were found to contain approximately 5mg of oxycodone each and the rest were found to be counterfeit oxycodone pills that contained fentanyl.
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 gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.
United States Attorney Erek L. Barron commended the FBI’s Cross Border Task Force and the Prince George’s County Police Department for their work in the investigation. Mr. Barron thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Patrick D. Kibbe and Joshua A. Rosenthal, who prosecuted 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-psn and https://www.justice.gov/usao-md/community-outreach.
# # #