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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Harford County Cocaine Dealer Sentenced to Over 12 Years in Federal Prison

Purchased Kilograms of Cocaine and Leased Rental Cars Used by Couriers to Bring Cocaine from Philadelphia to Maryland

Baltimore, Maryland – U.S. District Judge George L. Russell III sentenced Mardell Abrams, age 35, of Havre de Grace, Maryland, today to 150 months in federal prison, followed by five years of supervised release, for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine.  Judge Russell also ordered Abrams to forfeit $225,460 seized during the investigation.

The sentence was 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; Harford County Sheriff Jeffrey R. Gahler; Chief Henry Trabert of the Aberdeen Police Department; Bel Air Police Chief Charles Moore; Chief Teresa Walter of the Havre de Grace Police Department; and Harford County State’s Attorney Joseph I. Cassilly.

According to his plea agreement, as part of an investigation into cocaine trafficking, the Harford County Task Force intercepted cellular telephone calls and text messages from members of a drug trafficking organization operating in Harford County.  Based on the intercepted calls and texts, Mardell Abrams was identified as a member of the organization, which according to court documents and findings by Judge Russell at today’s hearing, distributed significant amounts of cocaine and heroin.

For example on August 26, 2014, investigators intercepted a series of text messages between Abrams and co-conspirator Eric Maurice Clanton, in which they discussed arranging for a re-supply of cocaine from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and using a courier for the organization to make the trip.  Abrams and Clanton also discussed which source of supply to use.  Investigators determined that Abrams not only financed the purchase of multiple kilograms of cocaine, but also arranged to lease rental vehicles which were used by couriers to transport cocaine from the Philadelphia area to Maryland.

On October 6, 2014, it was learned that Clanton and a courier were again traveling to Philadelphia to meet the same source of supply, in a vehicle leased by Abrams.  The vehicle was stopped on its return to Maryland and a search of the vehicle recovered approximately 1.25 kilograms of cocaine.  In addition, Abrams was seen traveling to a storage locker in Harford County on multiple occasions.  A subsequent search of the storage locker recovered approximately $220,000 in cash, which had been heat-sealed and labelled with numbers, and a kilogram press.

During his participation in the conspiracy, Abrams admitted that he was responsible for the distribution of at least five kilograms of cocaine.

Eric Maurice Clanton, age 36, of Edgewood, Maryland, previously pleaded guilty to his role in the drug distribution conspiracy and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Donald Lee Cox, age 42, of Aberdeen, Maryland, and Travius Edwin Gregory, age 30, of Edgewood, also pleaded guilty to federal drug charges and were sentenced to two years and five years in federal prison, respectively.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised DEA and the Harford County Task Force, comprised of members of the Harford County Sheriff's Office, Maryland State Police, Aberdeen Police Department, Bel Air Police Department, Havre de Grace Police Department and the Harford County States Attorney’s Office.  Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Romano, who prosecuted this Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force case.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Component(s): 
Updated July 19, 2016