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Press Release

Laurel Felon Sentenced to 9 Years in Federal Prison for Drug Dealing and Illegal Possession of Firearms

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

Baltimore, Maryland – U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake sentenced James E. Goldsberry, age 35, of Laurel, Maryland today to nine years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for possession with intent to distribute heroin and cocaine, possession of a firearm by a felon, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.  A federal jury convicted Goldsberry of those charges on March 15, 2018.

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; Special Agent in Charge Rob Cekada of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) Baltimore Field Division; and Chief Gary L. Gardner of the Howard County Police Department.

According to the evidence presented at his four day trial, on September 20, 2016 Howard County Police officers conducted a search of Goldsberry’s residence, where he lived with his girlfriend and three children, locating Goldsberry in his bed.  Officers recovered $893 cash in rolled up bills located along the front railing of the bed.  On the bed’s left railing, immediately next to where Goldsberry had been found, was his cell phone.  Near the phone, also on the left bedrail, was a sandwich bag containing 10 clear ziploc baggies of heroin and three small ziploc baggies of cocaine.  On the floor, near the top of the left hand side of the bed, police found a 9mm caliber pistol, with the frame of the gun on the floor and the grip positioned up towards the ceiling.  The gun was loaded with 17 rounds of ammunition. 

Witnesses testified that more guns and drugs were found in the master bedroom closet, including: a 10mm pistol; two extra barrels; two extended magazines, one loaded with 13 rounds of hollowpoint ammunition; and a.38-caliber revolver.  A black plastic bag which contained 100 small baggies of cocaine, 25 more baggies of heroin, and a larger sandwich bag filled with heroin was found on a shelf in the closet.  The packaging of the cocaine and heroin found in the closet matched that of the baggies found on the bedrail next to Goldsberry.  Additional drug paraphernalia was found in other areas of the residence, including a digital scale and hundreds of unused baggies.

According to the trial evidence, police downloaded text messages to and from Goldsberry’s phone that were indicative of drug trafficking and used coded language commonly used by drug traffickers and their customers.  For example, Goldsberry sent three text messages to three different customers advertising that he had obtained some high-quality drugs, or “got some good,” as he put it.  

Officers recovered a total of approximately 11.29 grams of heroin and 16.85 grams of cocaine, mostly in the bedroom, with a street value of approximately $1,500 to $2,000.  In addition, officers recovered three firearms from the bedroom.  Goldsberry had a previous felony conviction and was prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition. 

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 make our neighborhoods safer for everyone.   Attorney General Jeff Sessions reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.

United States Attorney Robert K. Hur praised the ATF and Howard County Police Department for their work in the investigation.  Mr. Hur thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Burden H. Walker and Daniel C. Gardner, who prosecuted the case.


Marcia Murphy
(410) 209-4854

Updated July 10, 2018

Drug Trafficking
Project Safe Neighborhoods