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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Leader and Member of Southwest Baltimore “NFL” Gang Admit to Participating in a Racketeering Conspiracy Related to Their Gang Activities, Including Murder and a Drug Distribution Conspiracy

Each Defendant is Expected to Be Sentenced to 30 Years in Federal Prison

Baltimore, Maryland – Gang leader Gregory Butler, a/k/a “Gotti,” “Sags,” and “Little Dick,” age 31, and member James Henry Roberts, a/k/a “Bub,” age 32, both of Baltimore, Maryland, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to participate in a racketeering enterprise related to their activities in the NFL gang, which operated in the Edmondson Village area in Southwest Baltimore, specifically, Normandy, Franklin, and Loudon streets.   The guilty pleas were entered on October 3, 2022.  

The guilty pleas were announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron; Special Agent in Charge Thomas J. Sobocinski of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office; Special Agent in Charge Jarod Forget of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Baltimore District Office; Secretary Robert L. Green of the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services; Chief Marcus Jones of the Montgomery County Police Department; and Commissioner Michael Harrison of the Baltimore Police Department.

According to their guilty pleas, from 2016 to March 2020, Butler was the leader of, and Roberts was a member of, the NFL enterprise and participated in its illegal activities with other members, including the NFL drug trafficking organization (DTO).  The term “NFL” stands for Normandy, Franklin, and Loudon, three adjacent streets that run through the Edmondson Village in Baltimore.  Members of NFL have social and familial ties to the Edmondson Village neighborhood in southwest Baltimore. 

During the conspiracy, NFL members distributed large quantities of heroin and cocaine to drug customers and re-distributors from Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and Pennsylvania.  Butler and Roberts admitted that they obtained narcotics from multiple sources of supply and stored the narcotics in a stash houses that they controlled.  Over the course of the charged conspiracy, Butler and Roberts and their co-conspirators distributed over one kilogram of heroin and more than 280 grams of cocaine base.  Butler also admitted that he and his co-conspirators also distributed more than 400 grams of fentanyl

Butler admitted that the NFL enterprise sold heroin and fentanyl to multiple drug customers who subsequently overdosed and died.  Butler agreed that these fatal overdoses were reasonably foreseeable to him, in light of his direct oversight of the enterprise’s drug trafficking activities.  For example, on about August 16, 2018, Butler coordinated the sale of heroin to customer in Rockville, Maryland, who, later that day, used the heroin and died.     

Butler and Roberts paid members and associates of the NFL enterprise to commit multiple murders on behalf of the enterprise.  For example, in 2018, Roberts and others offered a bounty in exchange for the murder of Victim 1, who Roberts believed was cooperating with law enforcement.  On June 16, 2018, an NFL member (Co-conspirator 1) murdered Victim 1 as well as a bystander (Victim 2).  Shortly after the murders, Roberts paid Co-conspirator 1 with money from another NFL related enterprise.

Additionally, in October 2018, Roberts learned of a bounty for the murder of Victim 3.  In an effort to collect the bounty, Roberts recruited two NFL members to murder Victim 3 and share he proceeds.  Ultimately, the two NFL members shot and killed Victim 3 on October 31, 2018, then notified Roberts of Victim 3’s murder.

If the Court accepts the sentence agreed upon by the defendants and the government, Butler and Roberts will each be sentenced to 30 years in federal prison.  U.S. District Judge Paul W. Grimm has not yet scheduled sentencing for the defendants. 

More than 30 defendants in this and related cases have pleaded guilty and been sentenced to between 15 years and time served.  Four other defendants, including Butler and Roberts have pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing.  The final defendant is scheduled to go to trial on November 28, 2022.

This case is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation.  OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.

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.  Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.  PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime.  Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them.  As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

United States Attorney Erek L. Barron commended the FBI, DEA, DPSCS, the Montgomery County Police Department, and the Baltimore Police Department for their work in the investigation.   Mr. Barron thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys John W. Sippel, Jr., James T. Wallner, and Robert I. Goldaris who are prosecuting the case.

For more information on the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office, its priorities, and resources available to help the community, please visit www.justice.gov/usao-md and https://www.justice.gov/usao-md/community-outreach.

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Topic(s): 
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Violent Crime
Contact: 
Marcia Lubin (410) 209-4854
Updated October 5, 2022