Leader of Baltimore BGF Gang Sentenced to Life in Prison for Federal Racketeering Conspiracy
Three Other Gang Members Also Receive Significant Sentences for Their Participation in Gang Activities
Baltimore, Maryland – On November 14, 2016, U.S. District Judge James K. Bredar sentenced BGF leader Mark Bazemore, a/k/a Uncle Mark, age 31, of Baltimore, to life in prison for racketeering and drug conspiracies related to his Black Guerilla Family (BGF) gang activities. Judge Bredar sentenced Michael Smith, Jr., a/k/a Mikey, Lil Mike and Mik, age 30, of Baltimore, to 210 months in prison, and Timothy Hurtt, a/k/a Uncle Tim and Tim, age 45, of Baltimore County, to 324 months in prison, each followed by five years of supervised release for participating in a racketeering conspiracy and drug conspiracy related to their membership in BGF. A federal jury convicted them of those charges on June 6, 2016. Bazemore and Hurtt were also convicted of conspiring to use and carry a firearm in relation to a crime of violence and a drug trafficking crime. Bazemore was also convicted of conspiring to commit murder in aid of racketeering; and attempted murder in aid of racketeering.
Today, Judge Bredar sentenced Irvin Vincent, age 28, of Hanover, Maryland, to 18 years in prison, followed by five years of supervised release, for racketeering and drug conspiracies related to his membership in the Black Guerilla Family (BGF) gang, possession with intent to distribute heroin, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
The sentences were announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Gordon B. Johnson of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office; Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis; Chief Gary Gardner of the Howard County Police Department; Howard County State’s Attorney Dario Broccolino; and Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby.
“If we want to stop the killing in Baltimore, we need to remove the killers from Baltimore,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein.
The Black Guerilla Family (BGF) is a nationwide gang operating in prisons and on the streets of cities throughout the United States. BGF is involved in criminal activity, including murder, robbery, extortion, narcotics trafficking, obstruction of justice and witness intimidation in Baltimore, in Maryland, and elsewhere. BGF members were required to follow a code of conduct. Members who violate this code or disobey an order from a superior are subjected to disciplinary measures called “sanctions,” which include fines, physical beatings, stabbings, and murders administered by other BGF members. According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, these defendants and other BGF members regularly paid dues to BGF and met to discuss gang business, including: the sanctioning of BGF members; the identities of individuals suspected of cooperating with law enforcement and actions to be taken against them; and the commission of future crimes.
According to trial evidence, Bazemore, who was a BGF leader, issued sanctions on several fellow BGF members, including the attempted murder of one BGF member who was shot on March 10, 2014, and the murder of another member who was killed on June 16, 2014. Bazemore and Smith collected dues from BGF members who were dealing drugs in the area of Pratt and Payson Streets, a BGF controlled open-air drug shop in Baltimore. In addition to collecting dues, the defendants conspired to operate street-level drug shops throughout Baltimore where they distributed heroin. Timothy Michael Gray, a/k/a “Mike Gray,” who was the Baltimore “city-wide” commander of BGF would often be driven by Hurtt to various BGF-controlled drug shops, like Pratt and Payson, to collect drugs and money from their subordinates. In addition, Hurtt and Gray provided armed protection in a BGF drug deal.
According to his plea agreement, Vincent obtained wholesale quantities of heroin, which he distributed to other BGF members for redistribution, or provided the heroin to intermediaries to be sold in Howard County, Maryland, and elsewhere. Vincent often packaged his individual units of heroin in small green bags. Vincent was overheard by law enforcement discussing the wholesale purchase and sale of heroin to various customers in Howard County and other locations throughout Maryland. On July 8, 2014, Vincent was arrested driving his vehicle after being observed meeting with his source of supply, and a search and seizure warrant was executed on his apartment in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. Agents recovered approximately 75 grams of heroin, as well as heroin packaged in green bags; a loaded Taurus .357 revolver on top of a document containing the BGF oath; and a loaded 9mm handgun. A later search of Vincent’s car revealed a hidden compartment behind the dashboard containing an additional 50 green bags containing heroin, a ski mask, and a loaded 9mm handgun.
According to evidence presented at today’s sentencing hearing, two of Vincent’s regular drug customers obtained heroin from him or one of his employees which they provided to two individuals in Howard County who died of a heroin overdose. According to today’s testimony, after being advised by his customers that someone may have died from using his heroin, Vincent stated that he did not want to hear about it, and told the customers not to bring it up again.
Timothy Michael Gray, a/k/a “Mike Gray,” age 48, of Baltimore, previously pleaded guilty to the racketeering conspiracy. Nine other co-defendants pleaded guilty to their roles in the conspiracies and are awaiting sentencing, including six defendants who are scheduled to be sentenced this week.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the FBI; Baltimore City and Howard County Police Departments; and Baltimore City and Howard County State’s Attorney’s Offices for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Keri Borzilleri, on detail from the Maryland Attorney General’s Office for her assistance in today’s sentencing, and Assistant United States Attorneys James T. Wallner and Clinton Fuchs, who prosecuted this Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force case.