Baltimore , Maryland - U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake sentenced Raymond Williams, age 36, of Baltimore, Maryland today to 121 months in prison, followed by four years of supervised release, for conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute between 1,400 and 2,000 pounds of marijuana as part of a drug organization that operated in the Latrobe Homes area of East Baltimore and elsewhere. Judge Blake also ordered that Williams forfeit over $315,000, including $101,580 seized during a search of his home, and a Land Rover.
A total of sixty-six defendants were charged in March 2011 - 31 in federal court and 35 in state court – for dealing drugs at Latrobe Homes in East Baltimore, an area prone to violence and drug activity. The federal indictments alleged that the conspirators obtained heroin and marijuana from suppliers in New York and California, and that violent crimes were committed in furtherance of the conspiracy.
The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Acting Special Agent in Charge Robert Brisolari of the Drug Enforcement Administration - Washington Field Division; Commissioner Anthony W. Batts of the Baltimore Police Department; and Baltimore City State’s Attorney Gregg L. Bernstein.
According to Williams’ plea agreement, from at least 2008 through March 10, 2011, Williams participated in a conspiracy to distribute drugs in the Latrobe Homes area of Baltimore and elsewhere, purchasing significant quantities of marijuana from suppliers in California, and selling marijuana to other conspirators for further distribution. Between June 2010 and March 2011, Williams, who lives in Maryland, maintained a residence in San Diego, California, which functioned as a distribution center for his drug trafficking operation. Williams used the home to receive large quantities of marijuana, which were then broken down into smaller quantities by Williams and others for shipment to purchasers around the country. Williams oversaw an operation in which he and his associates shipped boxes of marijuana weighing between 10 and 25 pounds each from California to locations in Maryland, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania for distribution in Maryland. Law enforcement agents have identified more than 500 pounds of marijuana shipments associated with accounts Williams maintained at a shipping company between December 2010 and March 2011.
Williams sent some of the proceeds of the marijuana sales back to California to purchase more marijuana for distribution. Williams mailed cash to associates in California, transferred drug proceeds deposited in Maryland bank accounts to individuals in California, and paid couriers to fly to California carrying large amounts of cash on their persons and in their luggage. During the investigation, U.S. Postal Inspectors seized a total of $214,280 in cash from packages mailed or received by individuals associated with the conspiracy, including $15,000 that was seized from a package that, during surveillance of Williams, law enforcement had seen being mailed on Williams’ behalf. In addition, $101,580 in cash was recovered on March 10, 2011, during a search of Williams’ San Diego house, along with trace amounts of marijuana and handwritten instructions on how to package marijuana for shipment. Williams admits that the money seized was the proceeds of drug trafficking.
All 31 federal defendants have pleaded guilty to their participation in the drug trafficking conspiracy, including Shawn Johnson, age 41, of Bronx, New York, who was sentenced to 160 months in prison; Dana Bowman, age 39 and Donald Wright, age 41; both of Baltimore, who were each sentenced to 151 months in prison; and Antonio McNeely, age 34, of Baltimore, sentenced to 136 months in prison. Another co-defendant, Melvin Thompson, age 31, of Baltimore, Maryland, was sentenced earlier this week to 10 years in prison.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the DEA, Baltimore City Police Department, and the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein praised Baltimore City Assistant State’s Attorney Christopher M. Mason who assisted in the federal prosecution, and Baltimore City Assistant State’s Attorneys Tony Gioia, Miabeth Marosy, Jeanne Canal and Anna Mantegna, who are prosecuting related state cases. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorney Benjamin M. Block, who prosecuted this Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force case.