Maryland U.S. Attorney Announces Recent Results of Federal Efforts to Reduce Violent Crime in Baltimore
Four Investigations Charging 90 Defendants Brought Down in the Last Month; More than 50 Firearms Seized
Baltimore, Maryland – U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur, along with federal, state, and local partners, announced that as a result of strategies applied to focus on the most violent neighborhoods and target those responsible for that violence, 90 defendants have been charged with federal crimes in investigations brought down in the last month, in separate drug conspiracies operating in the Northwest, Western, Eastern, and Southwestern Districts of Baltimore. During those investigations, law enforcement has seized more than 51 guns, as well as kilogram quantities of fentanyl, heroin, cocaine, fentanyl, and marijuana, and nearly $1 million in cash. The agencies involved in these investigations included the ATF, DEA, FBI, HSI, the U.S. Marshals Service, the Baltimore Police Department, and the Office of the State’s Attorney for Baltimore City.
As of July 31, we have indicted 215 defendants in 2019 in Baltimore under Project Safe Neighborhoods (“PSN”), our violent-crime reduction strategy. All of those defendants are members of violent drug trafficking organizations that have been operating in those Baltimore neighborhoods hardest hit by gun violence. By comparison, in 2018, we indicted a total of 246 Baltimore PSN defendants. At the current pace, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Maryland anticipates charging 50% more violent crime defendants under our strategy this year than in 2018.
“Reducing violent crime in Baltimore is job one. It’s what we in law enforcement think about morning, noon, and night,” said U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur. “We will continue to do everything we can to prosecute the violent criminals who wreak havoc in and terrorize Baltimore’s neighborhoods.”
RECENT PROACTIVE ENFORCEMENT EFFORTS
Monument Street Drug Trafficking Organization (“DTO”) - In this case, 25 defendants were arrested and charged in a 30-count superseding indictment that was returned by a federal grand jury on June 26, 2019, and unsealed on July 19, 2019. The superseding indictment charges the defendants with conspiring to distribute narcotics in and around the 400 block of North Montford Avenue and Jefferson Street, and around the 2400 block of East Monument Street at Port Street. Beginning in July 2018, members of the conspiracy allegedly distributed heroin, fentanyl, cocaine, and crack cocaine to individual drug users, and in bulk quantities to other drug traffickers, who redistributed the drugs in and around Baltimore. Ten of the conspirators also face firearms charges—including eight defendants charged with illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition by a prohibited person. During the investigation, law enforcement seized nine firearms, more than 14 kilograms of cocaine, approximately 4.5 kilograms of heroin, and 479 grams of fentanyl—enough to kill over 200,000 people. In addition, law enforcement seized more than $472,000 in cash and jewelry and vehicles worth more than $466,000. (Adams Superseding Indictment)
Frederick and Collins – The superseding indictment returned on July 10, 2019, charges six defendants for a drug distribution conspiracy allegedly operating since January 2019 in the area of Frederick and Collins Streets in West Baltimore. In addition to the drug conspiracy, Jebriel Ali, a/k/a Bril, is charged with possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, and two counts of illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition by a prohibited person. During the course of the investigation, law enforcement seized five firearms, including a Glock pistol that was modified to fire as a fully-automatic gun. Ali is also charged with the possession with intent to distribute 400 grams of a substance containing fentanyl. If convicted, defendant Ali faces a minimum of 10 years imprisonment and up to life in prison. His co-defendants face maximum prison terms of 20 to 40 years. (Ali Superseding Indictment)
Normandy, Franklin, and Loudon (NFL) – This investigation resulted in two indictments charging a total of 38 defendants for allegedly participating in two drug trafficking organizations to distribute heroin, fentanyl, powder cocaine, and crack cocaine to drug users and redistributors in and around the Edmondson Village neighborhood of Southwest Baltimore. According to the superseding indictments, members of the drug trafficking organizations used residences in and around Baltimore to process, cut, package, and prepare the drugs for distribution. The defendants allegedly changed cell phones frequently to prevent the interception of their communications by law enforcement, and possessed firearms in furtherance of their drug trafficking activities. Specifically, the Butler DTO distributed heroin, fentanyl, cocaine, and crack cocaine in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. The Butler DTO allegedly cut the heroin and crack cocaine that they sold with other substances, including fentanyl, and at least five overdose deaths are attributed to the distribution of drugs by members of the conspiracy, including the father of one of the conspirators. As detailed in the superseding indictment, members and associates of the Adam Martin and Calvin Claxton DTO allegedly used violence to retaliate against those seeking to rob or cheat the DTO. That superseding indictment details several of these acts of violence, including a shooting murder on May 5, 2018, a gunfight on October 16, 2018 in which an unarmed bystander was struck in the crossfire, and the planned robbery of an unlicensed taxi driver. During the course of the investigation law enforcement seized at least 17 firearms, ammunition, drugs, and more than $270,000 in drug proceeds. (Bailey and Antoine Superseding Indictments)
Liberty Heights Avenue and Garrison Boulevard – Twenty-one Baltimore men were indicted on federal charges for allegedly operating a drug distribution operation in Northwest Baltimore, distributing heroin, crack and powder cocaine, fentanyl, and marijuana in the area of Liberty Heights Avenue and Garrison Boulevard. The superseding indictment alleges that several of the defendants illegally possessed firearms in relation to drug trafficking. Law enforcement seized 20 guns, more than $200,000 in cash, and more than a kilogram of fentanyl and 50 grams of crack cocaine from these defendants during the investigation. Although not alleged in the indictment, the affidavit filed in support of the search warrants alleges that the defendants are part of an organization called LNG. According to the affidavit, LNG is comprised of two allied groups who work together: the Yellow Bus Gang (“YBG”) Crips and the Black Guerilla Family (“BGF”). The affidavit alleges that LNG members participate in violent acts, including a gunfight on January 19, 2019, that occurred at approximately 11 a.m. (Anderson Superseding Indictment)
OTHER FEDERAL INITIATIVES
Federal law enforcement is using all of the resources we have available to assist our state and local partners in the fight against violent crime.
Project Safe Neighborhoods (“PSN”). As of July 31, 2019, we have brought federal charges against 215 defendants in Baltimore City as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (“PSN”). In July alone, the U.S. Attorney’s Office charged 31 defendants in Baltimore PSN cases. PSN focuses on gun, drugs, violence, and gang-related crimes. 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.
Reactive Gun Cases (“Exile”) In July alone, 10 defendants who are previously convicted felons were charged federally with illegal possession of a firearm as part of the Exile program. Maryland EXILE is part of PSN, specifically targeting gun crime by combining local, state, and federal law enforcement efforts; community action and revitalization; and public awareness.
The National Public Safety Partnership (“PSP”) program with the Baltimore Police Department. This Justice Department program is a three-year engagement that seeks to leverage department assets in support of a local jurisdiction’s commitment to drive down violent crime. On June 3, 2019, Attorney General William Barr announced the selection of the Baltimore Police Department as one of ten FY 2019 PSP sites where the Justice Department will work collaboratively to provide training and technical assistance in areas such as crime analytics, emerging technology, and community engagement.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives’ (ATF) National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (“NIBIN”). NIBIN is the only national network that allows for the capture and comparison of ballistic evidence to aid in solving and preventing violent crimes involving firearms. NIBIN is a proven investigative and intelligence tool that can link firearms from multiple crime scenes, allowing law enforcement to quickly disrupt shooting cycles.
FBI Baltimore’s Safe Streets Violent Gang Task Force. The Safe Streets Task Force, which includes FBI special agents and task force officers from the Baltimore, Baltimore County, and Anne Arundel County Police Departments, is responsible for identifying and targeting the most violent gangs in the Baltimore metropolitan area, to address gang violence and the associated homicides in Baltimore. The program uses federal racketeering statutes to disrupt and dismantle significant violent criminal threats and criminal enterprises affecting the safety and well-being of our citizens and our communities.
The Baltimore Response Model. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has implemented the Baltimore Response Model (“BRM”) which focuses on training first-responder law enforcement to gather and share essential information that can be used as a starting point for a deeper investigation when they respond to an overdose, whether it be fatal or non-fatal. The BRM encourages local agencies to reach out to DEA with the information they receive at an overdose site and DEA will assist in exploiting investigative databases as well as accessing the broadest de-confliction networks which could lead to teaming up with other local jurisdictions. Additionally, the information received from the overdose sites can lead to whom provided the deadly narcotic to the person who overdosed, which may lead to a violent Drug Trafficking Organization.
HSI Baltimore has specifically targeted the influx of opioids through two specially developed initiatives that bring together multiple law enforcement agencies in specialized and dedicated partnership. HSI agents alongside task force officers Baltimore City, Baltimore County, and Anne Arundel County Police Departments collaborate through both the Illicit Online Marketplace Initiative and the Baltimore Seaport Initiative to quell the influx of opioids and other dangerous narcotics and illegal substances. The Illicit Online Marketplace Initiative focuses on contraband being smuggled into Maryland through darkweb and other illicit Internet transactions. The Baltimore Seaport Initiative focuses on all contraband being smuggled in to the area via Baltimore Washington International Airport and the Port of Baltimore.
We are also working closely with the Office of the State’s Attorney for Baltimore City to coordinate our prosecution efforts on violent crime and drugs. At the end of last year we announced the Synthetic Opioid Surge (“SOS”), a new initiative to target fentanyl dealers. Under this new initiative, every arrest involving distribution of fentanyl made by law enforcement in Baltimore is reviewed jointly by the State’s Attorney’s Office for Baltimore City, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office to determine whether the case will be handled in the state or federal system. The use of federal resources and statutes, which carry significant terms of imprisonment, is necessary to prosecute those individuals who pose the greatest threat to public safety in distributing lethal doses of fentanyl. To date we have indicted 13 defendants federally, including a new defendant charged just this week, and two defendants who are charged in larger drug conspiracy cases.
In addition to enforcement actions, the U.S. Attorney’s Office recognizes the need for services to help deter individuals from committing crimes. We hold “call-ins” for individuals returning from prison who have been identified by Parole and Probation as someone likely to re-offend. At the call-in, those individuals are advised of the consequences of federal prosecution, should they commit another crime. In addition, service providers are there to assist individuals to find housing, job training, obtain identification cards and assist with other needs. In partnership with local community stakeholders we host community resource fairs, like the one held today at Union Baptist Church. In addition, we sponsor re-entry fairs for returning citizens, produce public service announcements to discourage individuals from using a gun, and put up billboards to increase community awareness of the dangers of opioid abuse and the difference between federal and state prison sentences.
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