Silver Spring Man Sentenced to 15 Years in Federal Prison for Charges Related to a Drug Trafficking Conspiracy
Baltimore, Maryland –Matthew Dale Bush, age 39, and Crystal French, a/k/a “Crystal Lynn Bush,” age 34, both of Grasonville, Maryland, pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit bank larceny, interstate transportation of stolen goods, and interstate transportation of stolen vehicles. Bush also pleaded guilty to bank robbery and to illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition. Bush entered his guilty plea on September 11, 2018, and French pleaded guilty today.
The guilty pleas were announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; Acting Special Agent in Charge Cardell T. Morant of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); and Colonel William M. Pallozzi, Superintendent of the Maryland State Police.
According to their respective plea agreements, from September 2017 through October 23, 2017, Bush and French conspired to break into retail businesses in order to steal Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) and the money contained inside. The couple admitted that they used stolen vehicles to travel to and from the scenes of the crimes.
In September and October 2017, the couple stole six ATMs that contained over $38,900, and attempted to steal two other ATMs. As part of the conspiracy, the couple traveled to, and stole from, businesses in: Stevensville, Maryland; Chester, Maryland; Kent County, Delaware; Sterling, Virginia; Broadlands, Virginia; Dover, Delaware; Stevensville, Maryland; and Cambridge, Maryland. Generally, Bush entered the store wearing a mask, attached a chain or rope to the ATM, and pulled the ATM out of the store through the front glass window. Bush and French then transported the ATM and its contents to their home in Grasonville, where they hid the proceeds. Bush and French spent the proceeds of the crimes they committed on personal items, including heroin and other illegal narcotics. Bush and French married on October 14, 2017, during the crime spree.
Law enforcement obtained a state search warrant for Bush and French’s residence. On October 19, 2017, just prior to the execution of the search warrant, the police saw Bush and French leave the residence in a green Mercedes. When Bush and French saw a marked Queen Anne’s County patrol vehicle, they sped away. During the search, police recovered the following evidence: tow straps used to pull the ATM machines from the stores; sledgehammers used to break the glass at the burglaries; masks and clothing worn by the suspects in the surveillance videos at the burglaries; the license plate to one of the stolen pickup trucks, cut in numerous pieces; packaging for “walkie-talkies” used by Bush and French during some of the ATM burglaries; and a van containing several damaged ATM machines. The police also found French’s cell phone, a loaded 12 gauge shotgun near the bed where Bush slept, and additional shotgun ammunition in the garage. Bush is prohibited from possessing a firearm due to previous felony convictions, including 2010 convictions for assault and burglary related to a number of Delaware ATM burglaries.
On October 22, 2017, Bush and French stole a pick-up truck in White Marsh, Maryland, and drove to a gas station in Harford County. Bush entered the gas station and demanded money, but the clerk refused to give Bush the cash. Bush and French then drove to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, where they left the pick-up truck stolen in White Marsh and stole another pick-up truck. Bush and French then drove the second stolen pick-up truck to a convenience store in Harford County, Maryland. Bush and another person, both wearing masks and hats, broke into the convenience store and stole approximately 86 packs of cigarettes. Later that morning, Bush and French drove to a bank on Bel Air Road in Perry Hall, Maryland. While French remained in the passenger seat of the truck, Bush entered the bank and displayed a note demanding money to the teller, who complied with Bush’s demands. Bush stole $4,820, fled the bank, got into the truck and drove away in the stolen truck.
Officers spotted Bush and French leaving the bank and attempted a traffic stop. Bush refused to stop. He drove away in a reckless manner, fled into Baltimore City, finally crashing into another vehicle. Bush then got out of the truck, helped French out of the passenger side, and the two ran away, followed by at least two police officers. Bush and French were caught and arrested. The cigarettes stolen from the convenience store were found in the stolen truck.
French faces a maximum sentence of five year in prison for the conspiracy. Bush and the government have agreed that if the Court accepts the plea agreement Bush will be sentenced to between four and 10 years in prison for the conspiracy, bank robbery, and gun charge. U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett has scheduled sentencing for Bush on December 11, 2018 at 3:00 p.m. and for French on December 12, 2018, at 3:00 p.m.
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 commended the HSI, the Maryland State Police, the Delaware State Police, the Queen Anne’s County Sheriff’s Office, the Harford County Sheriff’s Office, the Baltimore County Police Department, and the Loudon County, Virginia Sheriff’s Department for their work in the investigation. Mr. Hur thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Paul Budlow and Sandra Wilkinson, who are prosecuting the case.