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Press Release

Salisbury Cocaine Dealer Sentenced To 20 Years In Prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Maryland
Convicted After a Three Day Jury Trial

Baltimore, Maryland – U.S. District Judge George J. Hazel sentenced Charles Riley, Jr., age 45, of Salisbury, Maryland, today 20 years in prison, followed by 10 years of supervised release, for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine and for two counts of possession with intent to distribute cocaine. Judge Hazel enhanced Riley’s sentence based on his previous federal drug conviction and the amount of drugs involved in the conspiracy. Riley was convicted on December 11, 2014, after a three day trial.

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Assistant Special Agent in Charge Gary Tuggle of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Baltimore District Office; Colonel William M. Pallozzi, Superintendent of the Maryland State Police; Wicomico County Sheriff Michael A. Lewis; Salisbury Police Chief Barbara Duncan; Chief Michael Phillips of the Fruitland Police Department; and Wicomico County State’s Attorney Matthew Maciarello.

“Mr. Riley was responsible for trafficking a large amount of cocaine throughout the Salisbury area in a very short amount of time,” said Gary Tuggle, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Baltimore District Office.  “DEA and our law enforcement partners put an end to Mr. Riley's drug trafficking days. A new day has dawned for Mr. Riley - from a jail cell in a federal prison,” added Tuggle.

The government proved at trial that Riley distributed over 15 kilograms of cocaine in less than two months.  Riley distributed approximately 10 kilograms of that amount while on pretrial release on state drug charges.

According to trial testimony and his co-defendants’ plea agreements, from July 2013, through August 27, 2013, Riley conspired with David Wayne Nelson, Royce Levi Brown, Charles Rudolph White and others to distribute cocaine.  During the investigation, DEA and the Wicomico County Narcotics Task Force initiated wire taps on cellular telephones belonging to the conspirators and executed search warrants at multiple locations, including residences associated with Riley, Brown, Nelson and White.  Law enforcement overheard and observed the conspirators engage in drug transactions.  During the investigation, law enforcement identified Riley as a source of supply for Brown, who redistributed the cocaine to Nelson.  Brown also purchased cocaine from White.

In late July 2013, law enforcement intercepted telephone conversations and text messages in which Brown told Riley that he was delivering – or had already delivered – large cash payments.  The payments to Riley were for kilograms of cocaine that Riley had previously “fronted,” or provided on consignment, to Brown.  On August 16, 2013, Riley retrieved a package containing almost 500 grams of cocaine from a residence in Salisbury.  Riley was seen on videotape retrieving the package and was in possession of the package later that afternoon, when he was arrested on state drug charges.  According to evidence presented at trial, following his arrest Riley discussed the package with Brown, who in turn discussed it with other co-conspirators.

According to trial testimony, on August 16, 2013, law enforcement executed a search at Riley’s home and recovered drug paraphernalia including a cocaine press, a scale, money counter, and drug packaging material.  Law enforcement also recovered a loaded AK-47 and a loaded 9mm handgun, as well as ammunition.

According to testimony at his trial, early on August 21, 2013, Riley parked a Jeep Grand Cherokee containing between nine and 10 kilograms of cocaine, in Brown’s yard.  On August 27, 2013, a search of the vehicle recovered 5.5 kilograms of cocaine.  A subsequent search of Brown’s home recovered an additional two kilograms of cocaine that Brown had removed from the Jeep and hidden in a backpack in his bedroom.

Co-conspirators David Wayne Nelson, age 32, of Salisbury, Maryland, was sentenced to 140 months in prison; Royce Levi Brown, age 31, of Mardela Springs, Maryland, was sentenced to four years in prison; and Charles Rudolph White, age 34, of Salisbury, was sentenced to 37 months in prison.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the DEA and the Wicomico County Narcotics Task Force comprised of the Maryland State Police, Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office, Salisbury Police Department, Fruitland Police Department and the Wicomico County State’s Attorney’s Office for their work in the investigation.  Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorneys Peter J. Martinez and Christopher J. Romano, who prosecuted this Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force case.

Updated March 18, 2015

Drug Trafficking