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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Maryland

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Southwest Baltimore “NFL” Gang Member Sentenced to 25 Years in Federal Prison for a Racketeering Conspiracy, Including Committing a Murder

Greenbelt, Maryland – On November 8, 2022, U.S. District Judge Paul W. Grimm sentenced Darran Malik Butler, age 23, of Baltimore, to 25 years in federal prison, followed by four years of supervised release, for participating in a violent racketeering conspiracy, specifically, the NFL Criminal Enterprise, including committing a murder.  The term NFL stands for Normandy, Franklin, and Loudon, which are three adjacent streets that run through the Edmondson Village.  Members of NFL have social and family ties to the Edmondson Village neighborhood in southwest Baltimore. 

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron; Special Agent in Charge Thomas J. Sobocinski of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office; Special Agent in Charge Jarod Forget of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Washington Division; Chief Marcus Jones of the Montgomery County Police Department; and Commissioner Michael Harrison of the Baltimore Police Department.

According to his guilty plea, from at least 2018 through March 26, 2020, Darran Butler was a member of the NFL Criminal Enterprise, which engaged in a pattern of criminal racketeering activity including murder, narcotics trafficking and smuggling, illegal firearms possession, bribery, witness intimidation, and witness retaliation.  Butler participated in illegal activities with other NFL Enterprise members, including committing a murder on the enterprise’s behalf.  As detailed in Butler’s plea agreement, in October 2018, a co-conspirator solicited Butler to murder Leonard Shelley so that the co-conspirator and Butler could collect a bounty that had been placed on Shelley.  On October 31, 2018, Butler and a co-conspirator followed Shelley into a convenience store and shot Shelley numerous times, killing him.  Following the murder, Butler posted a picture on Instagram of himself holding the bounty proceeds for Shelley’s murder.  

More than 30 defendants in this and related cases have pleaded guilty to their roles in the racketeering conspiracy.

This case was made possible by investigative leads generated from 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.  For more information on NIBIN, visit https://www.atf.gov/firearms/national-integrated-ballistic-information-network-nibin.  

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.  Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.  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.

This case is also part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation.  OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.

United States Attorney Erek L. Barron commended the FBI, the DEA, the Montgomery County Department of Police and the Baltimore Police Department for their work in the investigation.  Mr. Barron commended the U.S. Postal Inspection Service; the City of Rockville Police Department; the Baltimore County and Howard County Police Departments; the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office; the Maryland State Police; the West Virginia State Police; the Virginia State Police; the Warren County (VA) Sheriff’s Department; the Winchester (VA) and Front Royal (VA) Police Departments; and the Frederick County and Howard County State’s Attorney’s Offices for their assistance in the investigation and prosecution.  Mr. Barron thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys John W. Sippel, Jr., James T. Wallner, and Robert I. Goldaris, who are prosecuting the case.

For more information on the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office, its priorities, and resources available to help the community, please visit https://www.justice.gov/usao-md/project-safe-neighborhoods-psnexile and https://www.justice.gov/usao-md/community-outreach.   

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Topic(s): 
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Violent Crime
Contact: 
Marcia Murphy (410) 209-4854
Updated November 9, 2022