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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, February 13, 2020

Three Members of an Eastern Shore Drug Trafficking Organization Sentenced to Five, Eight, and Eleven Years in Federal Prison

Distributed Substantial Quantities of Fentanyl, Heroin, Cocaine, and Methamphetamine

Baltimore, Maryland – Three members of an Eastern Shore drug trafficking organization have been sentenced to federal prison on drug conspiracy charges. U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett sentenced the three co-defendants to terms of imprisonment ranging from just over five years to just over 11 years. 

Today, James Eley, age 34, of Millsboro, Delaware, was sentenced to 63 months in federal prison, followed by four years of supervised release, for a drug distribution conspiracy involving heroin and fentanyl.  On February 10, 2020, co-defendant James Martel Frazier, age 34, of Cambridge, was sentenced to 135 months—just over 11 years—in federal prison, followed by five years of supervised release, on the conspiracy charge and a related firearms charge.  On January 15, 2020, co-defendant Jason Brittingham, age 37, of Federalsburg was sentenced to eight years in federal prison, followed by four years of supervised release, for his role in the organization.

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; Special Agent in Charge John Eisert of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Baltimore; the members of the Dorchester County Narcotics Task Force, including: Colonel William M. Pallozzi, Superintendent of the Maryland State Police; Dorchester County Sheriff James W. Phillips, Jr.; Chief Mark Lewis of the Cambridge Police Department; Chief Bruce Jones of the Hurlock Police Department; Caroline County Sheriff Randy Bounds, Chief Rodney R. Cox of the Denton Police Department, and Colonel Nathaniel McQueen, Jr. of the Delaware State Police.

United States Attorney Robert K. Hur stated, “All too often, guns and drugs go hand in hand—and both are killers.  We are committed to working with our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners to arrest and prosecute those who bring these deadly drugs to our communities.  Drug dealers take note, just like these defendants you can face years in federal prison, where there is no parole—ever.”

“We continue to fight against the devastating impact that opioids have on our community,” said John Eisert, special agent in charge, HSI Baltimore. “This investigation’s success is a direct result of the strong partnership between HSI Baltimore and our local, state and federal law enforcement partners.” 

According to their plea agreements, the defendants were all part of narcotics conspiracy that was being investigated by the Dorchester County Narcotics Task Force and Homeland Security Investigations beginning in 2018.  The conspirators were responsible for trafficking significant amounts of fentanyl, heroin, and other drugs in the Delmarva area. 

During the investigation, Frazier was identified as personally distributing significant quantities of drugs, as well as working with his co-defendants and other to facilitate the distribution of drugs on behalf of the conspiracy.  For his part, Brittingham helped store and distribute drugs on behalf of the organization, maintaining a “stash house” in Federalsburg, Maryland.  According to his plea agreement, Brittingham delivered heroin, fentanyl, cocaine, and crack cocaine from the stash house to other locations and to customers.

Eley was arrested in conjunction with a traffic stop conducted by the Delaware State Police on December 13, 2018.  A subsequent search of Eley’s vehicle revealed 10 cardboard boxes stamped with a red apple logo.  Inside each box were bundles of branded waxed-paper folds, each containing a mixture of fentanyl and heroin.  In total, the boxes contained 7,800 paper folds stamped and branded for distribution.  The total weight of the fentanyl/heroin mixture in the folds was approximately 130 grams.

On February 23, 2019, law enforcement executed search warrants at locations associated with Frazier and Brittingham in Maryland and Delaware.  In total, law enforcement recovered over 250 grams of a mixture of fentanyl and heroin, much of it packaged in individual waxed folds branded with words and/or images; over 250 grams of crack cocaine; over 400 grams of methamphetamine; and over a kilogram of cocaine.  In addition, law enforcement recovered four firearms from residences associated with Frazier, including a .357-caliber pistol and a .40-caliber pistol at a residence where Frazier kept drugs, and over $40,000 in cash.  Frazier admitted that those firearms were used in furtherance of the conspiracy’s drug trafficking.                    

United States Attorney Robert K. Hur praised HSI, the Maryland State Police, the Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office, the Cambridge Police Department, the Hurlock Police Department, the Caroline County Sheriff’s Office, the Denton Police Department, and the Delaware State Police for their work in the investigation.  Mr. Hur thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christopher M. Rigali and Christopher J. Romano, who prosecuted the case.

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Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Opioids
Firearms Offenses
Component(s): 
Contact: 
Marcia Murphy (410) 209-4854
Updated February 13, 2020