Maryland MS-13 Gang Member Pleads Guilty to Participating in a Racketeering Conspiracy, Including a Murder
Baltimore, Maryland –U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake sentenced Garrion McCellan, age 30, of Baltimore today to 25 years in prison, followed by 8.5 years of supervised release, for a drug conspiracy and for possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime causing death. McCellan was part of a drug trafficking operation that operated in and around Pedestal Gardens, an apartment complex located in the 300 block of McMechan Street in West Baltimore. McCellan was also an active member of the Black Guerilla Family (BGF) gang during his participation in the drug conspiracy.
The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; Special Agent in Charge Gordon B. Johnson of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office; Interim Police Commissioner Gary Tuggle of the Baltimore Police Department; and Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby.
“Garrion McCellan and his fellow members of the Pedestal Gardens gang brought death to West Baltimore--through the drugs they sold and the gun violence they committed,” said United States Attorney Robert K. Hur. “This sentence makes clear that U.S. Attorney’s Office, along with our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners, will bring to justice those who terrorize our city’s neighborhoods.”
“Today’s sentencing is indicative of the success that can be attained when agencies combine resources to remove violent drug distributors off the street,” said FBI Baltimore Special Agent in Charge Gordon B. Johnson. “The citizens of Maryland have the FBI’s commitment that we will continue to aggressively investigate criminal organizations that target our communities with their drug-related violent activity to ensure they are held accountable and removed from their neighborhoods."
According to his plea agreement and other court documents, from at least July 2016 through April 28, 2016, MCellan conspired with others, including Pedestal Gardens gang leader DeAndre Smith, and gang members Jamal Carter and Dymir Rhodes, to distribute heroin and fentanyl in and around Pedestal Gardens. Smith, Carter, Rhodes, and others maintained a “stash” house in Catonsville, Maryland to store drugs and drug proceeds, and to process and package drugs for distribution. Rhodes supplied McCellan with “packs” of heroin and/or fentanyl, which McCellan redistributed to drug users at Pedestal Gardens. Each “pack” typically contained between 25 and 50 gel capsules of the drugs, totaling approximately 2.5 to 5 grams. McCellan and other co-conspirators routinely distributed 40 to 50 packs of heroin and fentanyl in one day.
McCellan admitted that sometime before August 10, 2015, Smith ordered McCellan to kill a drug dealer who was encroaching on their organization’s drug territory. On August 10, 2015, McCellan, Smith, and Rhodes went to the 1700 block of McCullough Street where they located the drug dealer outside a corner store. McCellan shot the drug dealer several times, killing him. Another person was found shot in the corner store, but survived.
As detailed in his plea agreement, on October 7, 2015, McCellan shot another individual at the direction of Smith, who was disrupting the organization’s drug operation by robbing drug dealers in the area. On October 7, 2015, McCellan and Carter contacted the individual using the ruse that they wanted help to rob other drug dealers. McCellan and Carter arranged to meet the victim in the 1400 block of Druid Hill Avenue. While the victim was putting on gloves in preparation for the purported robbery, McCellan shot the victim multiple times at close range, killing him.
McCellan admitted that he expected to receive something of value from Smith in return for the two killings. McCellan also admitted that during his participation in the conspiracy he and his co-conspirators distributed between one and three kilograms of heroin.
Deandre Smith, age 28, of Baltimore, pleaded guilty to the drug conspiracy.
Sentenced to 25 years in federal prison;
Jamal Carter, age 24, of Baltimore, previously pleaded guilty to the drug conspiracy.
Sentenced to 11 years in federal prison;
Dymir Rhodes, age 32, of Baltimore, pleaded guilty to the drug conspiracy. Sentenced to 10 years in federal prison.
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 FBI, the Baltimore Police Department, and the Office of the State’s Attorney for Baltimore City for their work in the investigation. Mr. Hur thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Daniel C. Gardner and Christopher J. Romano, who prosecuted this Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force case.