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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, February 28, 2019

Two West Baltimore Heroin Dealers Plead Guilty To Federal Drug Distribution Charges

Trafficked Heroin in West Baltimore; Each Agrees to Eight Years in Federal Prison

Baltimore, Maryland – Tyron Evans, age 42, of Baltimore, Maryland pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court to possession with intent to distribute heroin.  On February 27, 2019, his co-defendant, Brandon Pride, age 38, also of Baltimore, Maryland, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute heroin. 

The guilty pleas were announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh; Special Agent in Charge Rob Cekada of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Baltimore Field Division; Special Agent in Charge Gordon B. Johnson of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office; Acting Commissioner Michael Harrison of the Baltimore Police Department; and Secretary Stephen T. Moyer of the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.

“Federal, state and local agencies have joined to target leaders and key members of violent gangs operating in Baltimore City,” said U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur. “As a result of this partnership, these drug dealers will no longer peddle death in West Baltimore.  Pride and Evans will also serve a significant sentence in federal prison, where there is no parole - ever.”   

According to Pride’s guilty plea, beginning in at least 2015, Pride conspired with others to distribute heroin in west Baltimore.  Specifically, Pride provided heroin, often in “packs” worth $5,000, to multiple “lieutenants” in his drug trafficking organization.  These “lieutenants” supervised particular block operations, or “shops” located in the blocks surrounding Edmonson Avenue and Pulaski Street in west Baltimore.  Pride met with his lieutenants on a regular basis, sometimes multiple times a day, to supply them with heroin, packaged in order to be distributed in a street-level operation.  The lieutenants took the heroin back to their block, where other members of their group sold the heroin.  The heroin came packaged in quantities that could be sold for $20 or $40 each. 

Further, Pride utilized strategies to evade detection by law enforcement, including changing phone numbers, checking for trackers on vehicles, and taking action against anyone suspected of cooperating with law enforcement. 

Evans admitted that on January 23, 2017, he sold several blue topped vials containing heroin to an individual who was assisting Baltimore Police officers.  The individual drove with a Baltimore Police undercover officer to meet Evans, then provided Evans with cash in exchange for the heroin.  Law enforcement executed a search warrant at Evans’ residence on February 2, 2017 and recovered more than 40 grams of heroin, including 39.33 grams of heroin in a bag, 11 glass vials and five plastic containers, all containing heroin, as well as a scale with heroin residue and cash.  Evans agreed that he possessed the heroin with the intent to distribute it to others.

Evans, Pride and the government have agreed that if the Court accepts their plea agreements, Evans and Pride will each be sentenced to eight years in federal prison.  U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake has not yet scheduled their sentencing dates. 

Three other defendants, all from Baltimore, pleaded guilty to federal charges related to this case and were sentenced.  They include: Antoine Benjamin, age 27, who was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for illegal possession of a gun by a previously convicted felon; Tavares White, age 33, who was sentenced to eight years in federal prison for possession with intent to distribute fentanyl; and Lukeda Butler, age 35, who admitted participating in a heroin distribution conspiracy and was sentenced to 22 months in federal prison, to be served consecutive to her state sentence for witness intimidation related to the drug trafficking organization. 

The Maryland Attorney General’s Office initiated this case and prosecuted related defendants on state charges.  The state prosecutions were handled by Assistant Attorneys General Katie Dorian, Jared Albert, Kelly Burrell, and Zachary Norfolk, with the Maryland Attorney General’s Office, who also assisted with the federal cases.

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.

United States Attorney Robert K. Hur commended the Maryland Attorney General’s Office, the ATF, the FBI, the Baltimore Police Department, and the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correction Services for their work in the investigation.  Mr. Hur thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joan C. Mathias and Michael C. Hanlon, who are prosecuting the federal case.

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Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Opioids
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Component(s): 
Contact: 
Marcia Murphy (410) 209-4854
Updated February 28, 2019