West Baltimore Drug Dealer Admits to Selling Fentanyl Gel Capsules as a Member of the Master P Drug Trafficking Organization
Baltimore, Maryland – Albert Shields, age 52, of Baltimore, Maryland pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute controlled substances, in relation to the Master P drug trafficking organization operating around Pennsylvania and North Avenues in West Baltimore.
The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron; Assistant Special Agent in Charge Orville O. Greene of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Baltimore District Office; Commissioner Michael Harrison of the Baltimore Police Department; Chief Melissa R. Hyatt of the Baltimore County Police Department; and Secretary Robert Green of the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.
According to his guilty plea, in November 2019, Shields participated in a conspiracy to distribute fentanyl and heroin as a member of the Master P drug trafficking organization (DTO).
As a result of a 2019 OCDETF Strike Force investigation led by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Shields was identified as associates of the Master P DTO. Between October 2019 and April 2020, investigators intercepted DTO communications and observed Shields and other conspirators conducting hand-to-hand drug transactions. The observations and calls, including conversations conducted on Shields’ cell phone, established that the DTO sold narcotics on a daily basis.
As stated in his plea agreement, investigators made several controlled narcotics purchases from conspirators, including Shields, who either advertised that their narcotics were from the Master P DTO or were intercepted discussing drug trafficking. For example, in December 2019, Shields sold 20 gel capsules of fentanyl to an undercover police officer.
In several instances throughout the conspiracy, Shields called co-conspirators to obtain narcotics for transactions and often met his co-conspirators at or near two homes in the 2400 block of Francis Street in Baltimore associated with other DTO members, where Shields would retrieve items. In April 2020, investigators executed search warrants on those two Francis Street residences and recovered hundreds of gel capsules containing approximately 200 grams of a heroin and fentanyl mixture, cutting agents, and drug packaging materials.
Shields faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison followed by up to a lifetime of supervised release for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute controlled substances. U.S. District Judge James K. Bredar has scheduled sentencing for June 14, 2022 at 10:00 a.m.
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 prosecution was brought as a part of the Department of Justice’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) Co-located Strike Forces Initiative, which provides for the establishment of permanent multi-agency task force teams that work side-by-side in the same location. This co-located model enables agents from different agencies to collaborate on intelligence-driven, multi-jurisdictional operations against a continuum of priority targets and their affiliate illicit financial networks. These prosecutor-led co-located Strike Forces capitalize on the synergy created through the long-term relationships that can be forged by agents, analysts, and prosecutors who remain together over time, and they epitomize the model that has proven most effective in combating organized crime. The specific mission of the Baltimore OCDETF Strike Force is to reduce violent, drug-related, and gang crime in the Baltimore area and surrounding region.
United States Attorney Erek L. Barron commended DEA, the Baltimore Police Department, the Baltimore County Police Department, and the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services for their work in the investigation and thanked the Office of the State’s Attorney for Baltimore City for its assistance. Mr. Barron thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles D. Austin, who is 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/priorities
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