Federal Prosecution is Part of U.S. Attorney’s Office “Fentanyl SOS Program”
Baltimore, Maryland – U.S. District Judge George L. Russell, III today sentenced Davon Nelson, age 35, of Baltimore, today to 11 years in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for distribution of fentanyl and conspiracy to distribute fentanyl. Nelson, a career offender, had numerous prior state conviction for drug related offenses.
This case is part of a federal-state initiative to combat the fentanyl crisis in Maryland. Under this initiative, titled the “Synthetic Opioid Surge,” or “SOS” for short, every arrest involving distribution of fentanyl made by law enforcement in Baltimore is reviewed jointly by the State’s Attorney’s Office for Baltimore City, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office to determine whether the case will be handled in the state or federal system. The U.S. Attorney’s Office is prosecuting more cases involving fentanyl as a result of this program. The use of federal resources and statutes, which carry significant terms of imprisonment, is necessary to prosecute those individuals who pose the greatest threat to public safety in distributing lethal doses of fentanyl.
The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; State’s Attorney for Baltimore City Marilyn Mosby; Assistant Special Agent in Charge Orville O. Greene of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Baltimore District Office; and Commissioner Michael Harrison of the Baltimore Police Department.
“Drug traffickers are on notice that dealing in fentanyl increases their odds of federal prosecution under the fentanyl SOS program,” said United States Attorney Robert K. Hur. “The cooperation of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Office of the State’s Attorney for Baltimore City, the DEA, and the Baltimore Police Department in reviewing every fentanyl case to determine those cases appropriate for federal prosecution is just one example of the efforts we are making to reduce the number of opioid overdose deaths in Maryland. As a result of this collaboration, Davon Nelson will now spend 11 years in federal prison, where there is no parole—ever.”
According to Nelson’s plea agreement, on September 5, 2018, a Baltimore Police Department officer observed Nelson distribute a baggie containing 200 fentanyl gel capsules to co-defendant Terrell Perry. The BPD officer called in an arrest team and Perry was arrested. A search of Perry recovered the baggie of 200 fentanyl gel caps. At the time Perry was arrested, Nelson had left the block on foot. Law enforcement obtained a search warrant for Nelson’s van and recovered an additional 200 gel caps of fentanyl powder. The total amount of fentanyl recovered was at least 32 grams, but no more than 40 grams, which is enough fentanyl to kill at least 16,000 people.
Following his arrest, Nelson called his girlfriend from pre-trial detention facilities and directed her to move “the white stuff” from underneath his tub and to give it to an associate so that person could sell it. Further, Nelson directed his girlfriend to lie to the police if they came to interview her about Nelson and directed his girlfriend to also have her mother lie to police, if she were interviewed. Under the terms of his plea agreement, Nelson admitted that his calls to his girlfriend were an attempt to obstruct justice.
Terrell Perry, age 36, of Baltimore, previously pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 30 months in prison.
United States Attorney Robert K. Hur commended the Office of the State’s Attorney for Baltimore City, the DEA, and the Baltimore Police Department for their work in the investigation. Mr. Hur thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher M. Rigali, who prosecuted the case.