Thursday, July 29, 2021

Wholesale Supplier of Narcotics to East Baltimore Monument Street Drug Trafficking Organization Sentenced to More Than Eight Years in Federal Prison and Co-Defendant Drug Distributor Pleads Guilty to His Role in the Drug Conspiracy

 Over the Course of the Monument Street Investigation, Law Enforcement Seized Kilo Quantities of Drugs, Loaded Guns, and More Than $535,781 in Drug Proceeds; Malik Williams is the 24th Defendant from the Monument Street Investigation to be Convicted

Baltimore, Maryland – U.S. District Judge Ellen L. Hollander sentenced Derek Crosby, age 40, of Baltimore, yesterday to 102 months in federal prison, followed by four years of supervised release for conspiracy to distribute fentanyl, heroin, cocaine, and crack cocaine in the Monument Street area of East Baltimore, and for possession with intent to distribute fentanyl. 

Last week, co-defendant Malik Williams, a/k/a “Freaky,” age 32, of Baltimore pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute cocaine, and to knowingly and intentionally possessing with intent to distribute cocaine.

The sentence and guilty plea were announced by Acting United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Jonathan F. Lenzner; 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.

“There is no question that the excessive amount of violence in Baltimore stems in part from the drug trade, and getting wholesale narcotics dealers like Derek Crosby off the streets is an important component of our efforts to address the murders and shootings that steal lives and undermine our communities,” said Acting United States Attorney Jonathan Lenzner.  “This Monument Street case is the kind of impactful investigation that federal, state and local partners can build through collaboration and a dedicated commitment to improving our communities.”

According to Crosby and Williams’ guilty pleas, in July of 2018, Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”) Strike Force Group 1 began an investigation of the Monument Street corridor in East Baltimore, which is known to support a high volume of street-level drug distribution and acts of violence associated with the drug trafficking.  During the investigation, law enforcement identified multiple street-level drug trafficking “shops,” with the two most prominent located in the 400 block of North Montford Avenue at Jefferson Street (“the Montford DTO”) and in the 2400 block of East Monument Street at Port Street (the “Out the Mud,” or “OTM DTO”). 

As detailed in their plea agreements, investigators identified Crosby as a wholesale distributor of cocaine, crack cocaine, heroin, and fentanyl and as a source of supply of the street-level Montford DTO, among others.  Williams was identified as a drug distributor for the OTM DTO who agreed with his co-conspirators to acquire and to assist in distributing controlled substances to other persons. Investigators intercepted calls between Crosby and his co-conspirators and between Williams and his co-conspirators, discussing the distribution of drugs, including cocaine, crack cocaine, fentanyl and heroin. 

Specifically, Crosby admitted that he owned a stash house in the 1700 block of Dallas Street in Baltimore, which he and his co-conspirators used to meet with customers and conduct drug transactions.  According to his plea agreement, on June 19, 2019, law enforcement executed a search warrant at the Dallas Street residence owned by Crosby and recovered 677 grams of a fentanyl and heroin mixture, which Crosby admits he possessed with the intent to distribute for sale, and approximately 2.4 grams of crack cocaine.  On June 21, 2019, a search warrant was executed on Crosby’s vehicle and law enforcement recovered a stolen .40 caliber semi-automatic pistol from a hidden compartment in the center console area.  Crosby knew that he was prohibited from possessing a firearm as the result of a previous felony conviction.  Further, Crosby admitted that he possessed the firearm in connection to his drug trafficking.

Throughout the course of his involvement in the conspiracy, it was reasonably foreseeable to Crosby, and within the scope of the conspiracy that he or other members of the conspiracy would distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine, and at least 400 grams of fentanyl, as well as quantities of crack cocaine and heroin, during the course of and in furtherance of the conspiracy. 

Williams admitted that on October 30, 2018, he directed an undercover detective to a co-conspirator to purchased what the undercover detective thought was heroin, but was instead ten gelatin capsules containing a mixture of tramadol and fentanyl.  On February 21, 2019, Williams sold an undercover detective four green top vials of cocaine.  On June 25, 2019, Williams was arrested in the 2400 block of Monument Street and when Williams was searched, investigators recovered 48 grey top vials containing cocaine and 16 gel caps containing fentanyl. Williams admitted that on each of these three occasions he possessed the fentanyl and the cocaine with the intent to distribute them for sale.

Throughout the course of Williams’ involvement in the conspiracy, it was reasonably foreseeable to Williams, and within the scope of the conspiracy that he or other members of the conspiracy would distribute between 500 grams and two kilograms of cocaine, as well as quantities of crack cocaine,  heroin and fentanyl, during the course of and in furtherance of the conspiracy. 

Of the 25 defendants indicted in this case, 24—including Crosby and Williams—have pleaded guilty or been found guilty at trial.  The remaining defendants have trial dates in November 2021.

Williams and the government have agreed that, if the Court accepts the plea, Williams will be sentenced to five years in federal prison.  Judge Hollander has scheduled sentencing for Williams on September 17, 2021, at 2:00 p.m.

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.

Acting United States Attorney Jonathan F. Lenzner commended the DEA and the Baltimore Police Department for their work in the investigation.  Mr. Lenzner thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys LaRai Everett and James T. Wallner, who are prosecuting the case.

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