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Articles Posted in Federal Crimes

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drugs-908533_960_720-300x200Last week a Berlin man was sentenced to 7 years in prison followed by 3 years of supervised release for possession with intent to distribute cocaine.  The incident in question occurred back in 2018 in Worcester County where the man had been under investigation by the Worcester County Criminal Enforcement team.  The WCCET was also working with various local law enforcement departments including the Ocean Pines and Ocean City police departments.  While conducting surveillance of the defendant’s home, investigators saw another suspect enter and exit the home in a manner consistent with a drug transaction.  A traffic stop was conducted and police discovered cocaine and a glass pipe.  Upon being questioned, the suspected purchaser admitted to having just made a drug transaction with the defendant.  This traffic stop provided law enforcement with the requisite probable cause to obtain a search and seizure warrant on the defendant’s home, which was executed a short time later.  Upon execution of the search warrant, the criminal enforcement team located almost 400 grams of crack cocaine, cutting agents, a scale, three cell phones and $1,472 in cash.  Additional search warrants were obtained for the phones, and upon executing these warrants police discovered text messages that indicated the defendant was allegedly involved in drug trafficking.

The defendant was originally charged in the Snow Hill District Court and released on bail at the end of September, 2018.  His case was then transferred to the Circuit Court for Worcester County upon the filing of felony charges, but just a few months later he was arrested again on a separate federal warrant.  Upon being arrested by the feds the defendant was found in possession of cocaine that he tried to discard as police approached.  The defendant also had possession of a cell phone that was subsequently searched.  Text messages revealed that he was allegedly still actively engaged in drug distribution since his release on bail from the state charges, and the feds were not too pleased with this alleged behavior while out on bail.  The Worcester County Circuit Court case was ultimately dismissed by the State and the Eastern Shore defendant was charged in federal court by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Baltimore.  Now, nearly four years after the original incident, this defendant finally learned his fate in the drug case, and he will likely serve about 6 years behind bars. Of course, this sentence does not include any other open cases the defendant may have in state or federal court, as the U.S. Attorney’s press release did not provide further detail about the Berlin man’s 2019 federal warrant.

The feds do not typically pick up mid-level drug distribution cases that do not involve firearms, and this is especially true for the cases that originate from the Eastern Shore jurisdictions such as Worcester County and the Salisbury area.  There is actually a federal courthouse in Salisbury, but it is not used for felony criminal prosecutions.  When the feds pick up a case from state court, they still must use the local law enforcement officers as witnesses should the case go to trial.  After all, it was not the DEA, ATF or FBI that made the original arrest or executed the search warrant.  It is not ideal to have a dozen or so law enforcement officers on standby to testify when they are working 2 hours away, but this case seemed to strike a chord with the feds to the point that logistics didn’t matter.

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police-378255_960_720-300x212The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland recently announced that a 37-year-old man from Waldorf has been indicted on federal charges of false impersonation of an officer and employee of the United States and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.  Federal prosecutors also announced the man’s co-conspirator, a 40-year-old woman from Baltimore, was charged with impersonating and officer and conspiracy to impersonate a federal officer.  The male defendant was held without bail, while the female was released on pre-trial supervision.  According to court documents and statements presented at the initial appearance, the charges stemmed from an incident that occurred back in March at a Prince George’s County restaurant.  The male defendant was working as a security guard for the restaurant with his pet dog when he allegedly attempted to detain two individuals who disputed a bill.  At some point PG County police officers became involved and questioned the defendant regarding the firearm that was on his person.  The defendant justified his possession of said firearm by stating that he was a Deputy United States Marshal, though the officers were not so easily convinced, and arrested him for illegal possession of a regulated firearm and wear, carry or transport of a handgun.  He was originally charged in state court, but the Feds picked up the case due to the fact that he impersonated a federal law enforcement officer.

The plot thickened when the female co-defendant arrived on scene as the male was being taken into custody by Prince George’s County Police.  The female allegedly showed up in full law enforcement garb, complete with tactical pants, handcuffs, a radio, an expandable baton and a handgun.  According to court documents she claimed the dog was her emotional support animal and questioned why the police were arresting a U.S. Marshal.  Her pleas were not met by much sympathy, as the male was taken to jail and the dog was impounded by animal services.  For some reason the female was not arrested by county police officers at the scene, and a short time later she made her way to animal services, once again in full police garb.  The female showed up in a police style vehicle and a black bulletproof vest, and identified herself as a U.S. Marshal to animal services employees.  She apparently presented an identification card with U.S. Marshal’s insignia, which was convincing enough for animal services to release the dog to her custody.

Based on the evidence presented in the initial appearance, it seems federal prosecutors have ample evidence to sustain convictions for false impersonation, which is a felony with a 3-year maximum penalty.  Federal agents also executed a search warrant upon the male defendant’s home, and seized firearms including an AR style rifle and a pump action shotgun.  As a result of his prior criminal record, the male defendant faces up to 10 years in prison for felon in possession of a firearm.  The female does not appear to have been charged with any firearm related offenses, but her alleged possession of a handgun will certainly be taken into consideration at a potential sentencing hearing.  In federal court especially, the judges focus on the statement of facts in its entirety and not simply the charge or charges that are part of the plea.  Judges in Maryland do not take unlawful possession of a firearm lightly regardless of whether the defendant has a prior criminal record.  It is interesting to note that the female could not have faced firearm charges in federal court because she did not possess the gun on federal property.  Federal law only prohibits firearm possession at a federal facility or possession by convicted felons or other disqualified individuals.  Further, the police did not actually arrest the female on scene, so there would have been no way to prove the handgun she possessed was actually a firearm.

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hammer-802296__480-300x225The U.S. Attorney’s Office recently announced that a 55-year-old former MVA employee pleaded guilty to conspiracy to produce and transfer identification documents without lawful authority.  The identification documents at issue were Maryland driver’s licenses, and now the former employee from Anne Arundel County faces up to 15 years in prison for this fraud related felony.  According to facts presented at the plea hearing, the female defendant worked at the Largo MVA branch office in Prince George’s County and conspired with a co-worker and a male co-defendant to issue fraudulent Maryland licenses for a fee.  The co-defendant is a 36-year-old man from Virginia who also entered a guilty plea and is awaiting sentencing.  It appears that the co-defendant was the one who met with individuals seeking fraudulent licenses and accepted cash payments ranging from $800 to $5,000.  He then forwarded the information, including fraudulent documents to support the creation of a Maryland driver’s license, to the two MVA employees.  The defendant and her co-worker then created the fake licenses at the MVA branch and were paid in cash and gifts by the male co-defendant.  Per the plea agreement, the defendant received at least $25,000 in cash and gifts for her role in producing at least 276 fraudulent driver’s licenses.

The defendant’s MVA co-worker was not named in the press release, which means he/she has not been charged or has a sealed criminal complaint pending.  It could also mean the unnamed co-worker has been cooperating with law enforcement.  Two agencies were mentioned by the U.S. Attorney’s Office as heading up the investigation.  The first was the MVA’s Office of Investigations and Internal Affairs, which is not a traditional law enforcement agency.  Rather, the office conducts its own internal investigations about potential frauds regarding licenses, compulsory insurance, vehicle registrations, unlicensed vehicle sales and suspended or revoked driving privileges.  The internal affairs agents then forward their findings to federal, state and local law enforcement agencies for potential prosecution.  In this case the MVA’s internal affairs office forwarded its findings over to the Baltimore office of Homeland Security Investigations.  Homeland Security pays close attention to all state and federally issued ID cards, so it’s no surprise that a fraud of this magnitude was prosecuted in federal court.  Sentencing is currently set for the beginning of August at the federal courthouse in Greenbelt.  In addition to potential prison time the former state employee also must pay $25,000 in criminal restitution.  The Blog will follow this case and the co-defendant’s case and may post a follow-up article in the future.

Benjamin Herbst is a Maryland criminal defense lawyer who specializes in fraud charges such as counterfeiting, identity fraud, credit card crimes and public fraud.  He also has extensive experience representing clients in misdemeanor charges such prescription fraud and possession of fictitious government ID card (fake ID charges).  Fake ID cases are also commonly charged as misrepresentation of age to obtain alcohol, and Benjamin has successfully defended dozens of these cases.  His two main priorities are keeping his clients out of jail and making sure they do not walk out of court with a criminal record.  Benjamin has achieved numerous dismissals in fake ID cases, and then has assisted his clients in filing for immediate expungement of their cases from the public record.  In addition to fraud charges, Benjamin also represents clients charged with theft, unauthorized removal of property, failure to return a rental vehicle, misconduct in office and all other white collar crimes.  Contact Benjamin anytime at 410-207-2598 for a free consultation about your case.  Benjamin has represented clients in all 23 counties in Maryland plus Baltimore City, and has defended cases in the Baltimore and Greenbelt federal courts.

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pills_money-300x199Back in February of 2020 a 33-year-old man from Waldorf was found guilty of several drug and firearms offenses in the Greenbelt federal courthouse.  It took more than two years for the case to go to sentencing, and the wait did not turn out to be in the defendant’s favor, as he was sentenced to 40 years of incarceration.  The lengthy sentence was handed down yesterday for charges including distribution of fentanyl resulting in death, conspiracy, possession with intent to distribute controlled substances, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime and possession of firearm by a convicted felon.  The charges stemmed from incidents that occurred back in 2017, which included two drug deals that resulted in the overdose deaths.  The government was able to establish sufficient evidence to prove the charges through text messages, phone records, surveillance video and live testimony from multiple witnesses who purchased narcotics from the defendant.  A few months after the two overdose deaths law enforcement was able to secure a search warrant for the defendant’s Waldorf apartment.  The defendant was arrested on the day of the search and seizure in April of 2018, and has been held in custody without bail since that time.

Upon execution of the search warrant law enforcement recovered five firearms including a loaded .45 caliber handgun that was found in a backpack next to 121 individually packaged baggies of fentanyl.  These facts supported the jury’s guilty verdict for the charge of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, which is a commonly charged offense in Maryland state courts as well as federal courts.  The government was also able to establish that the defendant had prior felony convictions that prohibited him from possessing firearms.  Police also seized over 200 grams of heroin/fentanyl mix, 40 grams of cocaine, 12 cell phones, $22,000 in cash, digital scales, money counters and jewelry including a Rolex and diamonds.  All of these factors tended in prove that the defendant was involved in a large-scale narcotics distribution operation in Southern Maryland, but the 40-year sentence was undoubtedly due to the two overdose deaths that the jury felt were caused by the defendant.

A few months after the defendant’s trial his co-defendant from St. Mary’s County was sentenced to 12.5 years in federal prison for distribution of fentanyl.  As part of the plea the co-defendant admitted his distribution led to the overdose deaths of same two individuals, though he did not actually plead guilty to the offense of distribution resulting in death.  It is likely that the co-defendant cooperated with law enforcement in exchange for his relatively lenient sentence, though the U.S. Attorney’s Office press release did not directly say that he was called as a witness during the main defendant’s trial.

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money-943782_960_720-300x225The U.S. Attorney’s office recently announced that a 31-year-old Montgomery County man has been arrested and charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm, distribution of controlled substances and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.  A criminal complaint was filed against the defendant on March 4, 2022 and he was arrested on March 7.  The Germantown man was ordered to be held without bail at his detention hearing in the Greenbelt federal courthouse two days after his arrest.  According to the sworn affidavit in support of the criminal complaint, the defendant was identified as a suspected narcotics and firearms dealer.  In February of this year the defendant sold guns and drugs to an undercover law enforcement officer three times in Montgomery County.  The sales allegedly included more than 45 grams of crack cocaine, gel caps containing heroin and fentanyl and numerous firearms including multiple ghost guns.  The term ghost gun is used to describe any privately made firearm that does not have a serial number and cannot be individually identified or traced.  These weapons have become a point of focus for law enforcement over the last few years, and will continue to be a major issue for state and federal legislators.

In addition to the three alleged sales in February, the defendant and the undercover law enforcement officer also met a fourth time.  During this meeting the defendant allegedly sold the cop three fully assembled Glock style handguns for a total of $3,000.  The sale was observed by additional law enforcement surveillance units, and memorialized by several calls and text messages.  In addition to the four meetings, the defendant also apparently admitted to the undercover officer that he could not legally purchase a firearm due to a previous felony conviction.  The defendant faces up to 10 years in prison for felon in possession of a firearm and up to 20 years for distribution of controlled substances.  He also faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years for possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.  This federal offense is almost identical to the Maryland state law that prohibits the possession of a firearm in a drug trafficking crime.  The government is not required to prove that the firearm was actually used or brandished during the drug trafficking crime.  Rather, all that is required is for the government to prove a nexus or connection between the gun and the drugs.  Courts have consistently held that drug dealers possess firearms to protect themselves against theft and robbery, which makes it difficult for the defense to argue that the guns and drugs are not related.  A drug trafficking crime includes all felony drug charges such as possession with intent to distribute, manufacturing and distribution. Despite the use of the term trafficking, there is no requirement that the government prove the defendant was a volume dealer or drug kingpin for this law to apply.

The Blog will continue to follow this case and many other federal gun and drug prosecutions.  We may post a follow up article on this case depending on the outcome so stay tuned.  If you or a loved one has been charged or is being investigated by the ATF, FBI, DEA or any other federal or state law enforcement agency contact Benjamin Herbst anytime for a free consultation.  Benjamin is a Maryland criminal defense lawyer who specializes in drug crimes and weapons charges, and is available 7 days a week to explain what defenses may be available in your case.  He handles charges including wear transport or carry of a handgun and illegal possession of a regulated firearm, and practices in all state and federal courts in Maryland.  Benjamin can be reached at 410-207-2598 and is also licensed to practice law in the state of Florida.

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pills_money-300x199This week in the Greenbelt federal courthouse a 35-year-old man from Saint Mary’s County pleaded guilty to distribution of fentanyl and being a felon in possession of a firearm.  According to facts presented by the government at plea agreement, three individuals traveled from Calvert County to St. Mary’s County in order to purchase narcotics from the defendant on March 1, 2021.  The three individuals then returned to Calvert County, where two of them ingested the narcotics they had just purchased.  One of the drug users became unresponsive after ingesting the narcotics, and the other two administered Narcan and called 911 after also performing CPR.  First responders were unable to revive the victim, who was pronounced dead on the scene.  Police came to investigate and were unable to recover the rest of the narcotics after they were discarded in the woods by the remaining two individuals.  The medical examiner ultimately concluded the death was caused by fentanyl and alcohol intoxication.

An investigation, which likely included statements made by the two remaining individuals and cell phone data, led police to the defendant in St. Mary’s County.  A search warrant was executed on his Lexington Park address 11 days after the drug deal and subsequent deadly overdose.  Law enforcement recovered a host of contraband including 30 plus grams of a mixture containing fentanyl, heroin and acetaminophen.  They also recovered plastic baggies, cutting agents and a scale that law enforcement would have testified was evidence of drug distribution.  In addition to the drugs and paraphernalia, police also seized a Polymer 9mm “ghost gun” handgun with a 30-round extended magazine loaded with 21 rounds.  Additional magazines and ammunition were seized as well as over $7,000 in cash. The drugs were tested at the crime lab and the gun was test fired by the ATF, and both yielded positive results.  The defendant is a convicted felon after being found guilty of possession with intent to distribute narcotics back in 2020.  He was on probation for that offense and just received a violation of probation sentence of 3.5 years.

Making matters worse for all involved, the man committed these acts while on pre-trial release for another offense out of St. Mary’s County.  It looks like that offense was for accessory after the fact, which carries a punishment that depends on the primary charge but is capped at 5 years.  The exception being that accessory after the fact to first degree murder carries a 10-year maximum penalty.  The defendant was actually wearing his pre-trial release GPS ankle monitor when police showed up to execute the search warrant, which is clearly not a good look for our continued fight to have defendants released pending trial in favor of being held without bail.

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Gun-evidence-box-300x225A 37-year-old man from Baltimore City was recently sentenced to 9 years in federal prison after he pleaded guilty to gun and drug charges.  After serving his sentence, which under federal law does not have the possibility of parole, the defendant will be placed on 3 years of supervised release.  This case is another example of a crime that was originally charged in state court, but eventually picked up and prosecuted by the feds.  There does not appear to be any indication that the defendant was a large-scale dealer or that he had been under investigation by law enforcement, and there were no aggravating factors that made this violation particularly egregious.  On the other hand, the feds have consistently been delivering the message that any felon who possesses a firearm in Baltimore will be subject to federal prosecution, and thus a harsher sentence.  9 years without parole is certainly a harsh sentence for a non-violent offense, but it is hardly a surprising sentence considering the climate in Baltimore right now.

According to the plea agreement the man and several associates were standing on a city sidewalk when a vehicle containing Baltimore Police detectives drove by.  As the BPD patrol unit made a U-turn to approach the group, the defendant apparently walked away from the group in a manner that seemed to indicate he was armed. Police stated the defendant kept his “right arm stiff against his body” as he walked away, which is a common phrase that law enforcement uses when attempting to establish justification for a weapons search.  Detectives then exited their vehicle and began to walk toward the defendant, likely to conduct a pat down for weapons.  The defendant elected not to cooperate with whatever the BPD was attempting to do, and he took off running.  Police stated that the defendant threw a firearm with his right hand while he was running away, and they eventually apprehended him in the area.  Upon placing him under arrest police discovered 42 capsules of heroin, 33 capsules of fentanyl, 29 vials of cocaine and several baggies of marijuana.  They also eventually found the handgun along with an extended magazine that was discarded during the chase.

This case presents an interesting issue regarding the legality of so-called proactive police patrolling in urban areas.  Clearly the officers were not specifically looking for the defendant, and there is no indication they received a tip that the individuals on the sidewalk were armed.  Rather, the police were acting on their own suspicions when they made the decision to approach the defendant.  Had the defendant remained where he was or simply walked away from law enforcement, there may have been an argument that any detention was illegal.  An illegal detention would have triggered a potential motion to suppress the gun and the CDS found on the defendant, but the fact that he fled effectively ended any realistic constitutional challenges to the police conduct.  The law is very clear that a person is not seized by law enforcement if he or she takes off running upon their approach.  Additionally, a person does not have any constitutional standing to challenge the seizure of items that are thrown away or abandoned by a suspect.  Running from police is not illegal by itself, but as soon as this defendant was observed throwing a gun and a magazine there was probable cause to arrest him.  Only then could police lawfully detain the man and search him incident to arrest.  This case played out like many have in the past, and unfortunately there was not much the defense could do but argue for a lower sentence.

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baltimore-217620__480-300x199The Baltimore City State’s Attorney was indicted last week by a federal grand jury on two counts of mortgage fraud and two counts of perjury, and will now be forced to see the criminal justice system from the opposite side for the time being.  The indictment comes just a few months before the primary election, which in Baltimore City decides who will sit as acting State’s Attorney for the next four years.  The City’s top prosecutor has shown no signs of stepping down and through her attorney has vigorously denied the allegations.  Anyone looking for a quick resolution to this matter may be in luck, as the defense is attempting to move the case along as quickly as possible.  Numerous Baltimore City public officials have been prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office over the past decade, including two mayors, dozens of police and correctional officers and other local politicians.  This particular case was investigated by the FBI and the criminal investigations unit of the IRS, and while the allegations certainly seem serious, a conviction for any criminal activity is far from a foregone conclusion.

The city prosecutor has been under investigation since at least spring of 2021, though the details released back in March only informed the public that a federal grand jury subpoenaed her campaign and bank records.  It is unclear at this point whether this indictment ended that investigation, or whether the feds are waiting to present additional charges to a grand jury.  The indictment accuses the prosecutor of perjury by lying on an application and unlawfully withdrawing funds from a Deferred Compensation Plan designed to help those who had experienced financial hardship due to the impact of COVID-19.  Federal prosecutors pointed out that the prosecutor did not experience financial hardship, and that her salary as State’s Attorney actually increased during the pandemic.  The prosecutor’s lawyers responded to these claims stating that she sustained financial losses to businesses unrelated to her public position.  In other words, her salary increased, but she suffered enough losses in her other business ventures to justify applying for the pandemic aid.

The mortgage fraud charges are slightly more complicated, and are related to two homes the prosecutor and her husband purchased in Florida.  The feds are arguing that when applying for mortgages she failed to disclose a lien that was placed on a property belonging to her husband as a result of $45k in overdue taxes.  There is another allegation that the prosecutor made a false assertion on a mortgage application.  The government is alleging she failed to disclose an agreement with a vacation home management company in order to secure a lower rate.  Defense lawyers for the prosecutor have asserted the prosecutor did not knowingly omit the tax lien, and that the notices sent by the IRS were not received.

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Heroin2-300x180A 28-year-old man from Baltimore recently pleaded guilty in federal court to possession with intent to distribute controlled substances, possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.  Taken by itself, those facts are hardly an anomaly these days, as the feds have shown a proclivity to prosecute street level drug dealers (especially when heroin and fentanyl are involved).  However, the facts surrounding the investigation and eventual arrest are noteworthy.  Law enforcement first were alerted to the defendant’s criminal involvement as a result of a fatal heroin overdose that occurred in Harford County in 2017.  As is the case with many fatal drug overdoses, law enforcement’s first lead came from the cell phone of the deceased.  Police were able to see that the deceased had arranged to meet a person with an alias linked to the defendant in order to effectuate a drug transaction.  The deal in question took place in a grocery store bathroom in Baltimore City, which is a common practice to assure there is no video surveillance.

Law enforcement then began tracking the defendant’s movements, and observed him making an alleged drug transaction in a gas station bathroom.  The surveillance led to a search warrant, which was ultimately conducted on the defendant’s home and vehicle about one month after the fatal overdose.  Police were also able to obtain permission from a judge to install a GPS tracking device on the defendant’s vehicle, another common law enforcement tactic.  During execution of the warrant law enforcement recovered a firearm, $12k in cash, 82 grams of cocaine, 55 grams of heroin and 7 grams of fentanyl.  Officers also seized a cell phone with the same number that the deceased was texting prior to the overdose.  It wasn’t until two years later that a federal grand jury actually indicted the defendant, and now two years after that the case is finally on its way to a resolution.  The defendant and the government have agreed to a sentence between 8 and 12 years, and the defendant will learn his fate in March of 2022.  Multiple law enforcement agencies were involved in this investigation, including the DEA, Harford County Sheriff’s Office, Anne Arundel County Police, Baltimore County Police and the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office.  The defendant has a host of prior offenses and is on probation in Baltimore City for a gun charge.  The Blog will follow this case and potentially post again after the defendant is sentenced.

The defendant will receive a stiff federal sentence that is not parole eligible, and could possibly face additional state time for his violation of probation, but he avoided potential prosecution for involuntary manslaughter under Maryland criminal law §2.207.  Prosecutors in jurisdictions throughout the state have been filing manslaughter charges against defendants alleged to have sold CDS (typically heroin fentanyl mix) to the victim of a fatal overdose.  While the manslaughter charge carries a lower maximum penalty than the actual distribution (20 vs. 10 years), it can increase the overall sentencing guidelines, and drastically influence the State’s offer and the judge’s sentence.  If you or a loved one has been charged with any type of drug offense including possession with intent to distribute, firearm possession in a drug trafficking crime or manslaughter, call Maryland criminal defense lawyer Benjamin Herbst anytime for a free consultation.  Benjamin specializes in drug offenses and gun crimes, and is available 7 days a week at 410-207-2598.  He has extensive experience in all Maryland jurisdictions, and is a skilled federal drug offense lawyer for cases being prosecuted in the Baltimore or Greenbelt federal courts.

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firearm-409000__480-200x300A 27-year-old man from Baltimore was recently sentenced to 14 years in federal prison for committing at least 35 commercial robberies throughout Maryland.  According to the plea agreement, between December 2018 and November 2019 the defendant robbed pharmacies, fast-food restaurants, cell phone stores and even a gym during a crime spree that eventually ended with him behind bars.  The defendant originally pled guilty on October 1 to affecting commerce by robbery, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, and brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a violent crime, which has a 7-year maximum penalty.  The robberies took place in Baltimore County and Baltimore City, and were investigated by local police departments as well as the FBI.  The case was likely picked up by the feds due to the extent of the crime spree as well as the presence of a firearm.

Many of the offenses were committed in the same fashion, with the defendant approaching a cash register with a note demanding money and stating that the defendant had a gun.  Fortunately, there were never any shots fired in the robberies, and nobody was injured.  The defendant apparently only brandished his firearm once, though he partially revealed the firearm as many as five times.  In at least one instance the defendant ordered employees to open the business safe, but in many other instances the defendant only made out with a couple hundred dollars.  He stole as much as $1,900 in one robbery, but that appears to be his most lucrative (temporarily) criminal act.

The defendant will likely serve at least 10-12 years behind bars before being considered for release to a halfway house or other type of early release.  There is no parole in the federal criminal justice system, which means this sentence is roughly equivalent to a 20-year state prison sentence.  Anyone sentence to a crime of violence such as robbery must serve at least half of their total active incarceration before being considered for parole, and even then, parole is never a foregone conclusion.  Obviously, the defendant could have faced exponentially more time if had been charged for each of the robberies in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City and Baltimore County.  Combining all the cases in one federal indictment was clearly a more logical option for the government and for the defendant.  The defendant will likely be finished with his sentence before he reaches age 40, and the dozens of victims can have some sort of closure now that the case against the defendant is resolved.  It appears the defendant had a minor history of theft related charges in state court already, so having 35 robberies combined into one global sentence may have been a break for him.

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