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Articles Posted in Federal Crimes

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fire-1030751_1280-300x199Earlier this week a 19-year-old from the state of Mississippi pled guilty to a federal arson charge stemming from a fire at a home located within Fort Meade.  According to facts presented at the plea the young man poured lighter fluid in various areas of his father and stepmother’s home, including the front door, welcome mat, stairs and the door to his parent’s bedroom.  The defendant apparently lit the fire inside the home and then suffered a leg injury jumping off the rear porch.  Luckily the fire was extinguished without any other injures, and minimal property damage, but the situation obviously could have gone much worse.  After being cleared by paramedics, the defendant was interviewed by the Fort Meade Military Police Department.  He subsequently admitted to spreading accelerant and lighting the fire.  Multiple fire departments and law enforcement agencies were involved in this incident including the FBI, ATF, Howard County State Fire Marshal’s Office and the Anne Arundel County Fire Department.  The case is being prosecuted by the Baltimore office of the United States Attorney, as the arson occurred on federal property.

The defendant is this particular case was found guilty of an extremely serious crime, and faces up to life in prison for his actions.  Arson within a special maritime and territorial jurisdiction under 18 U.S. Code §81 is a felony typically punishable by up to 25 years, but if the fire was started in a dwelling or if any person’s life was placed in jeopardy the maximum penalty becomes life in jail.  In this case the government was able to establish both that the fire was started in a dwelling, and that the victims were placed in jeopardy.  The defendant will certainly not be sentenced to life in prison, and likely much less than 25 years when he is sentenced in few months.  There are probably some underlying issues that must be explored in this type of case, and hopefully the government will take that into consideration when making a sentencing recommendation.

Arson by itself is not the type of crime that is typically prosecuted in federal court, unless the act occurs within a special maritime and territorial jurisdiction.  This includes all United States military bases and federal installations such as Fort Meade, Joint Base Andrews and Aberdeen Proving Ground.  Other charges such as destruction of property government property are also typically prosecuted along with arson pursuant to the malicious mischief section of the U.S. Code.  Had there been property damage the defendant would likely have been charged with destruction of federal property as well.  This offense is a felony punishable by up to 10 years as long as the value of the damage exceeds $1,000.  If the damage is less than $1,000 the offense would be considered a petty offense, and punishable by up to 1 year in jail.

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pistol-1350484_1280-300x200A 20-year-old Washington D.C. man was recently sentenced to five years in federal prison after he pled guilty to theft of firearms from a federal firearms licensee’s facility.  This offense is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.  The incident occurred back in August of 2019 at a Baltimore County gun store in the Essex area.  According to the plea agreement the defendant and a co-conspirator drove up to the gun store in a stolen vehicle, and repeatedly attempted to ram the front door of the shop with the stolen car.  The defendant then broke one of the store’s windows, entered and then proceeded to throw stolen firearms to the co-conspirator waiting outside.  The two fled the scene and were not apprehended immediately.  Shortly after the burglary the defendant posted on social media about the heist, and was not shy about showing off the stolen guns, gloves and mask he wore.  Law enforcement officers were able to match the social medial video with the store surveillance video, and were aided by distinctive tattoos on the defendant’s forearm.  The social medial videos also showed strings tied around the triggers of the weapons, which the store had used for identification.

As if the police needed more evidence of the defendant’s guilt, it turns out that he was also on GPS monitoring for a Prince George’s County case when he carried out the burglary.  The defendant was charged with armed robbery in 2018 and eventually pled guilty to conspiracy to commit robbery ( a misdemeanor common law offense in Maryland).  He was likely being supervised by parole and probation at the time, as he just pled guilty in May of 2019.  There is currently an active warrant out of the Prince George’s County Circuit Court for a violation of probation, though it is unclear how many years the defendant is backing up.

This case is another example of the feds picking up what would normally be a state case.  Much like bank robbery cases, the feds will typically get involved when gun shops are burglarized, as all arms dealers must be licensed by the federal government and the ATF in particular.  In this case, the defendant was also charged with second-degree burglary, felony theft and malicious destruction of property in the Baltimore County District Court.  An arrest warrant was issued back in 2019 and it appears the warrant remains unserved.  If Baltimore County chooses to prosecute the defendant will be transported to Towson upon completion of his federal sentence.  This of course is assuming that he is not taken to Prince George’s County first.  It will be interesting to see if Baltimore County chooses to prosecute a defendant that has been sentenced for the same act in federal court, and then punished for violating his probation due to that act in another county.  The Blog will follow and may post an article in the future.  In the meantime, stay tuned for any new posts regarding gun and drug charges that are filed in federal court.

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jaguar-1366978_960_720-300x169Maryland’s top federal prosecutor recently announced the formation of a regional law enforcement task force specifically aimed at arresting and prosecuting carjacking suspects.  The formation of this task force comes at a time when carjacking cases have spiked dramatically in Montgomery County, Prince George’s County and Washington D.C.  According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office the number of carjackings in the region more than doubled from 2019 to 2020, and 2021 is on pace to meet or exceed those numbers.  Montgomery County recorded 17 carjackings in December of 2020 alone, and D.C. has recorded 129 cases since the start of 2021.  Prince George’s County has also seen a spike in carjackings over the last few years, and has seen juveniles as young as 13 participate in the offenses.  Baltimore City was not mentioned in the press release and may not be part of this particular task force, though the feds have already been highly involved with the investigation and prosecution of gun crimes in the city.  Carjackings are actually down in Baltimore, though the rate of violent crime is far from satisfactory.

The stated goal of the task force is to ensure prosecution of suspects who engage in carjacking and robbery in multiple jurisdictions.  In a press release the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office described challenges to holding multijurisdictional offenders fully accountable for their actions.  It is unclear exactly what type of challenges the office is referring to, but it could relate to establishing the requisite proof that a firearm was used in the crime.  Carjacking and robbery suspects who are charged days or weeks after the incident are rarely arrested with a firearm in their possession, which leaves law enforcement and prosecutors with the challenge of placing a gun in the hands of the suspect at the time of the crime.  While armed robbery and carjacking are serious offenses, they often do not trigger the same minimum mandatory prison sentences as firearm crimes.  In Maryland the use of a firearm in a crime of violence such as robbery or carjacking brings a minimum 5-year sentence without parole and a maximum 20-years that can run consecutive to any other sentence imposed.  A defendant indicted under federal law may face a minimum 7-year sentence and a maximum life sentence for using, carrying and brandishing a firearm in a crime.

While the idea of state and federal multi-jurisdictional carjacking suppression team sounds like a novel idea, in practice the most important component likely comes down to information sharing and simple communication.  Unlike drug conspiracies that require organization and multiple actors working together along the supply and distribution chain, robbery and carjacking are generally unorganized and unsophisticated crimes.  They are often carried out by juveniles or young adults with no real criminal plan.  This is not to say the crimes are not serious, but rather to make the point that the incidents in different jurisdictions are rarely connected in any manner.  Information sharing may not help bring down a ring of carjackers, but it could help with the prosecution of suspects for more serious offenses than what they normally would face.  This could mean more federal prosecutions for robbery and carjacking defendants, with stiffer penalties and no parole.  Three defendants have already been indicted for carjacking in federal court, with one facing trial in Greenbelt and the other two in D.C.

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fire-1030751_1280-300x199It has been almost four years since a popular neighborhood bar in Pasadena burned down and was permanently shuttered, and now an end to the criminal case that followed is in sight.  A 36-year-old man from the same Anne Arundel County neighborhood as the bar recently pled guilty to a federal arson charge after being indicted back in September of 2019.  He now faces a minimum of 5 years in prison and a maximum of 20 years for his actions, and will learn his fate in July when the case is set for sentencing at the Baltimore federal courthouse.

Law enforcement officers likely made the initial determination that the fire was incendiary or set deliberately while the wood building was still smoking, though the bizarre details surrounding the fire unfolded in the weeks that followed.  Investigators from the ATF and the Anne Arundel County Fire and Explosives Investigation Unit confirmed their suspicions about an intentional fire by locating charred remains of homemade explosive devices and traces of gasoline, which is a common accelerant in arson cases.  Law enforcement officers were also able to view surveillance footage that captured several flashes of light preceding areas of the building catching fire that were likely the incendiary devices making contact with the building.  A police K9 unit was also able to locate the presence of gasoline on the other side of a fence that surrounded the bar, which was determined to be the area where the makeshift explosive devices or Molotov cocktails were ignited and thrown.  Finally, law enforcement recovered a glove that contained both traces of an accelerant and the defendant’s DNA.

The case against the defendant quickly became open and shut, but the motivation for his actions is what made this case bizarre.  According to the plea agreement and Maryland public case search records, the defendant was charged with a domestic second-degree assault and a petty theft for an incident that occurred outside of the bar about a week before the fire.  This assault was captured on the bar’s surveillance cameras, which the defendant attempted to destroy by setting fire to the whole building.  The irony in this situation is twofold, as a police officer actually witnessed the assault, thus making the surveillance cameras a bonus rather than an essential part of the assault case.  In addition, the surveillance system not only survived the fire, but recorded the defendant’s actions on the night of the fire.  The defendant ended up pleading guilty to the assault in the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County in Annapolis, and was given a 3-year suspended sentence.

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money-1428594__480-300x200This week at the Greenbelt Federal Courthouse a 32-year-old man from Prince George’s County pleaded guilty to manufacturing and passing counterfeit currency.  Sentencing is currently set for early June, and the defendant faces up to 5 years in prison for conspiracy to pass counterfeit currency and up to 20 years in prison for manufacturing counterfeit currency.  As part of the plea agreement the PG County man from Capital Heights admitted to conspiring with two other individuals to print and use fake $100 and $20 bills.  The printing took place at the defendant’s home, and then he would either sell the fake money at a discount or buy merchandise with it at local retailers.  At some point law enforcement officers caught wind of the conspiracy and applied for a search warrant, which was executed in March of 2018.  Agents recovered cell phones, three counterfeit $100 bills, linen copy paper, a printer, a .38 caliber revolver and shell casing, and a scale and baggies.  The U.S. Secret Service took over the investigation and determined that the ink contained in the seized printer’s ink cartridge was indistinguishable from numerous counterfeit bills that were later recovered.

The defendant and his co-conspirators were not arrested by federal agents after the search warrant was executed, and unbeknownst to them the investigation continued.  Federal law enforcement agencies are known for their patience in gathering as much evidence as possible before charges are formally filed, and this case is a perfect example.  In the summer and fall of 2019 federal law enforcement continued to monitor the suspects and documented numerous transactions where counterfeit currency was used.  In July of 2019 law enforcement conducted a traffic stop on the defendant’s vehicle and found 18 counterfeit $100 bills after a brief chase where the defendant attempted to run away.  A few months later in October of 2019 the defendant’s vehicle was again stopped, and again he attempted to flee.  During his brief flight the defendant discarded counterfeit currency in a trashcan, which was recovered by law enforcement.  Police also recovered uncut sheets of counterfeit $20 bills.  All told the defendant admitted to passing between $95,000 and $150,000 in counterfeit bills.  The defendant agreed to pay at least $95,000 in restitution joint and severally with the other co-conspirators.  It is reasonable to question whether the victims would have been defrauded out of this much money if the suspects had been prosecuted in 2018, rather than more than a year later.

It does not seem like the defendant has a lengthy criminal history, which should help his cause at sentencing.  On the other hand, the government will certainly emphasize the fact that the defendant continued to engage in criminal activity despite the execution of multiple searches and seizures upon his home, car and person.  The defendant also ran from police twice, and showed no signs of abandoning the criminal conspiracy on his own.  The defendant was even charged with felony theft and possessing forged currency in Maryland state court in the District Court for Montgomery County in Rockville, but these charges were dismissed likely in anticipation of a federal indictment.  The defendant had ample opportunity to see that law enforcement was on to him.

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handcuffs-354042_640-300x225Authorities have arrested a 28-year old Maryland man for his involvement in the storming of the U.S. Capitol that occurred on January 6 in Washington, and the incriminating evidence came from an obvious yet unlikely source.  Federal and local law enforcement have been combing through any available evidence in order to locate potential suspects, which typically includes comparing surveillance video with anonymous tips and social media posts.  This particular defendant was caught in a rather unusual and ironic way, as his own GPS ankle monitor ended up being the smoking gun evidence of his presence.  The suspect was on probation for a 4th degree burglary charge out of Baltimore County, and had recently violated his probation in November.  According to court records the defendant was sentenced to 45 days in jail, but all the time was suspended in lieu of 18 months of supervised probation, which apparently included a term of home detention to be monitored by GPS.  On January 6 the man, who currently lives in Silver Spring, Montgomery County, requested permission to travel to Washington D.C.  He was granted this permission, but certainly not for the purpose of storming the Capitol building.

According to news reports and public court records the defendant’s probation officer alerted the FBI that the defendant admitted to being inside the U.S. Capitiol on January 6 but later recanted.  Nonetheless, the FBI opened an investigation as to the man’s involvement with the incident at the Capitol that was corroborated by a cooperating witness.  The FBI compared the information from the Maryland Department of Parole and Probation with the tip from the cooperating witness and determined that the man’s movements while in Washington were consistent with involvement in the storming of the Capitol.  The FBI agent then applied for a criminal charges on January 15 for one count of unlawful activities on Capitol grounds/ disorderly conduct and one count of unlawful activities on Capitol grounds/ assemblages and display of flags.  These charges are codifed under 40 U.S.C. § 5104, and have a maximum penalty of 6 months in jail, which means they are misdemeanors.  It is not clear whether the man has been arrested on these charges yet, but in addition to the federal charges he will likely face another violation of probation and possible arrest.  The defendant appears to have only one prior criminal conviction, which was a felony theft case from Frederick County.

This case presents a multitude of interesting legal issues, and the Blog will continue to follow it to see how the government attempts to prove that his conduct was disorderly and what type of acts he committed on the Capitol Grounds.  The GPS apparently showed that he was in a restricted area, so the government may argue this is enough to sustain a conviction.  The case is also an important reminder that GPS ankle monitors and other tracking devices are incredibly accurate and detailed logs are kept for all individuals who are being monitored.  Home detention/ house arrest with GPS monitoring is obviously a better alternative to incarceration, but it is by no means easy sledding.  Private GPS monitoring companies are expensive, and sometimes stricter that state sponsored alternatives.  Benjamin Herbst has extensive experience securing the release of individuals on GPS monitoring, but knows the drawbacks and the potential downfalls.  If you know someone who is currently incarcerated Benjamin may be able to secure their release by filing a bail review motion or habeas corpus motion.  Benjamin is an experienced Maryland Criminal defense lawyer who handles state and federal cases in all counties including Montgomery County and Baltimore County.  He is also licensed to practice in Florida and specializes in burglary, disorderly conduct, disorderly intoxicationtheftjuvenile crimes and probation violations. Call Benjamin anytime for a free consultation at 410-207-2598 or 954-543-0305 in Florida.

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packs-163497_1280-300x200This week in the Greenbelt federal courthouse a Baltimore man was sentenced to 151 months in prison followed by 3 years of supervised release for robbing a Hunt Valley bank.  The robbery occurred back in December of 2019 in northern Baltimore County, close to where the man reportedly worked.  The bank is located on York Road in Hunt Valley, an area with a relatively low crime rate.  According to facts presented at the plea, the man walked into the bank and handed the teller a note that demanded all the loose 100’s, 50’s and 20’s in the teller’s drawer.  The note also announced that a robbery was taking place, and that the man had a gun and would begin shooting if the teller did not meet his demands.  The teller complied with the demands and handed over $700 in U.S. currency to the suspect.  The 58-year old robber then fled the bank on foot without incident.  The robbery was captured on interior surveillance footage, which showed a clear image of the man’s face.  After the robbery the bank contacted law enforcement and circulated an internal alert to its employees with a picture of the suspect.

Five days after the robbery the suspect entered a different branch of the same bank that he robbed in order to make a deposit.  Apparently, the man held an account with the bank.  An employee recognized the man from the image in the internal alert and called law enforcement.  The man was arrested wearing the same clothes he had worn during the robbery just 5 days earlier, so it was not a stretch to say the government had a solid case.  It turns out that the defendant was also on supervised release for a prior bank robbery, which undoubtedly factored in to the overall sentence of 12.5 years in prison.  The defendant will likely serve about 10 years, but could be released sooner to a halfway house depending on the evolution of criminal justice reform over the next decade.

This case could have been prosecuted in the Circuit Court for Baltimore County by the State’s Attorney’s Office, but the fact that the defendant already had a federal bank robbery conviction made it an easy decision for the case to go federal.  Remember that federal prosecutors have jurisdiction to prosecute just about any bank robbery that occurs in the United States due to associations with the U.S. Treasury and FDIC insurance policies.  There is no information to say whether the man actually possessed a gun as outlined in his note, but it is reasonable to conclude he did not.  The man seemed to be an experienced (albeit unsuccessful bank robber) based on the fact that he asked for loose bills and knew that any actual display of force was unnecessary.  Loose bills are less likely to be fitted with tracking devices or dye packs, than stacks of cash.  Any stack of bills given to a robber by a teller would likely contain a discreet tracking device that is activated immediately upon movement outside the bank.

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firearm-409000__480-200x300The United State Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland recently announced that a Baltimore man pleaded guilty to one count of discharging a firearm in relation to a drug trafficking crime.  The incident occurred in northwest Baltimore City in the area of Park Heights Avenue and Cold Spring Lane, where according to facts recited in the plea, the defendant and codefendant regularly sold marijuana.  Specifically, the defendant admitted to selling marijuana in the area for several months from the end of 2018 to early 2019 when the incident occurred.  On February 22, 2019 the defendant admitted that he was selling marijuana while armed with a handgun.  The defendant then observed a suspicious vehicle that appeared to be watching him and his co-conspirators.  The suspicious vehicle parked close by and the defendant called the driver over to speak with him.  The defendant then observed that the driver was armed and a struggle to disarm the man ensued.  The driver broke free and began to run away, along with two other occupants of the vehicle.  The three men were chased by the defendant and his co-conspirator, and multiple shots were fired in their direction.  One of the vehicle occupants was shot multiple times and died from his injuries.

The defendant was originally charged with first-degree murder, second-degree murder, first and second-degree assault, firearm use in a crime of violence and handgun possession in the District Court of Maryland on Wabash Avenue.  The only charges that made it to the Circuit Court were first-degree murder, firearm use in a crime of violence, firearm possession by a convicted felon, and handgun on person.  The case was nolle prossed. in August of 2019 and then filed in Federal Court.  The federal government and the defendant have agreed to a plea that includes a jail sentence of 20 to 25 years in prison.  Under 18 U.S.C  § 924 discharging a firearm in a crime of violence or drug trafficking crime carries a 10-year mandatory penalty.  If the judge accepts the guilty plea at the March sentencing hearing plea the sentence will be within the range of 20-25 years, and likely followed by supervised release.  This case is another example of the federal government agreeing to prosecute a case that would otherwise be handled in state court.  As we have stated over the last several years, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Maryland is eager to prosecute gun cases in Baltimore City that involve convicted felons, drug trafficking and crimes of violence.

It appears that the defense worked out a favorable plea deal, although 20-25 in federal prison is certainly a heavy sentence.  The defendant avoided a murder conviction and a potential life sentence, which even in state court would likely end up being more than 20-25 years.  Unlike the federal system that did away with parole, Maryland still paroles almost all of its prison inmates at some point.  Parole for a life sentence though is still not a foregone conclusion.  The Blog will continue to follow this case and other state cases that are picked up and prosecuted by the feds.  As long as the gun violence in Baltimore City remains at critical levels the feds will continue to intervene with prosecutions.  Benjamin Herbst is a Maryland criminal defense attorney who specializes in gun crimes and federal weapons crimes such as handgun possession by a convicted felon, use of a firearm in a crime of violence or drug trafficking crime, improper exhibition of a firearm, assault, carrying a concealed firearm, murder and attempted murder.  He is also licensed to practice criminal defense in Florida, where he has won numerous jury trials for the most serious of gun offenses.  Contact Benjamin anytime for a free consultation at 410-207-2598 or 954-543-0305 in Florida.

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dollar-1362244_1280-1-300x200This week at the Greenbelt federal courthouse, a Prince George’s County man was sentenced 4 years in prison for a bank robbery that occurred back in 2019.  According to the guilty plea the defendant entered a bank in Oxon Hill, Maryland during normal business hours and demanded his money.  When the bank teller told the defendant that he would need to provide his identification and debit card in order to withdraw money, the man apparently became upset.  He then demanded money again from the teller, but this time he explained he was committing a robbery and that he would shoot everyone in the bank.  The bank teller was obviously shaken, but followed her training and complied with the man’s request.  She handed over $202 in cash and the man fled the scene.  Unbeknownst to the defendant, the stack of cash contained a GPS tracking device that was likely activated automatically upon being removed from the drawer.

Law enforcement followed the GPS signal and located the defendant a short time later at a fast food restaurant in the same shopping center as the bank.  The defendant was arrested and police recovered the $202 in cash on his person.  Police also reviewed surveillance footage from inside the restaurant that showed the man discarding an object in a trash can.  This object turned out to be the GPS tracking device, which police recovered and entered into evidence.  The robbery did not occur on federal property, and the Prince George’s County Police was likely the agency that apprehended the defendant, but nonetheless he was charged under the federal bank robbery statute.  18 U.S. Code §2113 was established to give the federal government jurisdiction to prosecute robbery from any bank, credit union or savings and loan association in the United States that operates under U.S. law, is a member of the Federal Reserve or is insured by the FDIC.  This basically includes any bank, whether foreign or domestic, that operates in the U.S.  The federal bank robbery statute also covers theft of anything over $1,000, and burglary or other felony committed against the bank.  Bank robbery is a felony with a 20-year maximum penalty, which becomes 25 years if the defendant commits an assault or uses a dangerous weapon or device.  Theft of more than $1,000 in currency or other items from a bank carries a 10-year maximum penalty.

Typically, when we think of bank robbery we think of a masked person pointing a gun at the teller, but a large number of bank robberies are committed without weapons.  Simply relaying a verbal threat to a teller or even passing a threatening note with a demand for money is enough of a show of force to trigger robbery charges.  This is the same under both federal law and the laws of Maryland.  The government is never required to prove the defendant was able to carry out any of the threats in a robbery case.  All that is required is for the defendant to place a victim in fear of his or her safety.  If a weapon is brandished or used the defendant will face a significantly higher punishment under the sentencing guidelines, and if a firearm is present mandatory minimum sentences will be in play under federal law and Maryland state law.

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gelcap-300x169A 41-year old Baltimore man recently pled guilty to participating in a drug distribution conspiracy, and he now faces more than a decade in federal prison for his actions.  Based on a recent press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office the defendant is looking at 12.5 years after the government and the defense agreed that a 150-month sentence would be appropriate.  The presiding judge in the Baltimore City federal courthouse will have final say over the sentence, but typically when both sides are in agreement the judge will go along as well.  It is unclear whether the parties entered into a binding agreement under Rule 11(c), but either way the judge would maintain discretion to approve or reject the plea based upon a final calculation of the sentencing guidelines and a review of the presentence report.

According to facts laid out in the plea agreement the defendant participated in a drug trafficking organization or DTO from at least September of 2018 until June of 2019 in Baltimore City.  The defendant also admitted to maintaining a stash house in Baltimore where heroin and crack cocaine were processed and stored.  Law enforcement agencies including the ATF, FBI and the Baltimore Police all participated in the investigation, which ultimately yielded a search warrant for the stash house.  The Anne Arundel County Police also participated to some degree in the case due to the cross proximity of the stash house to Anne Arundel County. Police seized over 200 grams of crack cocaine from the house, but it does not appear that any money or firearms were seized.  It is also not clear whether there were other individuals that were charged along with this defendant, but there had to have been other suspects in order for the government to establish sufficient evidence of a conspiracy.  Conspiracy charges are common in federal court, as it is often easier for the government to prove that a defendant planned and prepared to commit an illegal act as opposed to catching him or her in the act.  Under Maryland state law conspiracy is not a separate enumerated crime, but rather a common law misdemeanor that may be charged in almost any criminal case.

It certainly appears that an agreed upon sentence of 12.5 years for a non-violent drug offense involving far less than 1 kilogram of cocaine and no firearms or weapons would be excessive.  The agreement is a little easier to comprehend when factoring in the defendant’s prior record though.  According to Maryland casesearch, the defendant was convicted of first-degree murder back in 1999 and then narcotics distribution and possession of a firearm in a drug trafficking crime in 2011.  He received 12 years in each of these cases.  The first-degree murder case was resolved by a plea agreement to 12 years in prison, though he also received 12 years for handgun use in a crime in the same case.  These counts could have been run consecutive for a total of 24 years though it is not completely clear.  Either way the defendant has spent most of his adult life in prison, and now will spend another decade behind bars.  Regardless of his prior record, a 12 plus year sentence for mid-level drug trafficking seems unjust, and we can only hope that lawmakers continue to engage in criminal justice reform that reduces a defendant’s exposure in non-violent cases.

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