Crime, Police/Fire

Baltimore County, Harford County men sentenced to prison for their roles in drug trafficking ring

BALTIMORE, MD—A man from Baltimore County and a man from Harford County have been sentenced to prison for their roles in a drug trafficking ring.

U.S. District Judge Julie R. Rubin on Wednesday sentenced Jermaine Steward, 33, of Gwynn Oak, to nine years in federal prison, followed by four years of supervised release, after Steward pleaded guilty to federal charges for possession with intent to distribute more than 400 grams of fentanyl and for being a felon in possession of a firearm. Steward is the last defendant of the drug trafficking organization (“DTO”) to plead guilty.

Co-defendant Jamar Middleton, 35, of Edgewood, pleaded guilty on April 13, 2023, and was sentenced to 138 months in federal prison, followed by four years of supervised release, on the same charges.

The guilty pleas and sentences were announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron; Special Agent in Charge Jarod Forget of the Drug Enforcement Administration – Washington Field Division; Anne Arundel County Police Chief Amal E. Awad; Chief Robert McCullough of the Baltimore County Police Department; Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney Anne Colt Leitess; and Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger.

“Our comprehensive approach to preventing violence includes today’s Reentry and Resource Fair to provide resources to returning citizens to keep them from reoffending, as well as our efforts to remove guns and repeat offenders from the streets by any legal means necessary. And we are having success,” said United States Attorney Erek L. Barron. “As of today, homicides in Baltimore are down more than 18% from last year and non-fatal shootings are down more than 15%. We remain laser-focused on reducing violent crime.”

According to his guilty plea, the DEA investigated the Burton DTO operating in Baltimore. On December 15, 2021, law enforcement searched a stash house used by DTO leader Edward Burton, Steward, Middleton, and co-conspirator Jerrell Simms, and recovered approximately 431.25 grams of mixtures or substances containing fentanyl, including a bag of 6,450 gelatin capsules containing approximately 231.67 grams of fentanyl and another bag containing 644 gelatin capsules containing 113 grams of fentanyl, as well as narcotics packaging materials and other drug paraphernalia. The search of the stash house also recovered seven firearms and ammunition, including three 9mm handguns; an AR-15 style rifle; a .45-caliber handgun; a 7.62 x 39mm caliber pistol; a .40-caliber rifle; .45-caliber magazines; and 7.62 x 39mm and 9mm ammunition. Law enforcement also recovered $4,376 in cash and jewelry valued at $13,550, which constituted proceeds of drug trafficking. Additional firearms, cash and jewelry were recovered from other search locations associated with the defendants.

Edward Burton, 38, of Jessup, pleaded guilty on October 12, 2022, and was sentenced to 13 years in federal prison. Jerrell Simms, 37, of Baltimore, previously pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute fentanyl and was sentenced to 97 months in federal prison.

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