Kenneth Faison couldn't stay away from drugs. After he was arrested and jailed for selling them on Baltimore's streets, he had them delivered to him at the Baltimore courthouse so he could sneak the contraband into the City Jail.
That attempt cost him dearly.
Yesterday, Faison, 27, was sentenced in Baltimore Circuit Court to 40 years in prison -- the first 10 years without parole -- for drug charges involving his attempt to carry 86 bags of cocaine, three bags of heroin and a half-ounce of marijuana into the Baltimore City Jail.
The sentence is consecutive to three years Faison already is serving on an unrelated drug charge.
"He was awaiting sentencing on that case when he received drugs right here in this courthouse," said Assistant State's Attorney Jamey Hochberg. "It was outrageous. It showed a wanton and blatant disregard for the judicial system."
It happened March 23. Faison, who was already in the City Jail awaiting sentencing in the other drug case, was brought to the courthouse for a paternity hearing.
According to Ms. Hochberg, Faison's girlfriend, Darlene Crowmwell, is the mother of Faison's 1-year-old son. During a break in the hearing, Cromwell passed Faison a brown paper bag containing the drugs. A jail officer saw the bag, opened it and found the drugs.
Cromwell, a 36-year-old mother of four, was arrested and charged along with Faison. Yesterday, she was sentenced to 10 years in prison for her role in the scheme.
"She continued to deny her involvement," said Ms. Hochberg. "All she said is that she clearly would not be back again because she has four children."
Had Faison succeeded in continuing his drug-dealing career, he could have turned a tidy profit with the drugs Cromwell brought him. On the street, the drugs were worth perhaps $1,000, but behind bars, where they are treasured, their value doubles or triples, said Ms. Hochberg.
"Drugs are in the jail, and it's a known fact," she said. "This case only corroborates that."