For months after setting up shop in Baltimore, New Yorker Billy Guy would travel here either by the Trump Shuttle airliner or a rented limousine. He stayed at the Inner Harbor's finest hotels and collected as much as $30,000 a week in drug profits.
Between Guy's visits, lieutenants in his Baltimore drug operation wired him cash. Eastern District vice officers traced $125,000 in money transfers, which Guy used to buy diamonds for his many girlfriends.
"It was chump change," prosecutor Stephen May says.
Yesterday, in Baltimore Circuit Court, the lavish lifestyle ended for the man who called himself "the great Billy Guy."
Guy, 23, became the first person convicted in the city under Maryland's drug kingpin law, which carries a mandatory prison term of 20 years without parole.
Guy, a small gold crucifix hanging over his blue sweat suit, pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy, smuggling and involving a minor in his heavily armed drug ring. He pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from the state's 2-year-old drug kingpin law.
But Judge Thomas Ward convicted him as a kingpin after hearing the facts in the case. Defense lawyer Leslie Stein said he will appeal the kingpin conviction.
"Billy Guy was, quote, the Man," May said of Guy's role as financier of a drug ring that investigators estimated took in more than $4 million during its year of existence.
Anthony Simmons, 21, described by prosecutors as the head of Guy's Baltimore enterprise, also pleaded guilty yesterday to conspiracy and smuggling charges. In exchange for the plea, prosecutors dropped kingpin charges against Simmons and agreed to recommend a 10-year prison sentence without parole. Simmons and Guy are to be sentenced April 16.
Yesterday's convictions followed guilty pleas by 25 of the drug ,, ring's lieutenants, street dealers and couriers. Several alleged co-conspirators have cases pending.
According to May and another prosecutor, Jill Myers, Guy began operations here after forging an informal allegiance with local drug dealers during a December 1989 meeting. Guy guaranteed them an unlimited supply of cocaine and heroin from his South Bronx suppliers and promised they each would earn as much as $10,000 a week.
Guy opened shop at a time when the only heroin available on the street was sold in $30 and $60 bags, investigators said. He sold his bags, trade-marked "G Force," for $10.
Young women were hired to bring packages of drugs to Baltimore from New York and were paid $500 each trip, the prosecutors said.
One woman was arrested at Pennsylvania Station with an infant in one hand and a bag with more than 4,000 individual packages of heroin and cocaine in the other, the prosecutors said. She had made five trips to New York over two weeks and brought back $300,000 worth of drugs.
Eastern District vice officers photographed some ring members on videotape while watching their activities, which were concentrated primarily along Barclay and 22nd streets.
Investigators also seized semiautomatic weapons, shotguns, a bulletproof vest and credit-card receipts for plane and train fares to New York.
As Guy's confederates peddled cocaine and heroin on street corners, the ringleader lived extravagantly. Investigators said he likened himself to reputed New York City mobster John Gotti and spent thousands of dollars on gold and diamonds.
More than $30,000 worth of gold jewelry adorned Guy's body when he was arrested last year, including a replica of Lazarus with diamond-studded eyes. "Hey, watch the jewelry!" he reportedly told one of the arresting officers. "Give it to my girlfriend."