Man given term of almost 20 years for gun possession

October 23, 1999|By Scott Higham | Scott Higham,SUN STAFF

A long-time Baltimore drug trafficker was sentenced to nearly 20 years in prison without the possibility of parole yesterday under a federal program designed to take armed career criminals off the streets.

Bernard Anthony Bey, 28, received a 19-year, five-month prison term for being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Bey was prosecuted under a program called DISARM, which carries tough penalties for gun-carrying criminals.

After the sentencing in U.S. District Court in Baltimore, Bey's mother started to sob. She later screamed at prosecutor Martin Clarke in a fifth-floor hallway.

"You don't know my son," she yelled before lunging toward Clarke as her friends and family tried to restrain her.

A squad of deputy U.S. marshals escorted Bey's mother from the courthouse.

Bey and three others were arrested on Feb. 24, 1998, after their Ford Taurus station wagon raced through a red light on Edmondson Avenue.

Police searched the car and found each of the suspects was carrying a loaded pistol.

Prosecutors decided to prosecute Bey and two others under the DISARM program. They argued yesterday that Bey was a career criminal with convictions for trafficking heroin and cocaine dating back to the 1980s, and that he deserved a long sentence for carrying a loaded pistol.

"These individuals were armed to the teeth on our city's streets," Clarke said during the sentencing hearing, asking the judge to give Bey a 24-year prison term -- the maximum allowed under the law.

Bey's defense attorney, Jack Rubin, called the DISARM program's prison terms "draconian." He asked the judge to give his client the lowest sentence permitted under federal guidelines. U.S. District Judge Andre M. Davis agreed, saying a 235-month term was sufficient to "vindicate society's interests."

Bey will be in his late forties before he is eligible for release from prison.

Pub Date: 10/23/99

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