Man gets 30 years in drug trafficking

Cocaine was shipped cross-country by private package-delivery firms

February 26, 2005|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

A federal judge sentenced a Baltimore man yesterday to 30 years in prison on drug charges related to trafficking hundreds of kilograms of cocaine across the country through private package-delivery companies for distribution in Baltimore.

Ralph K. Williams Jr., 30, was convicted Nov. 5 with two other men of federal drug conspiracy charges involving at least 300 kilograms of cocaine, according to the U.S. attorney's office in Baltimore.

Prosecutors said Williams and the two other men - Bernard Christian, 34, of Pikesville and Kenneth Mitchell, 30, of Edgewood - shipped millions of dollars' worth of drugs from Los Angeles to Baltimore using FedEx and United Parcel Service packages.

U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake sentenced Christian and Mitchell on Feb. 4 to 15 years and eight months and 19 years and seven months, respectively.

The two-week trial of the three men last fall was part of a years-long, nationwide probe into one of Baltimore's large drug-distribution networks.

In court papers, investigators mapped out how they believe Christian, a FedEx employee who worked a Johns Hopkins Hospital route, routinely intercepted packages laden with cocaine, which he then gave to others for distribution in Baltimore. Mitchell and Williams distributed the cocaine around the city, investigators said.

Money from the drug sales was shipped back to Los Angeles through the package delivery companies.

Business was lucrative, according to court documents. Prosecutors say the men made millions of dollars from the trade and used drug money to buy numerous properties around Baltimore, as well as two 2004 Porsche Cayennes. The jury found in November that the government was entitled to take $6 million worth of drug proceeds from the defendants.

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