Drug gang killer gets 30 years in plea deal

August 25, 2007

A reputed hit man for a Northwest Baltimore drug organization linked to four killings pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court yesterday to racketeering and murder charges and was sentenced to 30 years in prison, federal prosecutors said.

The Maryland U.S. attorney's office had targeted Eric Hall, 36, for the death penalty. But as a result of a plea agreement, he will serve prison time and then be on 15 years of supervised probation.

Prosecutors say Hall worked as an enforcer for a drug ring led by Howard and Raeshio Rice, brothers who, respectively, are serving 30-year and 27-year prison sentences.

The Rice brothers admitted in court last year that they imported more than 100 kilograms of cocaine and heroin from the East and West coasts between 1995 and 2004, sold the drugs to dealers on the streets and used the money to invest in night clubs.

Some of the organization's members sold drugs in Park Heights but lived in suburban communities. Federal authorities put listening devices in cars and secretly recorded telephone calls.

The Rice brothers used drug money to buy property, jewelry, a Sea Ray boat and luxury automobiles, including a Ferrari, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, two BMWs and a Bentley, prosecutors said.

According to the plea agreement with Hall, he admitted to killing Dante Green on Dec. 16, 1996, to trying to kill Dennis Smith on Dec. 27, 1996, and to numerous other acts of violence. Prosecutors said the slaying was in retaliation for the abduction of Rice's mother by a rival drug organization that was angry over incursions into drug territory.

Federal prosecutors had linked Hall to three other killings.

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