City Man Tied To Drug Ring Gets 4 Years

December 25, 2009|By Justin Fenton | Justin Fenton,justin.fenton@baltsun.com

A Baltimore man, who authorities believe was part of a drug organization whose feuding with rivals might have led to several killings and the shooting of 12 people at a cookout this summer, was sentenced to four years in federal prison Wednesday for being a felon in possession of ammunition.

Terrell Allen, 36, pleaded guilty in September, two months after agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives executed a search warrant on his Essex home on Punjab Drive and found 21 rounds of ammunition in a table next to his bed.

The search warrant was connected to a series of incidents more than a year earlier. Federal court documents show authorities believe Allen was one of three men who in April 2008 abducted the younger brothers of Stephen "J.R." Blackwell after a dispute over heroin prices.

Six weeks later, authorities say, gunmen took revenge with a quadruple shooting outside the Allen & Family Appliance store, a mom-and-pop business in East Baltimore that sells $99 washing machines and other discount appliances. Allen's father, Tony Allen, 52, and a 27-year-old named Omar Spriggs were killed. Terrell Allen and another man were injured.

Several associates of Blackwell's were killed in the ensuing months, and a shooting broke out on July 26 at a memorial cookout to commemorate their deaths. Twelve people were shot and wounded - including Blackwell.

Blackwell, who was charged with disorderly conduct in August, has not faced any criminal charges related to the allegations of violence and drug dealing.

ATF Special Agent Noah Slackman wrote in an affidavit that a confidential source relayed that Terrell Allen was the head of a drug organization that had been receiving heroin from Blackwell. But they got into a dispute because Allen believed that Blackwell was cheating on the weight of heroin while raising the price, the affidavit says.

The source said it was that disagreement that triggered the kidnapping of Blackwell's younger brothers.

Baltimore County police said at the time that six masked gunmen forced their way into the Catonsville home at 3 a.m., bound and gagged 10 occupants and held them at gunpoint for hours. A woman was sexually assaulted. Blackwell arrived at the home as the kidnappers were leaving and was shot at but not struck.

The source said Allen and Spriggs were paid approximately $500,000 as ransom for the release of the brothers, according to documents. No criminal charges were ever filed in connection with the incident.

But after the quadruple shooting at the appliance store, ATF agents raided the store and Allen's Essex home, recovering the revolver, boxes of ammunition and nearly $8,000 in cash.

Allen's attorney, Gerald Ruter, told The Baltimore Sun in July that the information presented by law enforcement agents was "invented."

"It really is a travesty at a personal level. His father is killed right in front of him ... and he's the person who ends up being on trial," Ruter added.

U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz sentenced Allen to 48 months in a federal prison, followed by a supervised release period of three years.

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