U.S. indicts 10 in Northeast Baltimore drug conspiracy

Accused leader, 22, a suspect in four killings, agents say

September 09, 2010|By Justin Fenton, The Baltimore Sun

Northeast Baltimore's Four-by-Four neighborhood is tiny, named for its four north-south streets and four east-west streets. But authorities say it has long been a hub of violence and drug activity that had been taken over by a "clandestine operation."

On Thursday, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives led at least 150 law enforcement officers on raids at eight locations, and 10 people were indicted on federal charges accusing them of being part of a drug organization operating out of the neighborhood from at least June 2009 through August.

Authorities allege that the leader, 22-year-old Dearius Forrester, is the primary suspect in three unsolved killings and a fourth allegedly committed while he was a juvenile, an ATF agent wrote in an affidavit supporting a "no-knock" warrant of Forrester's apartment on Leatherwood Place in Rosedale.

Forrester, who authorities say is known as "Little D," "Muffler" and "Chicken," was heard on an intercepted telephone call talking about how he was hiding on an unlit porch and waiting to shoot someone if they walked around a corner.

"If he comes around the corner, I'm gonna take his top off," Forrester said, according to the agent.

In state court, Forrester has received suspended sentences for drug dealing and assault. Federal prosecutors thanked city police and prosecutors, with State's Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy saying the case "demonstrates the strength of our local, state and federal partnership and coordination."

Prosecutors say members of his operation sold drugs and stored weapons near the homes of conspirators and their family members in the 3200 block of Lyndale Ave., and stored drugs and guns in and around the homes.

In another call, recorded last month, Forrester was recorded discussing how drug sales were "booming" in the area. "It's boomin', and you ain't even out here," he told Shaun Hopkins, asking why he wasn't taking advantage of the large number of drug buyers in the area.

According to documents, agents made controlled drug purchases and conducted surveillance on the organization's members in addition to tapping phones.

Others indicted in the conspiracy are Baltimore residents Tony Robinson, 37; Darien Hilliard; 22; Raymond Moore, 20; Larry Carlos, 22; Jenon Forrester, 19; Shaun Hopkins, 20; Matthew Troy Evans Jr., 22; Byron Williams, 18; and Rosedale resident Latreece Smith, 21. Five additional defendants were charged in state court.

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