Youth counselor pleads guilty to heroin distribution, conspiracy

Community worker admits conspiring with gang leader

November 08, 2010|By Tricia Bishop, The Baltimore Sun

A former youth counselor pleaded guilty in federal court Monday to drug distribution, admitting that he conspired with a colleague — a Black Guerrilla Family gang leader — to sell heroin while both were employed at a tax-funded community outreach center.

Ronald "Piper" Scott could receive a maximum of 20 years in prison. His sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 24 in Baltimore's U.S. District Court.

Scott was indicted on the drug charge in April alongside Todd Duncan, who has since pleaded guilty in a separate case to racketeering and admitted to a BGF affiliation that included drug trafficking, money laundering, bribery and gang discipline responsibilities.

Both men worked for the Communities Organized to Improve Life, a West Baltimore nonprofit that hired ex-offenders in an effort to peacefully mediate street disputes and to divert kids from gangs. But federal officials claimed Scott and Duncan used their community ties to cloak illegal activities.

In court Monday, Scott agreed with prosecutor statements claiming he conspired with Duncan and others from September 2009 through April to distribute between 80 grams and 100 grams of heroin, and that Scott helped Duncan move the drugs between stash houses.

Scott will remain free pending his sentencing. U.S. District Judge William D. Quarles Jr. lessened the restrictions on Scott's release Monday by dropping a location-monitoring requirement.

It's the third time Scott's conditions of release have been eased.

In July, U.S. Magistrate Judge Beth P. Gesner allowed him to leave his court-approved residence to attend church and to work for Morgan State University's Student Enrichment Program over the summer. But he never did, according to a Morgan spokesman, and it's unclear whether he had a temporary job offer.

A letter in Scott's court file, which is filled with typographical and other errors, and appears to be written on Morgan letterhead, asks permission for Scott to "mentor new students" on campus, though the person who allegedly wrote it is no longer employed at the school.

"This is an official request from the office or retention at Morgan Statue Universality to employee Mr. Ronald Scott… for general office task," the letter states, adding that Scott would be working with incoming freshmen.

The Morgan spokesman declined to verify the letter's authenticity.

Elita Amato, Scott's court-appointed attorney, said the university job never materialized but added that Scott has busied himself with temp work. Gesner again allowed him to modify his release conditions in August to look for unspecified employment.

Gesner declined to comment.

Duncan agreed to a 15-year-prison term as part of his September plea agreement. His sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 20.

tricia.bishop@baltsun.com

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