Baltimore, Maryland – Tony Solomon, age 54, of Baltimore, pleaded guilty yesterday to federal charges of conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute controlled substances, related to his participation in a conspiracy to distribute cocaine and/or fentanyl in the Monument Street area of East Baltimore. U.S. District Judge Ellen L. Hollander also sentenced co-defendant, Cheyenne Ellison, age 39, also of Baltimore, yesterday to five years in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for his role in the conspiracy.
The guilty plea and sentence were announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; Assistant Special Agent in Charge Orville O. Greene of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Baltimore District Office; and Commissioner Michael Harrison of the Baltimore Police Department.
“The Baltimore OCDETF Strike Force is a critical part of our strategy to make Baltimore safer by identifying and focusing on those groups responsible for the most violent crime in our city,” said U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur. “The Monument Street area is one of the first areas the Strike Force has targeted and we anticipate that Strike Force cases will make these neighborhoods safer for the law-abiding citizens that live there.”
According to their guilty pleas, in July of 2018, Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”) Strike Force Group 1 began an investigation of the Monument Street corridor in East Baltimore, which is known to support a high volume of street-level drug distribution and acts of violence associated with the drug trafficking. During the investigation, law enforcement identified multiple street-level drug trafficking “shops,” with the two most prominent located in the 400 block of North Montford Avenue at Jefferson Street (“the Montford DTO”) and in the 2400 block of East Monument Street at Port Street (the “Out the Mud,” or “OTM DTO”).
As detailed in their plea agreements, investigators identified Solomon as a source of supply in the conspiracy and law enforcement identified Ellison as a middleman, who coordinated controlled substances for members of the conspiracy. Law enforcement overheard the defendants discussing the distribution of drugs, including cocaine and crack cocaine, heroin, and fentanyl, among others.
Solomon admitted that he maintained at least two stash locations used for storing, cutting, and packaging controlled dangerous substances with other members of the conspiracy, located in the 1600 block of North Spring Street and the 3200 block of Bright Street, both in Baltimore. Solomon conspired with coconspirators to use the North Spring Street location to meet with drug customers for the purposes of collecting money and providing controlled substances to them.
In January 2019, law enforcement executed search warrants at both stash locations, and at a residence associated with Solomon, recovering a total of approximately 200 grams of crack, 5 grams of cocaine and 147 grams of a heroin/fentanyl mixture; drug paraphernalia, including a small hydraulic press, small and large kilo presses, digital scales, gel caps, and packaging materials; more than $41,000 in cash, believed to be drug proceeds; and a loaded .45-caliber semi-automatic pistol with eight .45-caliber cartridges, which Solomon admitted he possessed in connection to his drug trafficking activities. Solomon is prohibited from possessing a firearm or ammunition as a result of a previous felony conviction. Additionally, law enforcement seized 1,400 grams cocaine/crack cocaine during the execution of a warrant at Egan Davis’s residence. Based on intercepted communications, investigators believe that a portion of the cocaine/crack cocaine seized during the execution of the warrant was coordinated by Ellison with other co-conspirators. Ellison and Solomon, admitted that they possessed the cocaine with the intent to distribute it for sale. Solomon also admitted possessing the heroin/fentanyl mixture with the intent to distribute it.
Throughout the course of his involvement, it was reasonably foreseeable to Solomon, and within the scope of the conspiracy that he or other members of the conspiracy would distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine, as well as quantities of cocaine base, heroin, and fentanyl during the course of and in furtherance of the conspiracy. It was reasonably foreseeable to Ellison, and within the scope of the conspiracy that he or other members of the conspiracy would distribute at least 500 grams but less than two kilograms of cocaine, as well as quantities of crack cocaine, heroin and fentanyl during the course of and in furtherance of the conspiracy.
Solomon and the government have agreed that, if the Court accepts the plea agreement, Solomon will be sentenced to 10 years in federal prison. Judge Hollander has scheduled sentencing for Solomon on February 23, 2021.
Of the 25 defendants indicted in this case, 12—including Ellison, Solomon, and Egan Davis—have pleaded guilty. Last week, co-defendant Amin Boyd, age 42, of Baltimore, Maryland, was sentenced to seven years in prison. The remaining defendants have trial dates in January or May 2021.
This case was investigated as part of the Baltimore Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) Strike Force, an initiative designed to combat violent crime in Baltimore. The mission of the Baltimore OCDETF Strike Force is to disrupt and dismantle the most violent gangs and drug trafficking organizations, and their financial infrastructure, in the Baltimore metropolitan area. In addition to the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office, members of the Strike Force include the U.S. Secret Service, the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office, DEA, FBI, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the U.S. Marshals Service, the Washington/Baltimore HIDTA, the Maryland State Police, the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, the Maryland Transportation Authority Police, the Maryland National Guard, Baltimore County, Baltimore City, and Anne Arundel County Police Departments, and the Baltimore City Sheriff’s Office.
United States Attorney Robert K. Hur commended the DEA and the Baltimore Police Department for their work in the investigation. Mr. Hur thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys LaRai Everett and James T. Wallner, who are prosecuting the case.