The Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office indicted three fentanyl dealers this month for allegedly distributing or intending to distribute the drug. One of the men charged is accused of distributing fentanyl which resulted in death.
“Fentanyl is 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine and just 2 milligrams of fentanyl can kill you. Law enforcement partners are working together to arrest and prosecute those who peddle deadly fentanyl on our streets and in our neighborhoods,” said U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur. “Drug traffickers are on notice that dealing in fentanyl increases their odds of federal prosecution. We are determined to reduce the number of opioid overdose deaths in Maryland.”
Earl Joseph Morris, III, age 42, of Baltimore, Maryland, pleaded guilty to his charges on Nov. 19 for possession with intent to distribute 40 grams or more of fentanyl.
According to Morris’ plea agreement, last year an undercover Baltimore County Police detective purchased $400 worth of fentanyl tablets from Morris – 31 tablets of fentanyl – which resembled 15 mg oxycodone pills.
After a search of Morris’ vehicle, law enforcement found 1,859 fentanyl tablets.. The total weight of the tablets was 192.81 grams, or 96,405 lethal doses of the drug.
Morris faces a maximum sentence of 40 years in federal prison for possession with intent to distribute 40 grams or more of fentanyl.
A federal grand jury also returned a four-count indictment charging Khalil, “T”, Shaheed on Nov. 6, of Baltimore, for allegedly distributing fentanyl which resulted in death, possession with intent to distribute fentanyl, possession of a firearm in relation to drug trafficking crime, and possession of a firearm by a prohibited person.
Shaheed, 26, was also charged in August concerning a separate federal indictment for possession with intent to distribute controlled substances. Both indictments were unsealed by the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office on November 20.
If convicted, Shaheed faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years and a maximum of life in federal prison for distribution of fentanyl resulting in death; a mandatory minimum of five years in federal prison, consecutive to any other sentence imposed, and a maximum of life in federal prison for possession of a firearm in relation to drug trafficking crime; and a maximum of 10 years in federal prison for possession of a firearm by a prohibited person.
A third man, Jacob Leister, age 28, of Glenville, Pennsylvania, was charged on Nov. 19 on a four-count federal indictment alleging that he intended to distribute fentanyl and alprazolam.
Shaheed and Leister each face a maximum of 20 years in federal prison for each count of possession with intent to distribute fentanyl.
The U.S. States Attorney’s Office said that sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. “A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.”
Shadeed and Lesiter are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. Morris’ sentencing hearing has been scheduled for February 20.