DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
District of Maryland

For Immediate Release

Friday, July 15, 2016
Rod J. Rosenstein
, United States Attorney
Contact: AUSA Vickie LeDuc or Marcia Murphy

Cherry Hill Gang Member Sentenced to Almost 23 Years in Federal Prison for Racketeering Conspiracy

Two Other Gang Members Also Sentenced to Federal Prison for At Least 10 Years

Baltimore, Maryland – U.S. District Judge George L. Russell III sentenced Asim Benns, a/k/a Seem, age 33, of Baltimore, today to 275 months in federal prison, followed by five years of supervise release, for conspiracy to participate in a racketeering enterprise in connection with his gang activities. Benns was a member of the UDH organization, as well as being a high-ranking member of the Black Guerilla Family gang, overseeing the “up the hill” area of Cherry Hill.

Also today, Judge Russell sentenced UDH gang members Donte Thornton, a/k/a Tay, age 30, of Baltimore to 15 years in federal prison, and James Scott, a/k/a Mook Day, age 24, of Essex, Maryland to 10 years in federal prison, each followed by five years of supervised release, for their participation in the racketeering conspiracy.

The sentences were announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Daniel L. Board, Jr. of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives - Baltimore Field Division; Commissioner Kevin Davis of the Baltimore Police Department; and Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby.

From at least 2007 to 2013, the UDH organization operated in the area of Cherry Hill known as “Up the Hill” or “Up da Hill.” UDH members and associates have been in a long-running dispute with members of an organization known as “Coppin Court” that is involved in criminal activity in the part of Cherry Hill known as “Down the Hill,” or “Down da Hill,” (DDH), and since at least January 2011, have been in a dispute with members of “Little Spelman,” another organization that is involved in criminal activity in the DDH section of Cherry Hill. The defendants admitted that as members of UDH they were part of a racketeering enterprise and protected their power, territory and profits through the use of violence, threats of violence, intimidation, robbery, and narcotics trafficking.

According to his plea agreement, Benns admitted that he planned and/or participated in the murders of two rival gang members, and two other shootings. Benns ran a heroin shop in the UDH area, as well as distributing other drugs. In July and August of 2011, Benns and other UDH members robbed two banks, stealing a total of $11,100, which he and the other robbers used to buy drugs that they could sell.

According to Thornton’s plea agreement, he participated in a bank robbery committed on July 19, 2011 with Benns and other UDH members. In addition, Thornton admitted his participation in a 2003 shooting and a 2007 murder of a rival gang member.

Scott, Thornton and Benns all admitted to their participation in the gang’s narcotics trafficking activities. Scott and Thornton admitted that they conspired with other UDH members to distribute at least one kilogram of heroin, five kilograms of powder cocaine, 280 grams of crack cocaine and marijuana. Benns admitted that he conspired with others to distribute between three and 10 kilograms of heroin, and between 840 grams and 2.8 kilograms of crack cocaine.

A total of 35 Cherry Hill gang members have pleaded guilty and 26 of those defendants, including the three sentenced today, have been sentenced to up to 35 years in prison.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the ATF, Baltimore Police Department, and Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorneys Andrea L. Smith, Seema Mittal, and Patricia C. McLane, who are prosecuting this Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force case.

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Field Division: Baltimore Field Division