For Immediate Release
Defendant Sentenced to 19 Years in Federal Prison for a Racketeering Conspiracy, Including Two Murders
Racketeering Activities Included a Series of Armed Robberies and Carjackings
BALTIMORE – U.S. District Judge Stephanie A. Gallagher sentenced Demonte Kellum, 26, of Baltimore to 19 years in federal prison, followed by 5 years of supervised release, for conspiracy to participate in racketeering activity, specifically his involvement in three armed robberies in 2019, two of which resulted in the murder of the victims.
The sentence was announced by U.S. for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron; Special Agent in Charge Toni M. Crosby of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Baltimore Field Division; and Acting Commissioner Richard Worley of the Baltimore Police Department.
“This crew’s reign of terror is over. The violent armed robberies committed by Kellum led to the deaths of two victims and suffering by their families, friends and the entire Baltimore community,” said U.S. Attorney Erek L. Barron. “We will continue to use every tool available to aggressively prosecute violent offenders.”
“The reality of guns in Baltimore is that criminals who possess them do so with the intent to use them. It is not just to show off or use as a threat—they are ready and willing to shoot someone without a second thought,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Toni M. Crosby. “ATF and our law enforcement partners will continue to do everything we can to take these trigger-pullers off the street so the citizens of Baltimore can live more safely.”
According to his guilty plea, from April to August 2019, Kellum and at least five others were co-conspirators in an enterprise that engaged in a pattern of deadly racketeering activity, including a series of armed carjackings, armed robberies and attempted armed robberies in Baltimore City, as well as the pawning of stolen goods. Members of the enterprise used at least three different firearms to commit the crimes and shared the proceeds of their exploits. The members also used carjacked cars to commit other carjackings and acts of violence.
Kellum admitted that he participated in three armed robberies, specifically the attempted armed robbery of a victim on July 23, 2019, in the 4900 block of Goodnow Road in Baltimore, during which one member of the conspiracy shot and killed the victim; the armed robbery of a victim on August 1, 2019, in the 2600 block of Talbot Road in Baltimore, during which the conspirators brandished firearms and tied up the victim; and later on August 1, 2019, the attempted armed robbery of a victim in the 5300 block of Fernpark Avenue in Baltimore, during which one of the conspirators shot and killed the victim.
As detailed in his plea agreement, the investigations showed that co-conspirators committed eight carjackings and eight additional armed robberies or attempted armed robberies, including two where the victims were shot and a third where the victim was shot and killed.
Co-defendant Karon Foster, 28, and Rashaud Nesmith, 22, both of Baltimore, were each sentenced to 40 years in federal prison for their roles in the racketeering enterprise, and Malik Evans, 25, of Baltimore, was sentenced to 17 years in federal prison. Co-defendant Jamai Wells, 33, of Baltimore pleaded guilty to the racketeering conspiracy and related charges and is awaiting sentencing. A fifth co-defendant is scheduled to go to trial early next year.
This case was made possible by investigative leads generated from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN). NIBIN is the only national network that allows for the capture and comparison of ballistic evidence to aid in solving and preventing violent crimes involving firearms. NIBIN is a proven investigative and intelligence tool that can link firearms from multiple crime scenes, allowing law enforcement to quickly disrupt shooting cycles.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders works together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develops comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.
U.S. Attorney Erek L. Barron commended the ATF, the Baltimore Police Department and the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office for their work in the investigation. Barron thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Patricia C. McLane and Clinton J. Fuchs, who are prosecuting the case.