For Immediate Release
District Man Sentenced to 16 Years in Prison for Being the Leader of a Large-Scale Narcotics Conspiracy
WASHINGTON – Anthony Fields, 45, of Washington, D.C., was sentenced today to 16 years in prison stemming from his leadership role in a large-scale narcotics conspiracy, announced U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu, Ashan M. Benedict, Special Agent in Charge of the Washington Field Division of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and Peter Newsham, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).
Fields, Abdul Samuels, 45, of Washington, D.C., and Lonnell Tucker, 42, of Temple Hills, Md., were found guilty on March 21, 2019, following a trial in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia before the Honorable Amit P. Mehta. Fields was convicted of engaging in a conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute heroin, phencyclidine (pcp), fentanyl, suboxone, marijuana, and synthetic cannabinoids, in various amounts, and maintaining a residence for drug trafficking purposes. Judge Mehta sentenced Fields to a prison term of 16 years. Following his prison term, Fields will be placed on eight years of supervised release.
In June 2017, ATF began investigating the trafficking of narcotics from the Next Level Cuts barbershop located in the 2400 block of MLK, Jr., Avenue, SE and adjoining property above. Through surveillance, controlled purchases from inside and outside the barbershop, residential search warrants, cellphone searches, arrests, jailhouse calls, pleas, and cooperating witnesses, law enforcement discovered a coordinated drug trafficking operation that was centered at the barbershop and extended into Maryland. The investigation established that drug traffickers used the barbershop and adjoining property as a stash location.
The investigation led to a series of arrests beginning in February 2018 which led to the recovery of three firearms from the barbershop and one firearm in a residence, the seizure of more than $7,000 in cash, and without packaging, the seizure of more than 300 grams of PCP, more than 150 grams of heroin, more than 100 grams of fentanyl, boxes of suboxone strips, and more than 100 grams of a cutting agents. In addition to being convicted of conspiring to distribute narcotics, Fields was convicted of possessing 100 grams or more of PCP and 100 grams or more of heroin and using the residence above the barbershop as a location to traffic narcotics.
During the trial, officers from the Prince George’s County Police Department and the Maryland Office of the State Prosecutor testified regarding a separate arrest of Fields in 2017 in Maryland, in which cutting agents, false bottom containers, and over $7,000 in U.S. currency were recovered from a vehicle that Fields was operating after law enforcement observed him purchasing items from a location that was well known for the selling of drug paraphernalia.
During the sentencing, Judge Mehta found that Fields obstructed justice during the course of the Government’s investigation.
The Defendant was previously convicted of assault with intent to kill while armed in D.C. Superior Court in 2002, following the shooting of a victim on a public street and was on supervised release for that offense with the U.S. Parole Commission at the time the present conspiracy took place. The Defendant also has additional firearms and drug trafficking convictions from separate cases.
Samuels and Tucker have yet to be sentenced for their roles in the drug trafficking conspiracy. Three other defendants – Darryl Smith, 41, of Washington, D.C., James Venable, 47, of Fort Washington, Md., and Lacy Hamilton, 42, of Suitland, Md. – pled guilty earlier to federal charges. Another defendant remains at large as a fugitive. Smith managed the barbershop and was sentenced to 80 months in prison relating to his possession of narcotics in the barbershop on February 1, 2018, and for his possession of packaged fentanyl and a loaded firearm following an arrest by MPD in December 2017 outside of the barbershop. Venable, another conspirator, was sentenced to a 37-month prison term following his possession of narcotics and a firearm in both Washington, D.C. during a December 2017 arrest by MPD and at his residence in Maryland on February 1, 2018. Venable also acknowledged selling narcotics to an ATF confidential informant in July 2017. Hamilton was sentenced to a 15-month prison term for selling narcotics outside the barbershop and in Maryland as part of the charged narcotics conspiracy.
In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Liu, Special Agent in Charge Benedict, and Chief Newsham commended the assistance provided by officers and agents of the Prince George’s County Police Department, Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, and the Maryland Office of the State Prosecutor. They also acknowledged the efforts of those who handled the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christopher Macchiaroli and Gregory Rosen of the Violent Crime and Narcotics Trafficking Section, and Paralegal Specialist Candace Battle.