For Immediate Release
Five Plead Guilty in October to Federal Charges Related to a Violent Drug Distribution Organization
Seven Defendants Have Pleaded Guilty in the Case Related to the Drug Turf Battle that Resulted in the Shooting Death of Three-Year-Old McKenzie Elliott
Baltimore, Maryland – Five admitted members and confederates of the Old York Money Gang (OYMG), a gang that sustained itself in part through the distribution and sale of controlled substances, including crack cocaine, as well as through murder and other violent crimes, have pleaded guilty to federal drug or racketeering charges related to their membership in the gang. The gang operated throughout the Waverly Way neighborhood of Baltimore. The federal indictment charges murders, including the murder of McKenzie Elliott, a three-year-old girl who was shot to death on August 1, 2014, as acts of violence committed by members of the OYMG.
The following defendants, all of Baltimore, have entered guilty pleas:
Emmanuel Rose, age 27, pleaded guilty on October 1, 2018;
Davonte Rich, a/k/a Chopper, age 24, pleaded guilty on October 2, 2018;
Keith Wilson, age 25, pleaded guilty on October 3, 2018;
Jason Snowden, age 22, pleaded guilty on October 10, 2018; and
Calvin Watson, a/k/a Monster, age 27, pleaded guilty on October 12, 2018.
Rich and Snowden each pleaded guilty to participating in a racketeering conspiracy in connection with their membership in the OYMG. Watson, Rose, and Wilson each pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute between 280 and 840 grams of crack cocaine.
The guilty pleas were announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; Special Agent in Charge Rob Cekada of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Baltimore Field Division; and Interim Commissioner Gary Tuggle of the Baltimore Police Department.
“Disputes between rival drug gangs lead to so many tragic shootings and murders in Baltimore City,” said U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur. “Often the victims are innocent bystanders, like little McKenzie Elliott. We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to root out and to hold accountable the criminals who turn our neighborhoods into war zones, and to stop the senseless violence.”
“The pain and violence this gang has inflicted on Baltimore cannot be overstated,” said ATF Baltimore Special Agent in Charge Cekada. “They pushed drugs into neighborhoods knowing that addiction ruins lives, and they used firearms to intimidate and inflict violence to protect and expand their territory, showing no concern for innocent bystanders like McKenzie Elliott. ATF will continue to work relentlessly in our efforts to make Baltimore’s communities safer by taking criminals like members of the Old York Money Gang off the street.”
According to their plea agreements and other court documents, from January 2014 to April 2017, Rich, Snowden, Watson, Rose, and Wilson were all members and associates of the OYMG, a violent drug trafficking organization operating in the Waverly Way neighborhood in the northeastern district of Baltimore. OYMG is involved in criminal activity including murder, robbery, extortion, burglary, and narcotics trafficking in and around Baltimore. OYMG is a neighborhood gang, limiting its membership to persons that originate from or live in the Waverly Way neighborhood, and generally excluding “outsiders.” The gang extensively and frequently endorsed and promoted its existence through social media accounts and rap music videos, whereby members would display their association and advertise membership and activities of the gang.
Beginning in October 2016, the ATF and the Baltimore City Police Department conducted undercover purchases of cocaine base and heroin from OYMG members, including Watson and Rose. All of the defendants generally sold controlled substances at or around drug shops controlled and managed by the OYMG—and in coordination with coconspirators. According to their plea agreements and other court documents, OYMG members sold heroin, powder and crack cocaine, and marijuana in their territory in Waverly Way and elsewhere. Wilson was principally involved in the sale of prescription pills and marijuana and Rich principally distributed marijuana for the gang, in addition to his other gang activities.
According to Rich’s plea agreement, OYMG members regularly carried firearms to defend the gang’s territory and violently expelled OYMG rivals or antagonists. Throughout its existence, a primary source of revenue for the gang was the trafficking of narcotics and marijuana. The gang used violence to protect and further these criminal activities. For example, as detailed in Snowden’s plea, on February 5, 2016, Baltimore Police officers recovered a firearm and marijuana packaged for distribution from a car in which Snowden was riding. On October 2, 2017, two perpetrators robbed the owners of a restaurant directly across the street from an OYMG drug shop, stealing nearly $30,000. One of the assailants struck a female victim during the robbery, fracturing her eye socket. The victims knew Snowden and identified him as one of the robbers.
As detailed in Rich’s plea agreement, from July 30 to August 1, 2014, Rich and other OYMG members violently attacked three victims who had entered OYMG territory to support a female friend engaged in a fight with the sister of an OYMG member. During this attack, one of the victims (Victim #1) was stabbed. Two days later, the victims returned to the same OYMG drug shop, at which point an OYMG member fired multiple gunshots at the vehicle carrying the victims. One bullet struck Victim #1 in the head, while an errant bullet killed three-year-old McKenzie Elliott.
In addition, Tyron Brown, age 28, and Davin Lawson, age 27, both of Baltimore, previously pleaded guilty to participating in a drug distribution conspiracy, on August 15 and January 23, 2018, respectively. Lawson was sentenced to 80 months in federal prison on April 27, 2018.
U.S. District Judge George L. Russell, III has scheduled sentencing for Calvin Watson on December 19, 2018. Watson and the government have agreed that if the Court accepts the plea, Watson will be sentenced to 90 months in federal prison. Judge Russell has scheduled sentencing for Wilson, Brown, Snowden, Rose, and Rich for early 2019.
The four remaining defendants charged in the case are scheduled to go to trial on November 5, 2018.
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. Attorney General Jeff Sessions reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally based strategies to reduce violent crime.
United States Attorney Robert K. Hur commended the ATF and Baltimore Police Department for their work in the investigation. Mr. Hur thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys David Metcalf and Michael C. Hanlon, who are prosecuting the case.
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