DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
District of Maryland

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, January 6, 2016
Rod J. Rosenstein
, United States Attorney
Contact: Ausa Vickie E. Leduc

Leader of Baltimore Heroin Distribution Organization Sentenced to 12 Years in Prison

Two Co-conspirators Also Sentenced; 13 Convicted to Date

Baltimore, Maryland – U.S. District Judge William D. Quarles, Jr. sentenced Richard Smith, age 31, of Baltimore, Maryland today to 12 years in prison, followed by four years of supervised release, for conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute heroin.

Also today, Judge Quarles sentenced Derek Shorts, age 51, of Baltimore to six years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute heroin.  On January 5, 2016, Judge Quarles also sentenced co-conspirator Dedrick Coates, age 26, of Baltimore to six years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for the same charges.

The sentences were announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge William P. McMullan 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 J. Mosby.

According to their plea agreements, beginning in at least January 2014 and continuing through December 10, 2014, Smith, Shorts and Coates conspired with others to distribute heroin in Baltimore. During the conspiracy, Smith and Bruce Jeffries met with other co-conspirators, including Coates, to provide heroin for distribution by members of the conspiracy.  Smith was the supervisor of this conspiracy and was responsible for providing the heroin distributed by the co-conspirators.  Shorts was responsible for “running” the narcotics to the distributors and for watching over the narcotics “stash.” Once Coates received heroin from another member of the organization, he would either distribute the heroin to other co-conspirators or to his personal use customers.

Between September and November of 2014, law enforcement intercepted telephone conversations between Smith, Jeffries, and other conspirators.  During these calls, Smith, Jeffries, Coates, and others were heard discussing the distribution and payment for various amounts of heroin.  Shorts was overheard discussing the quantity of narcotics available for distribution.  Smith was also intercepted giving members of the conspiracy instructions regarding the distribution of narcotics.  On November 14, 2014, law enforcement executed a search warrant at a “stash” house used by members of the conspiracy. During the search, law enforcement recovered 400 gel capsules of heroin from inside the stash house, along with another 100 gel capsules of heroin from Shorts.  This seizure precipitated intercepted phone conversations between Jeffries, Smith, and another co-conspirator regarding the seizure.

Smith, Shorts and Coates agree that during their participation in the conspiracy, the conspirators were responsible for the distribution of between one and three kilograms of heroin. 

Ten other co-conspirators have pleaded guilty to their roles in the heroin distribution conspiracy.  Bruce Jeffries, age 27; Brian Nettles, age 24; Kevin Gray, age 32; Brian Carr, age 26; Walter Timmons, age 27; Darrell Randolph, age 27; Pernell Randolph, age 28; Marvin Germany, age 26; and Vincent Jones, age 52, all of Baltimore, have been sentenced to between 70 and 84 months in prison.  The remaining defendant is awaiting sentencing.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the ATF, Baltimore City Police Department, and the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office for their work in the investigation.  Mr. Rosenstein thanked Matthew Hoff, a cross-designated Baltimore City Assistant State’s Attorney, part of the Baltimore initiative to combat violent crime, who is prosecuting the case.

Field Division: Baltimore Field Division