For Immediate Release
St. Mary’s County Felon Pleads Guilty to Federal Charges for Distribution of Fentanyl and for Illegal Possession of a Firearm and Ammunition
Distributed Fentanyl to a Victim and Death Resulted From the Victims Use of the Drug; Keys Also Admitted That He Illegally Possessed a Loaded Ghost Gun
Greenbelt, Maryland – DeAundre Tyrique Keys, a/k/a “Dre,” age 35, of Lexington Park, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to federal charges of distribution of fentanyl and to being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition.
The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron; Special Agent in Charge Jarod Forget of the Drug Enforcement Administration - Washington Division; St. Mary’s County Sheriff Tim Cameron; and Calvert County Sheriff Mike Evans.
According to Keys’ guilty plea, on March 1, 2021, three individuals traveled to St. Mary’s County, Maryland to purchase narcotics from Keys. One of the individuals met with Keys at Keys’ apartment complex in Lexington Park and purchased fentanyl from Keys, who was on pretrial release for pending charges in St. Mary’s County, and was wearing an ankle monitor at the time of the drug transaction.
As detailed in the plea agreement, after buying fentanyl from Keys, the three individuals returned to Calvert County, where two of the individuals ingested the fentanyl purchased from Keys. One of the individuals became unresponsive and the other two individuals administered Narcan, attempted CPR, and called 9-1-1. Before first responders could arrive, the individual who had purchased the fentanyl from Keys discarded the remaining fentanyl in the woods. Arriving first responders attempted life saving measures, but the victim was pronounced dead. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for Maryland concluded that the victim’s cause of death was fentanyl and alcohol intoxication.
Law enforcement executed a search warrant at Keys’ apartment on March 12, 2021. Keys was the sole occupant of the apartment when officers arrived and was wearing his GPS ankle monitor. Law enforcement recovered a plastic baggie containing 30.07 grams of a mixture containing fentanyl, acetylfentanyl, heroin, acetaminophen, and 06-Monoacetylmorphine; drug paraphernalia, including a digital scale with fentanyl residue, a cutting agent, and plastic glassine baggies used for narcotics packaging and distribution; a Polymer 9mm handgun with a 30-round magazine containing 21 rounds of 9mm ammunition; one round of 9mm ammunition on the floor; two .40 magazines—one empty and the other containing 13 rounds of 9mm ammunition; an empty 30 round magazine; and $7,080 in cash, which were proceeds of Keys’ drug sales.
The seized firearm is a ghost gun—privately made with parts manufactured outside Maryland, which has no serial number and is not a registered firearm. The gun was tested by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and was found to be a fully functioning firearm. Keys knew that he had a previous felony conviction and was prohibited from possessing a firearm and/or ammunition.
Keys and the government have agreed that, if the Court accepts the plea agreement, Keys will be sentenced to between 10 and 12 years in federal prison. U.S. District Judge Peter J. Messitte has scheduled sentencing for May 24, 2022 at 11:00 a.m.
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. PSN, an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime, is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop 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.
United States Attorney Erek L. Barron commended the DEA, the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office, and the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office for their work in the investigation and thanked the ATF and the St. Mary’s County State’s Attorney’s Office for their assistance. Mr. Barron thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica C. Collins, who is prosecuting the case.
For more information on the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office, its priorities, and resources available to help the community, please visit https://www.justice.gov/usao-md/project-safe-neighborhoods-psnexile and https://www.justice.gov/usao-md/community-outreach.