Sample Block

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

District of Maryland

For Immediate Release

January 27, 2012

Rod J. Rosenstein, United States Attorney

Contact: Vickie LeDuc or Marcia Murphy
(410) 209-4885

Federal Racketeering and Murder Conspiracy Charges Filed Against Alleged Members of a Baltimore Drug Gang

Law Enforcement Agencies Must Be Unrelenting in Our Commitment to Combat Gangs

Baltimore, Maryland – A federal grand jury superseding indictment was unsealed today alleging that a drug gang operating on a stretch of Baltimore Street in Baltimore known as the Block, is a federal racketeering enterprise that committed acts of violence, including murder. The following defendants, all from Baltimore, are charged in the indictment, which was returned on January 25, 2012 and unsealed today:

  • Donte Bernard Baker, a/k/a Tay, and Donnie, age 21;
  • Tyrone Johniken, a/k/a Hassan Muhammed, and Roland, age 29;
  • Gary Thenor Cromartie, a/k/a Miami, age 23; and
  • Monica McCants, a/k/a Money, age 41.

The indictment was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Debbie D. Bullock of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives – Baltimore Field Division; and Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III of the Baltimore City Police Department.

Law enforcement agencies must be unrelenting in our commitment to combat gangs that foment violence, U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein said. Each case leads to new investigations, as federal agencies work with state and local law enforcement to combat violent crime and gangs in Maryland.

The four count indictment alleges that from at least January 2008 to the present, McCants and her son Baker were leaders of the gang who supplied heroin and crack cocaine in packs of 10, 20 or 60 pills/vials to lower tier members, including Johniken and Cromartie, who in turn sold the drugs to runners and drug users on the Block. The profits from these sales were allegedly given to McCants and Baker, who paid the lower tier members for making the sales. In November 2010, Baker collected money from drug sales in order to bail McCants out of jail.

The indictment further alleges that gang members protected themselves and the drug organization through violence and intimidation, including robberies and the murder of Cherrie Gammon on December 12, 2010. More specifically, on November 25, 2010, McCants instructed Baker to assault Gammon to ensure that Gammon provided the gang with drug proceeds. On December 12, 2010, Gammon was driven to the area of Leon Day Park in Baltimore where she was allegedly murdered by Baker, Johniken and Cromartie. In a phone call on December 30, 2010, McCants stated to Baker that law enforcement probably learned from Gammon that Gammon owed money to Baker over a pack.

Johniken is also alleged to have assaulted a police officer.

All of the defendants face a maximum sentence of life in prison for the racketeering conspiracy and for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute drugs. Baker, Johniken and Cromartie also face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for conspiracy to commit murder in aid of racketeering and Baker faces a maximum sentence of life in prison for possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime. The initial appearances of the defendants are expected to be scheduled this afternoon in U.S. District Court in Baltimore. An indictment is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the ATF and Baltimore Police Department for their work in this investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorneys Joshua Kaul and Robert R. Harding, who are prosecuting the case.