Ellicott City Drug Trafficker Sentenced to More Than 13 Years in Federal Prison for Drug Distribution, Possession of Firearms in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime, and for Illegal Possession of Firearms

Greenbelt, Maryland – U.S. District Judge Peter J. Messitte today sentenced Tiba Sakuri Conley, age 31, of Ellicott City, Maryland, to 157 months in federal prison, followed by five years of supervised release for federal drug distribution and firearms charges.  Conley was convicted by a federal jury on September 25, 2020, after a four-day trial. 

The sentence was announced by Acting United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Jonathan F. Lenzner; Acting Special Agent in Charge Robert E. Bornstein of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Washington Field Office Criminal Division; Chief Malik Aziz of the Prince George’s County Police Department; Chief Lisa D. Myers of the Howard County Police Department; and Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy.

According to court documents and the evidence presented at trial, on April 21, 2016, law enforcement executed a search warrant at Conley’s residence in Ellicott City, Maryland.  When law enforcement entered his residence, Conley was in the kitchen with bags of cocaine base (also known as crack cocaine), powder cocaine, digital scales with white residue, baking powder, a pyrex measuring cup with white residue, and a loaded .45 caliber pistol on the kitchen counters on either side of him.  Law enforcement recovered approximately 70 grams of crack cocaine and approximately 72 grams of powder cocaine, which Conley possessed with the intent to distribute, as well as four digital scales and $9,495 in United States currency ($495 of which was recovered from Conley’s person).

In furtherance of his drug trafficking, Conley also possessed another .45-caliber semi-automatic pistol, a 5.56×45 millimeter semi-automatic rifle, and a 7.62×39 millimeter semi-automatic rifle  There were almost 200 rounds of ammunition recovered from the residence—much of it loaded into large capacity magazines for the rifles.  Evidence presented at trial showed that Conley was the major contributor of DNA found on three of the firearms recovered from his residence.  In a recording played at trial, Conley acknowledged that he was “cooking” when law enforcement entered his residence and that, “They got me.”

The evidence showed that Conley knew he was prohibited from possessing firearms and ammunition as a result of a previous felony conviction.  At the time of the search, Conley was on probation for two other crimes—a conviction for armed robbery in Washington, D.C. and a conviction for possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine in Prince George’s County.

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.  Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.  PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. 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.

This case was investigated by the FBI Washington and Baltimore field offices’ Cross Border Task Force, which focuses on the most egregious and violent street crews impacting the Prince George’s County and the District of Columbia.

Acting United States Attorney Jonathan F. Lenzner commended the FBI, the Prince George’s County Police Department, the Howard County Police Department, and the Prince George’s County State’s Attorney’s Office for their work in the investigation and thanked the Metropolitan Police Department for its assistance.  Mr. Lenzner thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joseph R. Baldwin and Dwight J. Draughon, who prosecuted the case.

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