Former Member of Baltimore’s Safe Streets Program Sentenced to Over 11 Years in Federal Prison for Drug Distribution Conspiracy

Baltimore, Maryland – U.S. District Judge George L. Russell, III sentenced Ronald Alexander, age 50, of Baltimore, Maryland to 135 months in federal prison, followed by eight years of supervised release, for conspiracy to distribute fentanyl, heroin, and powder and crack cocaine.  While he was participating in the narcotics conspiracy, Alexander was employed by “Safe Streets,” an organization whose purpose is to reduce violence and crime in Baltimore through intervention.  While he was engaged in the distribution of fentanyl and other dangerous narcotics, Alexander used his affiliation with Safe Streets to evade law enforcement in Baltimore, including on one occasion to avoid arrest when police seized from him a large quantity of fentanyl. 

The sentence was announced by Acting United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Jonathan F. Lenzner; Assistant Special Agent in Charge Orville O. Greene of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Baltimore District Office; and Commissioner Michael Harrison of the Baltimore Police Department.

According to Alexander’s plea agreement, law enforcement obtained judicial authorization to intercept communications to and from cellular telephones used by Alexander from May through July 23, 2020.  Alexander’s conversations revealed that he operated a “drug shop” in the vicinity of Spaulding Avenue and Palmer Avenue in Northwest Baltimore.  Alexander and co-defendant Thomas Corey Crosby corresponded every week or two concerning the sale of narcotics, including heroin and fentanyl.  After these conversations, which were often very brief, the pair would meet.  Most meetings took place at a gas station located at the intersection of Druid Park Avenue and Liberty Heights in Baltimore, where Crosby supplied drugs to Alexander.  Investigators conducted surveillance of many of these meetings and obtained surveillance video from the gas station.  

“Ronald Alexander not only polluted the Baltimore community with dangerous drugs and illegally possessed a firearm, but he also risked undermining Safe Streets and other community outreach efforts,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Jonathan F. Lenzner.  “Our violence reduction strategy is based on strong enforcement efforts focused on those driving the violence and distributing large quantities of narcotics while also providing robust community outreach and prevention initiatives.  Hopefully this sentence will encourage others to put down the gun and give up the drug trade and choose to invest in themselves and their community instead.”

“The investigation and subsequent sentencing of Ronald Alexander shows that narcotics trafficking and violence has immersed itself in every aspect of our lives, even in areas that are supposed to help stem the tide of drug related violence in the city,” said Assistant Special Agent in Charge Orville O. Greene.  “DEA will, with the help and assistance of our federal and local partners, continue to lead the effort of bringing these violators to justice.”

As detailed in his plea agreement, on August 5, 2020, a Baltimore Police officer conducted a traffic stop of Alexander after Alexander rolled through a stop sign.  During the encounter, Alexander used his affiliation with Safe Streets and the Baltimore City Mayor’s Office to try to deter further police investigation. Alexander called an associate afterwards, and said, “Yeah. Police hopped on me. Told me to get off the phone. You know they scared, you know they scared of the Mayor Office, I said man I work for Safe Streets from the Mayor Office. I was just coming from one of my participant house, in need with this, it was in need of food due to the pandemic. He say oh, ok ok.”

On August 9, 2020, Alexander received a call from Crosby arranging to meet at the gas station.  At the gas station, Crosby was seen entering Alexander’s vehicle and the two had a brief conversation.  Crosby then placed an item in the center console area of Alexander’s vehicle and then got out of the car.  Alexander pulled away from the gas station and investigators performed a traffic stop and searched Alexander’s vehicle, recovering what was later determined to be 100 grams of fentanyl from a bag found in the center console.  Alexander again informed law enforcement that he worked for Safe Streets and provided law enforcement with a letter from the Baltimore City Mayor’s Office.  When asked about the bag in the center console, Alexander stated that he had taken the drugs from a member of the community as part of his work with the Safe Streets program in an attempt to prevent crime.  According to court documents, law enforcement seized the drugs, but permitted Alexander to leave without being arrested.  After the traffic stop, Alexander called Crosby and they met again at the same gas station.  After the meeting, Crosby disposed of his cell phone, which investigators had obtained authorization to intercept and track.

On August 14, 2020, search warrants were executed at locations related to the investigation, including Alexander’s residence in the 1200 block of North Augusta Avenue and a second residence where Alexander sometimes stayed in the unit block of North Culver Street, both in Baltimore.  Alexander was located at his residence.  There, law enforcement seized a 9mm semi-automatic pistol and six cartridges of ammunition, a digital scale and drug packaging material, suspected cutting agents, and Safe Streets apparel.  At the residence on North Culver Street, investigators located 80 grams of a heroin and fentanyl mixture, more than 100 grams of powdered caffeine, and a digital scale.

Alexander was prohibited from possessing a firearm and ammunition as the result of a 2001 conviction in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute heroin.  Alexander was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison in that case and was released from the Bureau of Prisons in approximately May 2018.

Thomas Corey Crosby, age 51, of Woodlawn, Maryland, previously pleaded and was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison, for conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, specifically, 40 grams or more of fentanyl.  Judge Russell also ordered Crosby to forfeit $134,499 in cash, seized during a search of his residence on August 14, 2020.

This case is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation.  OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.

Acting United States Attorney Jonathan F. Lenzner commended the DEA and BPD for their work in the investigation.  Mr. Lenzner thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew DellaBetta who prosecuted the federal case.

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