BIDEN’S OPEN BORDER & FENTANYL SURGE: EX-CON ROMESH VANCE SENTENCED TO OVER 12 YEARS FOR CONSPIRACY TO DISTRIBUTE LARGE AMOUNTS OF FENTANYL

Baltimore Felon Sentenced to Over 12 Years in Federal Prison for a Conspiracy to Distribute Large Amounts of Fentanyl

Defendant Also Violated His Supervised Release From A Previous Federal Drug Conviction

Baltimore, Maryland – U.S. District Judge George L. Russell III, on May 1, 2023, sentenced Romesh Mustafa Vance, 32 (03/22/1990) of Baltimore, Maryland, to 150 months in federal prison, followed by five years of supervised release for conspiracy to distribute between four and 12 kilograms of fentanyl and for violating his supervised release from a previous federal drug conviction.  Judge Russell also ordered that Vance must forfeit his interest in any assets derived from his criminal activities, including almost $41,000 in cash and jewelry, which were recovered from Vance and his residence at 219 Westowne Road in Baltimore; and a 2017 Mercedes Benz recovered from Vance.

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United States Attorney Erek L. Barron

The sentence 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 Field Division; Baltimore City Sheriff Sam Cogen; Commissioner Michael Harrison of the Baltimore Police Department; and Chief Robert McCullough of the Baltimore County Police Department.

DEA Special Agent in Charge Jarod Forget

According to his guilty plea, from October 2020 through March 1, 2021, Vance was engaged in a drug trafficking conspiracy involving large amounts of fentanyl and other controlled substances.  Vance operated a stash house in Pikesville, Maryland, where he and his co-conspirators processed fentanyl and other drugs, mixed the drugs with cutting agents, and packaged the drugs for re-sale.  Vance and his associates then drove the packaged drug products to drug shops operated by their drug trafficking organization, along Stricker, School and Gilmor Streets in Baltimore.

On March 1, 2021, law enforcement saw Vance leave the Pikesville stash house and travel to the drug shop at 1515 Stricker Street, where he delivered approximately one kilogram of fentanyl to co-conspirator Vashawn Watkins, who brought the drug products into 1515 Stricker Street. 

Law enforcement subsequently executed a search warrant at that location and recovered the drugs.  Law enforcement later conducted a search warrant at the stash house in Pikesville and recovered 6.8 kilograms of fentanyl, along with cutting agents and other drug-related paraphernalia.  Vance admitted that it was reasonably foreseeable to him that he and his co-conspirators would distribute more than four kilograms but less than 12 kilograms of Fentanyl in furtherance of this conspiracy.   

Co-defendant Vashawn Watkins, age 22, of Baltimore, previously pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute controlled substances and to illegally possessing a firearm in a school zone and was sentenced to nine years in federal prison.

U. S. Attorney Erek L. Barron

Co-defendant Vashawn Watkins, age 22, of Baltimore, previously pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute controlled substances and illegally possessing a firearm in a school zone and was sentenced to nine years in federal prison.

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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 gun violence and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone.  On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.

This case is also 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.

United States Attorney Erek L. Barron commended the DEA, the Baltimore City Sheriff’s Office, the Baltimore Police Department, and the Baltimore County Police Department for their work in the investigation.  Mr. Barron thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jason D. Medinger and Ariel Evans, who prosecuted the case.

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