Baltimore, Maryland – U.S. District Judge Ellen L. Hollander sentenced Daniel Blue, age 39, of Baltimore, today to 57 months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for illegal possession of two loaded firearms. Blue knew that as a result of a previous federal drug conviction, he was prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition. A federal jury convicted Blue on May 17, 2021.
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.
“There is no question that the excessive amount of violence in Baltimore stems in part from criminals, like Daniel Blue, carrying guns. Getting these offenders off the streets is an important component of our efforts to address the murders and shootings that steal lives and undermine our communities,” said Acting United States Attorney Jonathan Lenzner. “This Monument Street case is the kind of impactful investigation that federal, state and local partners can build through collaboration and a dedicated commitment to improving our communities.”
According to evidence presented at Blue’s trial, in July of 2018, Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”) Strike Force Group 1 began an investigation of the Monument Street corridor in East Baltimore, which is known to be the site of a high volume of street-level drug distribution and acts of violence associated with the drug trafficking. During the investigation, law enforcement identified multiple street-level drug trafficking “shops,” with the two most prominent located in the 400 block of North Montford Avenue at Jefferson Street (“the Montford DTO”) and in the 2400 block of East Monument Street at Port Street (the “Out the Mud,” or “OTM DTO”).
Evidence was presented at trial that, during the investigation, Blue was identified as a wholesale distributor of cocaine, crack cocaine, heroin, and fentanyl and as a source of supply of the street-level drug distributors in the Monument Street area. Witnesses testified that Blue was intercepted on calls with his co-conspirators discussing the distribution of drugs, including cocaine, crack cocaine, fentanyl and heroin.
On January 8, 2019, investigators executed a search warrant at Blue’s residence and recovered: a .45-caliber LC/.410 gauge revolver with three .410 gauge shells under the basement stairs in a bag; a .45-caliber semi-automatic pistol, loaded with five rounds of ammunition hidden in a pillow on the living room couch; and $45,817 in cash from the ceiling of the basement. During his trial testimony, Blue admitted that the money was the proceeds of drug sales.
Blue also testified during trial that the guns were not his, denied that he owned the house, and attempted to implicate his mother and sister, stating that they lived in the house with him. The evidence in the case did not support those statements and the government contends that the statements were willfully false and intended to obstruct justice. At today’s sentencing hearing Judge Hollander agreed with the government’s contentions and considered Blue’s false testimony when imposing his sentence.
The jury convicted Blue of being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition. The jury was not able to reach a verdict on the drug conspiracy count, nor on the count charging Blue with possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. Blue is currently scheduled to be re-tried on those charges.
Of the 25 defendants indicted in this case, 23—including Blue—have pleaded guilty or been found guilty at trial. Blue and another defendant have trial dates in November 2021.
This prosecution was brought as a part of the Department of Justice’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) Co-located Strike Forces Initiative, which provides for the establishment of permanent multi-agency task force teams that work side-by-side in the same location. This co-located model enables agents from different agencies to collaborate on intelligence-driven, multi-jurisdictional operations against a continuum of priority targets and their affiliate illicit financial networks. These prosecutor-led co-located Strike Forces capitalize on the synergy created through the long-term relationships that can be forged by agents, analysts, and prosecutors who remain together over time, and they epitomize the model that has proven most effective in combating organized crime. The specific mission of the Baltimore OCDETF Strike Force is to reduce violent, drug-related, and gang crime in the Baltimore area and surrounding region.
This case is also 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.
Acting United States Attorney Jonathan F. Lenzner commended the DEA and the Baltimore Police Department for their work in the investigation. Mr. Lenzner thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys LaRai Everett and James T. Wallner, who prosecuted the case.
For more information on the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office, its priorities, and resources available to help the community, please visit www.justice.gov/usao-md and https://www.justice.gov/usao-md/community-outreach.
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