Baltimore, Maryland – U.S. District Judge Ellen L. Hollander sentenced Anton Williams, age 43, of Baltimore, to 10 years in federal prison, followed by four years of supervised release for conspiracy to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine in the Monument Street area of East Baltimore; possession with intent to distribute fentanyl; and for money laundering. Judge Hollander also ordered Williams to forfeit $472,000, a .38-caliber revolver and eight rounds of .38-caliber ammunition. The sentence was imposed on September 10, 2021.
Judge Hollander also sentenced co-defendant Wardell Roundheart, age 44, of Baltimore, to 68 months in federal prison, followed by four years of supervised release, for conspiracy to distribute cocaine and for possession with intent to distribute a fentanyl and cocaine mixture.
The sentences were 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 (DEA), Baltimore District Office; Acting Special Agent in Charge Darrell J. Waldon of the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, Washington, D.C. Field Office; and Commissioner Michael Harrison of the Baltimore Police Department.
“This Monument Street case in East Baltimore is the kind of impactful investigation that federal, state and local partners can build through collaboration and a dedicated commitment to improving our communities,” said Acting United States Attorney Jonathan Lenzner. “Getting wholesale narcotics dealers like Anton Williams off the streets is an important component of our efforts to address the violence associated with drug dealing. The illicit funds and real estate that law enforcement seized in this investigation reflect our commitment to disrupting drug organizations by going after the proceeds of their trade.”
“We are proud to be partners in these vital investigations which remove criminal elements involving drugs and violence from the streets. IRS-CI will continue to lend our financial expertise in these cases,” said Darrell J. Waldon, IRS-CI Acting Special Agent in Charge.
According to Williams’ and Roundheart’s guilty pleas, in July of 2018, DEA Strike Force Group 1—part of the Baltimore OCDETF Strike Force—began an investigation of the Monument Street corridor in East Baltimore, which is known to support 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”). Investigators conducted controlled purchases of narcotics from drug distributors in the shops, including Roundheart, utilizing confidential informants and undercover Baltimore Police Department (“BPD”) officers. These undercover purchases also identified the drugs shops’ sources of supply of narcotics, including Anton Williams.
As detailed in their plea agreements, investigators intercepted calls between Williams and co-conspirators and Roundheart and other members of the conspiracy discussing the distribution of controlled substances including cocaine, heroin and fentanyl. On February 19, 2019, Roundheart distributed a tramadol/fentanyl mixture to an undercover detective who believed he was purchasing heroin. On February 22, 2019, Roundheart directed another undercover detective to an individual to purchase of four clear top vials of cocaine and 10 gelatin capsules of what the detective thought was heroin, but was a tramadol/fentanyl mixture.
The total proceeds obtained by Williams from supplying controlled substances to co-conspirators was at least $472,000. Investigators discovered that Williams had acquired multiple properties, including Rosie’s Bar, located at 482 S. Bentalou Street, Baltimore, where Williams met with co-conspirators. Williams used limited liability companies (“LLC”), associates, or family members to purchase the properties to conceal the ownership of the properties, as well as to conceal the source of funds used to purchase the properties. Investigators intercepted calls between Williams and a lender discussing the payment for Rosie’s Bar. Based on the intercepted conversations, investigators believe Williams purchased the bar with drug trafficking proceeds. Additionally, Williams and his co-conspirators used this location to meet with drug customers for the purposes of collecting money and providing controlled substances to them. Investigators also identified seven other properties in Baltimore that Williams either owned or leased.
Investigators recovered a total of $363,233 from various bank accounts associated with Williams, all of which is believed to be drug proceeds. Since Williams is not known to have a job, all of the properties are believed to be purchased with drug proceeds.
On May 22, 2019, law enforcement executed a search warrant at Williams’ residence and recovered: a firearm; a money counter; 10 cell phones, including two phones intercepted during court ordered wiretaps; and $206,444 in cash, believed to be drug proceeds. Search warrants were also executed on two vehicles used by Williams. Investigators recovered multiple bags of suspected cocaine and heroin, as well as 76 grams of fentanyl.
Throughout the course of their involvement, it was reasonably foreseeable to Williams and Roundheart, and within the scope of the conspiracy that Williams or other members of the conspiracy would distribute more than 5 kilograms of cocaine and that Roundheart or other members of the conspiracy would distribute between 500 grams and two kilograms of cocaine, as well as quantities of crack cocaine, heroin and fentanyl during the course of and in furtherance of the conspiracy.
Of the 25 defendants indicted in this case, 23—including Williams and Roundheart—have pleaded guilty or been found guilty at trial. One defendant is scheduled to go to trial in November 2021. Over the course of the Monument Street investigation, law enforcement seized kilo quantities of drugs, loaded guns, and more than $535,781 in drug proceeds.
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.
Acting United States Attorney Jonathan F. Lenzner commended the DEA, IRS-CI, 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 are prosecuting 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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