Baltimore, Maryland- Kinnard Riggs, age 47, of Baltimore, Maryland, pleaded guilty yesterday to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute a mixture containing a detectable amount of fentanyl. In an unrelated case, James Meekins, age 36, of Baltimore, Maryland pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute controlled substances.
The guilty pleas were announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron; 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 their guilty pleas, as a result of a 2019 OCDETF Strike Force investigation led by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Riggs and Meekins were identified as associates of unrelated drug trafficking organizations (DTO) known as the “Special” DTO and the “Bullseye” DTO; respectively.
Between September and October 2019 investigators intercepted communications of individuals associated with the Special and Bullseye DTOs and observed both defendants conducting trafficking activity, including hand to hand drug transactions within their respective DTO’s territory. Intercepted communications and observations established that both DTOs operated on a daily basis.
Specifically, in November 2019, during a controlled purchase involving an undercover officer, Riggs gave two DTO associates a clear bag and engaged in a hand-to-hand drug transaction in an alley. Soon after that transaction, the undercover officer purchased 10 gelatin fentanyl capsules from the same two DTO associates. Chemical analysis of these purchases identified the presence of fentanyl.
Likewise, investigators conducted controlled purchases in the known territory of the Bullseye DTO from co-conspirators who advised their narcotics as being “Bullseye”. Subsequent analysis of the substances obtained during the controlled purchases identified a detectable amount of fentanyl.
In November and December of 2019, investigators executed search and seizure warrants at locations associated with the Special and Bullseye DTOs, including Riggs’ residence. As a result of the search warrant executed at Riggs’ residence, investigators recovered 19 gelatin capsules containing fentanyl and a .22 caliber pistol loaded with eight rounds of ammunition and the pistol also had an obliterated serial number. As a result of the executed search warrants at various Bullseye DTO locations and its members, investigators recovered approximately 400 grams of mixtures containing fentanyl, cutting agents used in preparing controlled substances, and packaging paraphernalia.
Riggs and Meekins face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison followed by up to a lifetime of supervised release for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute controlled substances. U.S. District Judge James K. Bredar has scheduled sentencing for June 14, 2022, at 2:00 p.m. and June 15, 2022, at 10:00 a.m. for Riggs and Meekins; respectively.
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 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. PSN, an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime, is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. 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.
United States Attorney Erek L. Barron commended the DEA and the Baltimore Police Department for their work in the investigation. Mr. Barron thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles Austin, who is prosecuting the cases.
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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