Baltimore Robber Sentenced to More Than 10 Years in Federal Prison for Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of Drug Trafficking and a Related Drug Charge

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FILE PHOTO: American flag waves outside the U.S. Department of Justice Building in Washington

Baltimore, Maryland – U.S. District Judge Ellen L. Hollander today sentenced Billy Wesson, age 20, of Baltimore, Maryland, late yesterday to 125 months in federal prison, followed by five years of supervised release, for possession with intent to distribute cocaine and to possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.  Wesson also participated in a series of armed robberies of convenience stores.

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron; Special Agent in Charge Thomas J. Sobocinski of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office; and Commissioner Michael Harrison of the Baltimore Police Department.

According to his guilty plea, between August 4 and August 7, 2020, Wesson and a co-conspirator committed three armed robberies of convenience stores.  In the first robbery on August 4, the store clerk began to run to the rear of the store when she saw the robbers enter.  Wesson chased after the employee, caught up with her and walked her back to the cash register, which she opened at gunpoint.  In the second robbery on August 6, Wesson approached a store employee from behind and placed the gun to the back of the employee’s head, telling her to “go to the register and open it.”  Wesson walked the employee to the register area and again ordered her to open the register, which she did.  In the third robbery on August 7, which was committed less than an hour after the second robbery, Wesson pointed a gun at a store employee immediately upon entering the store.  Wesson ordered the employee to open the register, which he did, but the employee could only open the first cash drawer and not the second drawer.  As in the two previous robberies, Wesson took the cash from the drawer and fled the store.

As detailed in his plea agreement, on the evening of August 8, 2020, four Baltimore Police Department officers were conducting routine patrol in an unmarked vehicle in 5100 block of Midwood Avenue in the Winston-Govans neighborhood in Northwest Baltimore.  There was a party in the area and individuals were in the street and on the sidewalk.  The officers saw an individual, later identified as Wesson, wearing a satchel across the right side of his body and conducting a “security check,” indicating that Wesson was armed.

The officers stopped and began to get out of their car to approach Wesson.  Wesson fled, followed by the four officers.  As he ran from the officers, Wesson threw his satchel on the sidewalk not far from one of the homes on Midwood Avenue, where it was almost immediately recovered by law enforcement.  The satchel was searched and was found to contain a loaded firearm that matched the gun used in the robberies.  The satchel also contained multiple baggies of cocaine packaged for street-level distribution.
Wesson was caught and searched.  On Wesson’s person, law enforcement recovered $279 in cash—proceeds from his drug trafficking—and suspected marijuana.  Wesson was arrested and subsequently admitted that he possessed the firearm in connection with and in furtherance of his illegal business selling cocaine and that he knew he was prohibited from possessing a firearm or ammunition.

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 FBI and the Baltimore Police Department for their work in the investigation.  Mr. Barron thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Paul A. Riley and Colleen McGuinn, 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 https://www.justice.gov/usao-md/project-safe-neighborhoods-psnexile and https://www.justice.gov/usao-md/community-outreach.

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