Baltimore Marijuana Dealer, Moses Lewis Pleads Guilty to Federal Charges of Discharging a Firearm in Relation to a Drug Trafficking Crime
Shot and Killed a Rival Drug Dealer; Expected to be Sentenced to Between 20 and 25 Years in Federal Prison
Baltimore, MD (STL.News) Moses Lewis, age 36, of Baltimore, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to a federal charge of discharging a firearm in relation to a drug trafficking crime, resulting in the death of the victim.
The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; 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.
“Federal, state, and local law enforcement are working together to target leaders and key members of violent gangs operating in Baltimore City,” said U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur. “We will not tolerate armed drug traffickers peddling death through drugs and gun violence in our neighborhoods. Moses Lewis now faces at least 20 years in federal prison, where there is no parole—ever. Please put down the gun. You’ll save a life, maybe even your own.”
According to his guilty plea, from at least November 2018 through February 22, 2019, Lewis was part of a conspiracy that regularly sold marijuana in the area of Wylie Avenue and Park Heights Avenue in Baltimore. Lewis and others who participated in the conspiracy sold marijuana in street-level quantities to customers. Lewis and the other members of the conspiracy had social and/or family ties in the area. Individuals who were not from the area were not permitted to sell marijuana in the area. Members of the conspiracy frequently carried firearms to protect themselves from others who may want to rob them of drugs or their drug proceeds.
As detailed in the plea agreement, on February 22, 2019, Lewis and other co-conspirators were standing in the area of Wylie Avenue and Park Heights Avenue and selling marijuana. Lewis and “Co-conspirator 1” were each armed with handguns. While Lewis was standing outside, his attention was drawn to a vehicle that was repeatedly driving around the area. Co-conspirator 1 recognized the driver of the vehicle, “RH,” as a drug trafficker from the area who was not a member of the marijuana conspiracy and noticed that RH was accompanied by several unknown persons. Based on RH’s erratic driving behavior and his presence in the area with no discernable purpose, Lewis and Co-conspirator 1 suspected that RH and his associates were intending to rob them of drugs and drug proceeds, and/or to physically harm them.
RH returned to the area, parking the vehicle he was operating outside a store where Lewis and Co-conspirator 1 regularly sold marijuana. When RH stepped out of the vehicle, Lewis called RH over to speak to him. Lewis and Co-conspirator 1 saw that RH was armed with a firearm and Co-conspirator 1 attempted to disarm RH, ultimately disarming him after a brief struggle.
During the struggle, “AS” and Deondre Johnson, the two occupants of RH’s vehicle, got out of the vehicle and began running away. RH broke away from Lewis and Co-conspirator 1 and ran away with AS and Johnson, with Lewis and Co-conspirator 1 in pursuit. Both Lewis and Co-conspirator 1 repeatedly fired their handguns at RH, AS, and Johnson. Johnson was struck several times by the gunfire and died. Lewis and Co-conspirator 1 fled from the scene, but witnesses identified Lewis and Co-conspirator 1 and their roles in the killing of Johnson.
Lewis and the government have agreed that, if the Court accepts the plea agreement, Lewis will be sentenced to at least 20 years, but no more than 25 years, in federal prison. U.S. District Judge George L. Russell has scheduled sentencing for March 25, 2021, at 10:00 a.m.
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. 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.
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 Robert K. Hur commended the DEA and the Baltimore Police Department for their work in the investigation. Mr. Hur thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matthew Della Betta and Michael Goldsticker, who are prosecuting the case.