(STL.News) – During the month of July, the U.S. Attorney’s Office charged 16 alleged felons in federal court with illegal possession of firearms in Baltimore City under the Maryland Exile Program, which specifically targets gun crime by combining local, state, and federal law enforcement efforts; community action and revitalization; and public awareness. The use of federal resources and statutes, which carry significant terms of imprisonment, is especially helpful in prosecuting repeat violent offenders, who pose the greatest threat to public safety.
The federal charges were announced by United States Attorney Robert K. Hur; Special Agent in Charge Timothy Jones of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives – Baltimore Field Division; Commissioner Michael Harrison of the Baltimore Police Department; State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby of the State’s Attorney’s Office for Baltimore City; and Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh.
“Reducing violent crime in Baltimore is job one. We have remained focused on reducing the gun crime that plagues our City, in spite of the challenges posed by the pandemic,” said U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur. “We and our partners will continue to do everything we can to focus on prosecuting the repeat violent offenders who wreak havoc in and terrorize Baltimore’s neighborhoods.”
“Violent offenders brazenly use firearms in Baltimore with no regard for human life and the innocent people who live here. ATF and our partners continue to do everything in our power to bring these criminals to justice,” said ATF Baltimore Special Agent in Charge Timothy Jones. “When both law enforcement and attorneys at the local, state, and federal level work as a team, it allows investigators to utilize every available resource, expand investigations, and ensure successful prosecutions. The community is a member of this team too. We urge Baltimore citizens to come forward with any information that will help law enforcement get trigger-pullers out of these neighborhoods.”
The 16 defendants listed below, all from Baltimore, were charged in federal court in July for illegal possession of a firearm by a prohibited person:
Quanta Butler age 43;
Tavon Conyers, age 40;
Rashaun Curtis, age 22;
Michael Eaddy, age 33;
Antonio Johnson, age 20;
Desmond Johnson, age 25;
Demetrius Mayes, age 32;
Richard McCardell, age 38;
Dwayne Purdie, age 27;
Nathaniel Ratchford, age 35;
Reginald Raysor, age 28;
Michael Sanders, age 36;
James Stansbury, age 48;
Sedrick Sutton, age 30;
Larry Warfield, age 28; and
Bryant Williams, age 34.
Four of the defendants—Butler, Desmond Johnson, Mayes, and Raysor—were previously convicted and/or investigated as part of federal investigations of gangs operating in the Cherry Hill area of Baltimore.
The United States Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners are continuing our efforts to address the gun violence plaguing the Baltimore area by using federal statutes prohibiting felons from possessing firearms. These types of reactive gun cases are part of the Exile program. Maryland EXILE is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (“PSN”), our violent-crime reduction strategy. The United States Attorney’s Office, through the use of Project Safe Neighborhoods and Project Guardian, will continue to pursue felons with guns who constitute a clear and present danger to the safety and welfare of the citizens of Baltimore.
If convicted, the defendants each face a maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm and/or ammunition. Several of the defendants are facing additional charges related to drug distribution. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. All of the defendants will have an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in the near future, if they have not already.
An indictment is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.
These cases are all 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.
The cases are also part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local, and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information-sharing; and ensures that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities.