GREENBELT, Md. (May 28, 2010) - U.S. District Judge Peter J. Messitte sentenced Nathaniel Christopher Ford, a/k/a Chris Ford, age 39, of Waldorf, Maryland, on May 25 to 210 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release for conspiring to distribute over 11 pounds of powder cocaine and crack cocaine. Judge Messitte enhanced Fords sentence upon finding he is a career offender, based on three prior convictions for conspiracy to distribute cocaine.
The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Ava Cooper-Davis of the Drug Enforcement Administration - Washington Field Division; Special Agent in Charge C. André Martin of the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation; St. Marys County Sheriff Tim Cameron; Calvert County Sheriff Mike Evans; Charles County Sheriff Rex Coffey; and Chief Roberto L. Hylton of the Prince Georges County Police Department.
According to Fords plea agreement, beginning in at least September 2006, Rodney Estep received cocaine from his sources of supply in Maryland, Georgia and elsewhere. The cocaine was smuggled back to St. Marys County, Maryland. From August 2008 to September 10, 2009, Estep supplied Ford and others with cocaine and crack cocaine for distribution in St. Marys and Charles counties. Ford sold and stored the drugs at his residence. On four occasions from August 29, 2008 through July 20, 2009, Ford sold a total of three ounces of crack cocaine to a confidential source and each of the transactions was monitored and videotaped by law enforcement.
On September 10, 2009, a search warrant was executed at Fords residence, and agents seized: approximately 3/4 ounce of crack cocaine, packaged in 39 blue baggies which were concealed inside a yellow flash light; and two digital scales containing cocaine residue and other drug paraphernalia. Ford is responsible for distributing between 11 and 33 pounds of powder cocaine, and less than a pound of crack cocaine.
To date, 10 of 13 defendants charged in this conspiracy have pleaded guilty to their participation in the drug operations, including the ringleader, Rodney Matthew Estep, Jr., a/k/a Barney Fife, age 34, of Mechanicsville, Maryland. Estep pleaded guilty to the drug conspiracy, conducting an illegal gambling business and money laundering. Estep faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years imprisonment and a maximum sentence of life in prison at his sentencing scheduled for September 14, 2010 at 9:30 a.m. Co-defendant Travis Jamar Mills, age 21, of Hollywood, Maryland, was sentenced to 10 years in prison on May 7, 2010.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended Assistant United States Attorneys James A. Crowell IV and Mara B. Zusman, who prosecuted this Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force case.
Source: Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Maryland