(STL.News) – Yesterday, Takii Nikeya Smith, age 44, of Cambridge, Maryland, pleaded guilty to the federal charges of conspiracy to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine, possession with intent to distribute cocaine, and to being a felon in possession of a firearm.
The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; Special Agent in Charge John Eisert of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Baltimore; and the members of the Dorchester and Wicomico County Narcotics Task Forces, including: Colonel William M. Pallozzi, Superintendent of the Maryland State Police; Dorchester County Sheriff James W. Phillips, Jr.; Chief Mark Lewis of the Cambridge Police Department; Chief Bruce Jones of the Hurlock Police Department; Wicomico County Sheriff Mike Lewis; Chief Barbara Duncan of the Salisbury Police Department; Chief Brian Swafford of Fruitland Police Department; Dorchester County State’s Attorney William Jones; and Wicomico County State’s Attorney Jamie Dykes.
According to Smith’s guilty plea, in early 2018, an investigation was conducted into the distribution of large quantities of cocaine on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, involving hundreds of hours of physical and electronic surveillance, and numerous controlled purchases of narcotics.
Information gathered through surveillance and the execution of search warrants—one of which turned up more than a kilogram of cocaine packaged for distribution—suggested that Smith was a large-scale cocaine supplier in the area. After several weeks of surveillance, Smith was stopped by the Maryland State Police and members of the Wicomico County Narcotics Task Force as he returned to Maryland from Delaware. Smith fled the traffic stop after being advised that a police K-9 would be conducting an open-air scan of his vehicle, which led to a vehicle pursuit. Smith was ultimately apprehended when his vehicle got stuck in mud while driving over farm land. Later, after receiving citizen complaints about packages found along roadways traversed during the pursuit, law enforcement recovered two kilogram packages of cocaine. According to the guilty plea, Smith admitted that the drugs belonged to him and that he had discarded them during his flight from law enforcement.
Search warrants were subsequently executed at one of Smith’s properties in Mardela Springs, Maryland and at a trailer that Smith had stored at an auto body shop. Law enforcement recovered more than 600 grams of cocaine, a digital scale, cutting agents, and other drug distribution paraphernalia, as well as several rounds of .40-caliber ammunition from in and near the house. From the trailer, law enforcement recovered three firearms—a 9mm pistol, a .40-caliber pistol, and an AR-15 rifle—as well as $347,000 in cash in a vacuum-sealed bag. Smith knew that he was prohibited from possessing a firearm or ammunition as the result of a previous felony conviction.
Smith and the government have agreed that, if the Court accepts the plea agreement, Smith will be sentenced to 13 years in federal prison. U.S. District Judge George L. Russell, III has scheduled sentencing for March 12, 2020.
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.
United States Attorney Robert K. Hur commended HSI, and participating agencies in the Dorchester and Wicomico County Narcotics Task Forces, who are both part of the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Initiative, for their work in the investigation. Mr. Hur thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christopher M. Rigali and Christopher J. Romano who are prosecuting this Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force case.