Upper Marlboro Man, Charles Benjamin Stewart Pleads Guilty to Heroin and Cocaine Distribution Conspiracy
Admitted Possessing Guns in Furtherance of His Drug Trafficking Business, Including Two Stolen Firearms
Greenbelt, MD (STL.News) Charles Benjamin Stewart, Jr., age 46, of Upper Marlboro, Maryland, pleaded guilty yesterday to federal charges for conspiracy to distribute heroin and cocaine; for illegally transporting a firearm obtained out of state; and for possession with intent to distribute heroin and cocaine.
The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron; Special Agent in Charge Jarod A. Forget of the Drug Enforcement Administration – Washington Field Division; Acting Special Agent in Charge L.C. Cheeks, Jr. of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Baltimore Field Division; Calvert County Sheriff Mike Evans; St. Mary’s County Sheriff Timothy K. Cameron; and Chief Malik Azziz of the Prince George’s County Police Department.
According to his guilty plea from at least June 2016 through July 2017, Stewart conspired with Patrick Nathan Broxton, Stephen Eugene Clark, Jr., Stephen Michael Kinnison, Robert Eugene Davidson, and others to distribute heroin and cocaine in Calvert and Prince George’s County. Stewart obtained heroin from Broxton and then sold smaller quantities of heroin to Kinnison, Davidson, and others. Stewart also supplied cocaine to Kinnison and others for further distribution.
During the course of the conspiracy, Stewart regularly communicated with Broxton, Clark, Kinnison, Davidson, and others, both in person and via phone calls and text messaging, to arrange their narcotics transactions. At the direction of law enforcement, a confidential informant purchased quantities of heroin, totaling 23 grams, from Stewart on four occasions between September 8, 2016 and February 10, 2017.
Law enforcement obtained court-authorized wiretaps for the cellular telephones used by Stewart, Broxton, Clark, Kinnison, and Davidson. Those intercepted communications showed that Stewart knew that Davidson and Kinnison resold portions of the drugs they purchased from Stewart to their own customers; that Broxton was obtaining distribution quantities of heroin; that Clark was obtaining distribution quantities of cocaine; and that both Broxton and Clark had other narcotics clients besides Stewart.
For example, between April 11 and 13, 2017, Stewart and Broxton communicated by telephone to arrange a heroin transaction at a convenience store in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. Law enforcement conducted surveillance of Broxton and saw him leave his job at a drug rehabilitation facility to meet Stewart at the convenience store, where Stewart bought 150 grams of heroin from Broxton. Immediately following the meeting, Stewart returned to his residence and contacted one of his customers to see if the customer needed more heroin.
As detailed in his plea agreement, between April 15 and May 6, 2017, Stewart purchased cocaine from Clark on three occasions, totaling more than 210 grams of cocaine. For example, on April 24, 2017, Stewart arranged by phone to purchase 4.5 ounces of cocaine from Clark for $4,000. Later that day, law enforcement surveilled the meeting at a fast-food restaurant in Prince George’s County, where Stewart and Clark completed the transaction.
On July 6, 2017, law enforcement executed search warrants at locations associated with the drug distribution conspiracy, including Stewart’s two residences in Upper Marlboro. From Stewart’s residences, law enforcement recovered, among other things, a total of approximately 138 grams of heroin; approximately three grams of cocaine, crack cocaine and procaine (a local anesthetic drug); a prescription pill bottle containing approximately 89 Oxycodone pills; approximately three grams of a white powdery substance consisting of cocaine, heroin, caffeine, and diphenhydramine (an antihistamine); approximately 15 grams of cocaine; a total of $40,235 in cash; and drug paraphernalia, including an electric grinder and digital scale, both with heroin and cocaine residue; two bottles of Mannitol powder (a cutting agent); and empty zip-lock baggies. Stewart admitted that he possessed the controlled substances, baggies, and grinder as part of his drug trafficking business and intended to distribute the drugs.
In addition, law enforcement officers also located and seized a.40 caliber semi-automatic pistol loaded with nine rounds of ammunition and a spare magazine loaded with nine rounds of .40 caliber ammunition; a 9mm luger caliber semi-automatic pistol; a 12 gauge pump-action firearm; nine rounds of 9mm ammunition; approximately 21 rounds of .40 caliber ammunition; seven 12 gauge shotgun shells; and approximately $16,687 in cash. Stewart admitted that he possessed the firearms and ammunition in furtherance of his drug trafficking business. Further investigation revealed that the 12 gauge pump-action firearm and the .40 caliber semi-automatic pistol were both stolen.
According to his plea agreement, Stewart, who was not a licensed importer manufacturer, dealer, or collector of firearms and who was on probation at the time, transported, or caused to be transported firearms from outside the state of Maryland to his residence. In particular, between January 24, 2014 and July 6, 2017, Stewart caused the transportation of a Smith and Wesson model SD9VE, bearing serial number HFC4476, from outside Maryland to his residence.
Stewart and the government have agreed that if the Court accepts his plea, Stewart will be sentenced to between eight and fourteen years in federal prison. U.S. District Judge Paula Xinis has scheduled sentencing for March 1, 2022 at 10:00 a.m.
Co-defendants Patrick Nathan Broxton, age 50, of Ellicott City, Maryland; Stephen Eugene Clark, Jr., age 57, of Laurel, Maryland; Stephen Michael Kinnison, age 47, of Lusby, Maryland; and Robert Eugene Davidson, age 32, of Sunderland, Maryland, previously pleaded guilty to their roles in the conspiracy. Broxton was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison; Clark was sentenced to 19 months in federal prison; and Kinnison was sentenced to 41 months in federal prison. Davidson is scheduled to be sentenced on February 14, 2022.
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 Erek L. Barron commended the DEA, the ATF, the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office, the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office, and the Prince George’s County Police Department for their work in the investigation. Mr. Barron thanked Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Jared Engelking and Assistant U.S. Attorney Adam K. Ake, who are prosecuting the case.