Defendant Caught With Crack Cocaine and Firearm
WASHINGTON (STL.News)– Orlando Bell, 37, of Washington, D.C., was sentenced today to 130 months in prison for his role in a drug trafficking organization that distributed large amounts of heroin, methamphetamine, and cocaine in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.
The announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu, Nancy McNamara, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, and Peter Newsham, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).
Bell was found guilty by a jury on Oct. 31, 2018, following a trial in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, of one count of possession with intent to distribute cocaine base and one count of using, possessing, and carrying a firearm during a drug trafficking offense. He was sentenced by the Honorable Trevor N. McFadden. Following his prison term, Bell will be subject to deportation proceedings to Jamaica.
The charges arose from a long-term investigation into people suspected of acting as wholesale distributors of heroin and cocaine in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. Bell and numerous other defendants were indicted in December 2017 for their roles in the operation. A total of 12 people faced charges in the investigation; 10 pled guilty and two, including Bell, were found guilty of charges at trial.
The investigation determined that from at least January 2016 through December 2017, the various defendants maintained a drug trafficking organization that supplied distribution amounts of crack cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin to drug dealers in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia. Much of the activity took place in the Birney Place area of Southeast Washington. In particular, the investigation showed that several of the defendants regularly sold crack cocaine and heroin in the 2600 block of Birney Place SE.
According to the government’s evidence, Bell obtained crack cocaine from suppliers and redistributed it. On March 8, 2017, law enforcement conducted a traffic stop of Bell and recovered approximately seven grams of crack cocaine and a small-caliber pistol.
The prosecution grew out of the efforts of the FBI/MPD Safe Streets Task Force, a multi-agency team that conducts comprehensive, multi-level attacks on major drug trafficking and money laundering organizations. The prosecution was sponsored and supported by the federal Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF).
In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Liu, Assistant Director in Charge McNamara, and Chief Newsham commended the work of those who investigated the case from the Safe Streets Task Force, including the FBI, MPD, U.S. Park Police, Prince George’s County, Md. Police, Prince William County, Va., Police, and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF). They also acknowledged the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Supervisory Paralegal Specialist Mary Downing, Paralegal Specialist Candace Battle, and Legal Assistants Latoya Wade, Aiesha Bynum, and Peter Gaboton. Finally they expressed appreciation for the work of Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nihar R. Mohanty and Kevin L. Rosenberg, who investigated and prosecuted the case.