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Accused dealers face prison time for fentanyl linked death

(L) Rodney Coby (R) Steven Jerome

Greenbelt, MD –  A federal grand jury today returned a superseding indictment charging Rodney Mondell Coby, a/k/a “Cuz,” age 29, of Waldorf, Maryland, and Steven Jerome, age 31, of Leonardtown, Maryland, with distribution of fentanyl resulting in death.  Coby is also charged with possession with intent to distribute controlled substances, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, and with being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition.  Coby was initially indicted on the drug distribution and gun charges on May 21, 2018.  The superseding indictment added Jerome as a new defendant and three counts of distribution of fentanyl resulting in death.

The superseding indictment was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; Acting Special Agent in Charge Scott Hoernke of the Drug Enforcement Administration - Washington Field Division; St. Mary’s County Sheriff Tim Cameron; and Charles County Sheriff Troy D. Berry.

U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur stated, “We are determined to reduce the number of opioid overdose deaths in Maryland.  We’re particularly targeting those who sell fentanyl, the drug that is killing the most of our citizens.  Drug traffickers are on notice that dealing in fentanyl increases their odds of federal prosecution.”

The six-count superseding indictment alleges that Coby and Jerome distributed fentanyl to an individual on September 6, 2017, resulting in death.  Further, the indictment charges Coby and Jerome individually with distributing fentanyl on November 29, 2017 and March 27, 2018, respectively, resulting in death.  Coby is also charged with possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine and fentanyl, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, and illegally possessing five semi-automatic pistols and 159 rounds of various types of ammunition.

If convicted, Coby and Jerome face a mandatory minimum of 20 years and up to life in prison for each of two counts of distribution of fentanyl resulting in death.  Coby also faces a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison for possession with intent to distribute controlled substances; a maximum of life in prison for possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime; and a maximum of 10 years in prison for being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition.  Coby has been in custody since his arrest on April 13, 2018.  Jerome is also detained on unrelated state charges.  The defendants are expected to have an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt, but no date has been set.

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.

United States Attorney Robert K. Hur commended the DEA and the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office for their work in the investigation.  Mr. Hur thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Gregory Bernstein and Erin Pulice, who are prosecuting the case.

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