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Three plead guilty to dealing fentanyl -- enough to kill 16,000 people

Baltimore, MD - Over the past three days, three separate defendants have pleaded guilty to federal charges relating to the distribution of fentanyl.  First, Leslie Patillo, Jr. age 36, of Hagerstown, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to the federal charge of possession with intent to distribute 40 or more grams of fentanyl.  Second, on October 3, 2018, Kamalah Nicole Cordell, age 31, also of Hagerstown, pleaded guilty to the federal charge of conspiracy to distribute fentanyl.  Third, on October 2, 2018, Robert Luke Simpson, age 24, of Gambrills, Maryland, pleaded guilty to the federal charge of possession with intent to distribute 40 grams or more of fentanyl.  As little as 2 milligrams of fentanyl can be a lethal dose.  Each of these three defendants distributed at least 32 grams of fentanyl, or enough to kill 16,000 people.

The guilty pleas were announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; Assistant Special Agent in Charge Don A. Hibbert of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Baltimore District Office; the Washington County Narcotics Task Force, led by Washington County Sheriff Douglas Mullendore; Washington County State’s Attorney Charles P. Strong, Jr.; Acting Special Agent in Charge Cardell T. Morant of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Baltimore; Postal Inspector in Charge Peter R. Rendina of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service - Washington Division; and Anne Arundel County Police Chief Tim Altomare.

U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur stated, “Drug traffickers are on notice that dealing in fentanyl increases their odds of federal prosecution. We’re also targeting drug dealers who use guns and increase the risk of gun violence in Maryland, as well as those who buy fentanyl on the dark web and re-sell this poison to our citizens.  Working together with our local, state, and federal partners, we are determined to reduce the number of opioid overdose deaths in Maryland.”

 

Kamalah Nicole Cordell

According to her plea agreement, from at least 2017 through January 2018, Cordell conspired with others, including Antoine Henderson, to distribute fentanyl and other drugs in the area of Washington County, Maryland.  In August and September 2017, investigators conducted at least six controlled purchases of either fentanyl or crack cocaine from Cordell and/or Henderson.  According to their plea agreements, the controlled purchases were supposed to be heroin, but lab results showed that the substances provided by Cordell and/or Henderson were in fact fentanyl, not heroin.  On January 17, 2018, search warrants were executed at two locations and three vehicles associated with Cordell and Henderson.  At the stash house, located on Atlantic Drive in Hagerstown, agents recovered 80.22 grams of fentanyl, located in the bottom compartment of a Coca-Cola vending machine in the garage.  Cordell and Henderson own and operate a vending machine company.  The agents also recovered 9 mm ammunition, a drug press, digital scales, cellular phones, and other drug paraphernalia. At Cordell and Henderson’s primary residence, located on Lantern Lane in Hagerstown, the agents recovered additional cellular phones, a currency counter, jewelry, and a garage opener that opened the garage at the stash house.  Cordell admitted that her participation in the conspiracy involved at least 32 grams but less than 40 grams of fentanyl.

Leslie Patillo, Jr.

Patillo was part of the same drug organization and admitted that he distributed fentanyl and other drugs in the Washington County, Maryland area.  According to his plea agreement, on April 10, 2018, law enforcement executed a search warrant at Patillo’s residence and recovered 99.44 grams of a combination of fentanyl and heroin, as well as drug paraphernalia.  In addition, a knotted baggie was found on Patillo’s person that contained .82 grams of a combination of heroin and fentanyl.  Investigators also recovered $26,680 in cash from the home, believed to be the proceeds of Patillo’s drug distribution.  A storage unit in Patillo’s name was also searched and three guns, each packaged with a loaded magazine, were seized from the unit.  One of the magazines, packaged with a .45-caliber semi-automatic pistol, was loaded with six rounds of hollow-point ammunition.

Robert Luke Simpson

Law enforcement executed a search warrant at Simpson’s residence and found 6,200 fentanyl pills weighing approximately 369 grams, in a hidden compartment in a wall-mounted shelf and on a desk.  Officers also found $8,578 in cash, as well as cell phones, computers, iPads, and Bitcoin cryptocurrency mining equipment.  Simpson admitted that he purchased 10,000 fentanyl pills from a dark web marketplace for approximately $10,000 worth of Bitcoin cryptocurrency.  Simpson sold the fentanyl pills for $5 to $10 each to customers in Maryland.  Simpson admitted that he sold between 400 grams and 1.2 kilograms of fentanyl.

Antoine Jamel Henderson, age 35, of Hagerstown, Maryland previously pleaded guilty.  Henderson and the government have agreed that if the Court accepts the plea agreement, Henderson will be sentenced to between 10 and 15 years in federal prison.

U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett has scheduled sentencing for both Cordell and Patillo on January 3, 2019 at 11 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., respectively.  Henderson is scheduled to be sentenced on January 10, 2019, at 3:00 p.m.

U.S. District Judge George L. Russell, III has scheduled sentencing for Simpson on March 2, 2019, at 3:00 p.m.

United States Attorney Robert K. Hur commended the DEA; the Washington County Narcotics Task Force, led by Washington County Sheriff Douglas Mullendore; and Washington County State’s Attorney Charles P. Strong, Jr. for their work in the Cordell and Patillo investigation.  U.S. Attorney Hur commended HSI Baltimore, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the Anne Arundel County Police Department for the work in the Simpson investigation.  Mr. Hur thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joan C. Mathias and Michael C. Hanlon, who are prosecuting the Cordell and Patillo Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force case; and Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicolas A. Mitchell, who is prosecuting the Simpson case.

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