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Meth Dealer Sentenced to 15 Yrs in Federal Prison for Two Drive-By Shootings and Distributing Drugs

Greenbelt, MD – U.S. District Judge George J. Hazel yesterday sentenced Josue Balbino Ruiz-Reyes, age 25, of Adelphi, Maryland, to 15 years in federal prison, followed by five years of supervised release, for conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamines and for using, carrying, brandishing, and discharging a firearm in connection with a drug trafficking offense. 

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; Special Agent in Charge Rob Cekada of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Baltimore Field Division; and Acting Chief Marcus Jones of the Montgomery County Police Department.

United States Attorney Robert K. Hur stated, “All too often, guns and drugs go hand in hand—and both are killers. As today’s sentence demonstrates, we are committed to getting both off of our streets and to reducing violent crime in our neighborhoods.  Josue Ruiz-Reyes will now serve 15 years in federal prison, where there is no parole—ever.  Please, put down the guns and save a life—maybe even your own.”

According to his guilty plea, from about 2016 through November 21, 2018, Ruiz-Reyes conspired with others, including Individual 1, to distribute methamphetamine.  During that time, Ruiz-Reyes distributed crystal methamphetamine to individuals in and around Maryland in exchange for cash, services, or items of value, such as hotel stays.  In October or November 2018, Ruiz-Reyes paid Individual 1 approximately $500 in cash for a future delivery of methamphetamine.  Despite repeated requests from Ruiz-Reyes, Individual 1 failed to deliver the methamphetamine or repay the money.

As detailed in his plea agreement, late on November 15 or early November 16, 2018, Ruiz-Reyes drove a silver-colored vehicle to a house on Twig Road in Silver Spring, Maryland, where he knew Individual 1 often stayed with Individual 2.  Ruiz-Reyes repeatedly fired a 9mm semi-automatic pistol at the Twig Road House in retaliation for Individual 1’s failure to pay the drug debt, and to induce Individuals 1 and 2 to repay the drug debt.  In the evening of November 16, 2018, Ruiz-Reyes returned to the house in his silver vehicle and again discharged his weapon at the house over the drug debt owed to him by Individual 1.  Ruiz-Reyes also sent threatening messages over social media to Individual 2 regarding the drug debt.

On November 21, 2018, Ruiz-Reyes was arrested in Hanover, Maryland, as he returned to his car in the parking lot of a casino/hotel.  Officers executed a search warrant on the vehicle and recovered: the 9mm semi-automatic pistol used in the shooting, as well as spent shell casings from the exterior windshield and floorboard of the car; 20 small bags of crystal methamphetamine, weighing a total of 19.02 grams; a digital scale; empty clear plastic bags; two glass pipes; a knife; and a ski mask.

This case was made possible by investigative leads generated from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives’ (ATF) National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN).  NIBIN is the only national network that allows for the capture and comparison of ballistic evidence to aid in solving and preventing violent crimes involving firearms.  NIBIN is a proven investigative and intelligence tool that can link firearms from multiple crime scenes, allowing law enforcement to quickly disrupt shooting cycles.  For more information on NIBIN, visit https://www.atf.gov/firearms/national-integrated-ballistic-information-network-nibin.

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 the ATF and Montgomery County Police Department for their work in the investigation.  Mr. Hur thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Catherine K. Dick and Leah B. Grossi, who prosecuted the case.

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