Men from Harford, Baltimore counties sentenced in federal drug trafficking case

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The final two members of a Baltimore drug-trafficking ring have been sentenced to federal prison after pleading guilty to possessing fentanyl with intent to distribute and illegal possession of firearms.

U.S. District Judge Julie R. Rubin sentenced Jermaine Steward, 33, of Gwynn Oak, Wednesday to nine years in prison, followed by four years of supervised release, after Steward pleaded guilty to federal charges of possession with intent to distribute more than 400 grams of fentanyl and being a felon in possession of a firearm. Steward is the last defendant of the Burton drug trafficking organization to plead guilty, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Justice.


Co-defendant Jamar Middleton, 35, of Edgewood, pleaded guilty April 13 to the same charges and was sentenced to 138 months in federal prison, followed by four years of supervised release.

According to Steward’s guilty plea, the Drug Enforcement Administration had launched an investigation of the Burton group, which was operating in Baltimore. On Dec. 15, 2021, law enforcement officers searched a stash house used by organization leader Edward Burton, Steward, Middleton and co-conspirator Jerrell Simms. Agents recovered 431.25 grams of mixtures or substances containing fentanyl, including a bag of 6,450 gelatin capsules containing 231.67 grams of fentanyl; another bag containing 644 gelatin capsules containing 113 grams of fentanyl; narcotics packaging materials; and other drug paraphernalia.


During the search of the stash house, officers also recovered seven firearms and ammunition, including three 9 mm handguns; an AR-15-style rifle; a .45-caliber handgun; a 7.62 x 39 mm caliber pistol; a .40-caliber rifle; .45-caliber magazines; and 7.62 x 39 mm and 9 mm ammunition.

Law enforcement officers also recovered $4,376 in cash and jewelry valued at $13,550, which were proceeds from drug trafficking. Additional firearms, cash and jewelry were recovered from other locations associated with the defendants.

Burton, 38, of Jessup, pleaded guilty on Oct. 12, 2022, and was sentenced to 13 years in federal prison. Simms, 37, of Baltimore, previously pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute fentanyl and was sentenced to 97 months in federal prison.

The guilty pleas and sentences were announced by U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron; Special Agent in Charge Jarod Forget of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Washington Division; Anne Arundel County Police Chief Amal E. Awad; Chief Robert McCullough of the Baltimore County Police Department; Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney Anne Colt Leitess; and Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger.