Heroin dealer faces prison time with plea bargain


A major Baltimore heroin dealer faces nearly 20 years in prison without parole after pleading guilty yesterday in U.S. District Court to income tax evasion and maintaining a continuing criminal enterprise.

Robert Bruce Dowdy, 35, will be sentenced Dec. 13 by Judge Frank A. Kaufman. The plea agreement made yesterday calls for a no-parole sentence of between 210 and 236 months.

Last February, about 240 federal agents and local detectives broke the back of Dowdy's drug organization when they raided 35 locations in Baltimore, Baltimore County and Howard County. The officers confiscated more than $1 million, nearly 2,000 bags of heroin packaged for street sale and 16 automobiles, among them Dowdy's 1989 Mercedes-Benz. Authorities said Dowdy, formerly of the 1700 block of Winford Road in Northeast Baltimore, bought the car for $49,000 in cash.

The raids in which Dowdy and 10 others were arrested culminated a six-month investigation by the federal Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force and local police departments. Part of the investigation involved an undercover police officer buying $30,000 worth of heroin from Dowdy's organization.

Authorities believe that Dowdy's organization brought more than 50 pounds of heroin into Baltimore annually -- enough to supply the city's 20,000 addicts for 20 days. Dowdy and his cohorts apparently plowed the profits into luxury items such as cars, furs and jewelry, and bought weapons to defend themselves.

During the February raids, stacks of $100 bills were found inside a cereal box in one apartment; at another apartment, authorities found bank-quality machines used to count paper money.

Dowdy's arrest and his conviction yesterday capped the most successful investigation by authorities into the dealings of the heroin wholesaler. Dowdy first came to their attention in the summer of 1986 when his pregnant wife, Kassi Lisa Dowdy, was fatally shot in the head at the couple's Baltimore County apartment. That case remains under investigation.

Last year, a federal court affidavit named Dowdy as one of the people responsible for the September 1986 contract murder of Andre Jerome Coxson. According to the affidavit, a man involved in the killing told federal investigators that Coxson had killed Dowdy's wife three months earlier and that Dowdy paid a West Baltimore drug dealer several thousand dollars to have Coxson killed. But the man who killed Coxson refused to discuss the case with authorities or to implicate Dowdy.

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