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At least 15 indicted for Brooklyn Park drug, sex trafficking gang, prosecutors say

At least 15 people have been indicted in Anne Arundel County on conspiracy and gang participation charges for their alleged roles in a criminal enterprise that dealt various drugs and trafficked women out of Brooklyn Park hotels, prosecutors say.

Though the gang primarily operated out of hotels in Brooklyn Park, members traveled around northern and western Anne Arundel County and parts of Baltimore and Baltimore County — mostly to distribute or buy drugs including heroin and fentanyl, cocaine, MDMA, methamphetamine, oxycodone and marijuana, according to the indictment, which was handed up last month.

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The gang set up camp for extended periods at the Comfort Inn and Suites on Baltimore Annapolis Boulevard, where prosecutors say it built close ties with staff members who would tip off the gang’s leader when they suspected law enforcement or rival gang members were on the property.

Prosecutors wrote that the gang’s crimes spanned at least from the beginning of December through mid-July.

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David Tico Brown, of Brooklyn Park, led the gang, which prosecutors referred to as “the Enterprise” in court papers, and built a power structure with few high-ranking members, according to the indictment. The 44-year-old insulated himself, rarely leaving his room at whichever hotel the gang was working out of, the indictment stated.

Lower-ranking members brought Brown food and groceries. Those members were required to serve drugs to new customers and the customer would be forced to take some in front of them to prove they weren’t cops, prosecutors wrote. Brown, they wrote, also surrounded himself with members inside and outside of the hotel to deflect culpability in case they were pulled over or searched.

Brown was charged with 31 offenses, including organizing, supervising and financing a gang, serving as a drug kingpin, dispensing large amounts of drugs and forcing sex trafficking, court records show. He is being held without bond at the Jennifer Road Detention Center, according to jail records.

Stephen R. Tully, Brown’s attorney, said he’d been retained recently and is “initiating my investigation” of the case.

Among Brown’s top deputies was Michael Anthony Copeland, of Glen Burnie, according to the indictment. Unlike Brown, the 41-year-old was often leaving the hotels to stock up on drugs from suppliers and sometimes deal drugs himself. After Copeland acquired a large load of drugs, prosecutors wrote that he often went to his or Brown’s hotel room to cook or repackage the drugs.

Prosecutors say Copeland and Brown personally oversaw the sex-trafficking side of the business. The two men forced women to meet with “dates” and monitor how many they went on, arranging their hotel rooms and travel, monitoring their advertisements and controlling their money. Prosecutors wrote that Copeland and Brown gave the women drugs before or after the dates.

Copeland is charged with 23 counts including participating in a criminal gang, being a drug kingpin, distributing large amounts of drugs, forcing sex trafficking, according to online court records. He is being held without bond at the Jennifer Road Detention Center, jail records show.

Anne Arundel County Public Defender William Davis, who is listed as Copeland’s attorney in court records, said he assigned the case to another public defender in his office and that the office declined to comment.

The Maryland Office of the Attorney General is prosecuting the case alongside the county State’s Attorney’s Office, a spokesperson from each of the offices said.

“The attorney general has the authority to prosecute these large scale, multi-jurisdictional organized crime cases, in this case specifically under the gang statute,” Raquel Coombs, spokeswoman for the attorney general, said in a statement.

Online court records show Anne Arundel County narcotics detectives were involved in the investigation, which led to the indictments of several others. The following were charged with conspiring in a criminal enterprise, participating in a criminal gang and drug distribution or conspiracy to distribute drugs.

  • Lawrence Oliver Jones, 35, of Brooklyn
  • Laron Ontario Matthews, 44, of Baltimore
  • Vernon Ralph Harris, 50, of Reisterstown
  • Andrew Lee Tillman, 36, of Rosedale
  • Charles Masr Edwards Jr., 54, of Baltimore
  • Antoine Crockett, 39, of Baltimore
  • John Patrick Hines, 45, of Halethorpe
  • Michael Jason Rebstock, 47, of Brooklyn
  • Justin Michael Jess, 28, of Delaware
  • William Henry Shipley Jr., 28, of Baltimore
  • Troy Wayne Dunnigan, 24, of Glen Burnie
  • Derrick Rodney Ricks, 28, of Brooklyn
  • Antoine Folkes, 51, of Pasadena

Shipley’s attorney, Jennifer Alexander, said he is “presumed innocent and he’s looking forward to demonstrating his innocence in the courtroom.”

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Dunnigan, Hines, Jones, Rebstock and Ricks did not have lawyers listed. Attorneys representing the other men either declined to comment, could not be reached or did not respond to messages.

At least three other people were implicated by the indictment but charged only with drug offenses, not with participating in a gang.

Prosecutors wrote that members of the gang purchased large amounts of chemicals frequently used to cut or dilute their drugs to boost profits. They allegedly used cell phones designed to shield communication. Members also sent coded text messages.

Gang members were known to carry loaded firearms or keep them stored in rooms or residences, according to the indictment. They carried out “violent crimes in order to establish dominance and exert control over the gang’s territory” and to deter rivals, prosecutors wrote.

The indictment did not outline any specific crimes of violence.

Prosecutors wrote they threatened people to prevent them from cooperating with investigators and had lookouts who would alert them if law enforcement, uniformed or undercover, was around. But on various occasions, gang members dealt drugs to informants, whose names have been kept secret, according to the indictment.

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