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Federal prosecutors say 2017 West Baltimore shooting death was part of a turf war between rival drug dealers

A Baltimore man has been charged with the 2017 shooting death of a 22-year-old in the city as federal prosecutors say two rival gangs committed multiple murders in a turf war.

Cortez Weaver, 28, was charged with the shooting death of Maurice Finney in a July 17, 2017, double shooting in Southwest Baltimore’s Saint Joseph’s neighborhood, according to a newly released federal indictment. A second man survived the shooting.

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Weaver is the second person charged in the shooting. Dwayne Rico Torrence, 25, of Baltimore was sentenced to life in prison in March after he was found guilty in Baltimore City Circuit Court of conspiracy to commit murder, attempted first-degree murder and a firearms offense in relation to the shooting.

This is the first time federal investigators have said the shooting was related to a drug crime. Weaver and three others were “engaged in a violent feud over a lucrative drug ‘shop,' " according to the federal affidavit.

Francisco M. Rego, a special agent with the FBI, claimed in that affidavit that Jamal Jackson, Kevin Brooks and Jermaine Sumpter helped Weaver run a heroin trafficking ring based off Abington Avenue that sold upwards of 1 kilogram of heroin and cocaine in the city.

The group repeatedly feuded with a rival gang that “has ties to Benkert Avenue,” Rego wrote, and the two had been fighting over a gas station at Baltimore Street and Hilton Avenue to sell drugs.

“Multiple homicides and shootings have been linked to the turf war between these organizations,” Rego wrote. Finney was found dead outside the same gas station.

The affidavit revealed that investigators used undercover officers and confidential sources to record conversations and tie Weaver to Finney’s death. The undercover officer also persuaded Brooks, Jackson, Sumpter and Weaver to rob a drug stash house, according to the affidavit.

But the armed robbery was a setup orchestrated by an undercover officer, the affidavit claims, as investigators looked to record Weaver and his co-conspirators before ultimately arresting them in the act.

On secret recordings, Weaver said he planned to kill multiple people in the fictitious robbery.

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“Nobody coming out of there alive,” Weaver was recorded saying during a conversation Jan. 25, 2019, according to the affidavit.

“I gotta kill 'em, right; I can’t leave them alone,” Weaver said, according to federal investigators.

Officers arrested all four defendants March 7. Rego wrote that they were found with masks and firearms when arrested.

Jackson pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute heroin and a weapons charge July 12, court records show. In his plea agreement, Jackson admitted to participating in the robbery attempt.

Sumpter pleaded guilty to conspiracy to affect interstate commerce by robbery July 22, court records show. In his plea agreement, he admits he told investigators he was supposed to be the driver in the robbery.

Brooks pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute heroin and conspiracy to affect interstate commerce by robbery Aug. 1, court records show. Brooks wrote in a plea agreement that he was a street-level dealer that sold about 400 pills of narcotics per day and admitted to his participation in the robbery attempt.

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Jackson and Brooks face potential life sentences on the drug conspiracy charges while Sumpter faces up to 20 years in federal prison on the robbery charge.

As for Weaver, the newly filed indictment charges him with drug conspiracy, weapons and robbery charges as well as Finney’s death.

An attorney for Jackson declined to comment. Calls to attorneys for Brooks, Sumpter, and Weaver were not returned.

Attempts to reach an attorney for Dwayne Torrence were unsuccessful.

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