Paul Alexander built a drug empire in Baltimore that generated more than $4 million in profits, prosecutors say, as he and others worked with Chinese money launderers and — possibly — a Mexican drug cartel to push cocaine, heroin and fentanyl in the city and its surrounding counties.
According to court documents, investigators have seized at least 10 kilograms of suspected fentanyl, the deadly synthetic opioid largely blamed for the increase in overdose deaths, along with several luxury cars, Rolex watches and diamond bracelets. Prosecutors say Alexander had a number of co-conspirators who helped hide his assets by renting apartments and buying vehicles in others’ names.
Alexander was the ringleader of a trafficking ring brought 25 to 50 kilograms of cocaine, heroin and fentanyl into Baltimore every month, according to a federal affidavit filed by Ryan Kotowski, a special agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Kotowski alleged in the document that Alexander hid his fortune in cars, jewelry and apartments all in his girlfriend’s name and laundered money through a barbershop she ran in Owings Mills.
Arrested in January, Alexander has been indicted on charges of conspiracy to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl as well as federal firearms offenses.
Federal authorities began investigating Alexander and five alleged co-conspirators in May 2017, according to Kotowski’s affidavit. DEA agents were watching April 26, 2018, when Alexander examined a yellow bag with another man at an undisclosed location, according to court documents.
Baltimore County police pulled Alexander over and found a vacuum-sealed bag of cash, Kotowski wrote.
Three weeks later, police stopped Alexander again — for illegal window tint — and found more than $420,000 in the car after a K-9 search.
Alexander’s attorney, Russell Neverdon, challenged the legality of that stop, arguing police “were on a fishing expedition." Neverdon requested that all evidence seized during the stop and thereafter be suppressed in the trial, writing that items seized during the search — including a cable bill for an address of Alexander’s girlfriend — helped investigators continue their surveillance and ultimately search the woman’s Hanover apartment in January.
A federal judge ruled this week that the traffic stop was legal and the evidence will be allowed. The judge has yet to rule whether evidence seized at another Hanover apartment will be permitted.
As investigators continued their surveillance of Alexander and others for months last year, they observed Derrell Dixon twice picking up bags investigators believed contained drugs from “men of a Spanish/Mexican descent” at a truck stop in Upper Marlboro in Prince George’s County, according to Kotowski’s affidavit.
Dixon also delivered drug money to “Chinese money launderers” four times in Arundel Mills mall in Hanover, Kotowski wrote.
On Nov. 6, 2018, DEA caught Dixon and Teraino Johnson, 46, of Baltimore, in the parking lot of the Garden Bar in East Baltimore conducting a drug transaction for more than 2 kilograms of fentanyl and a fentanyl derivative, according to court documents.
Johnson was found with $138,000 in cash while Dixon was found with the fentanyl, Kotowski wrote.
The two men pleaded guilty to related charges of conspiracy to distribute drugs in April.
On Jan. 2, DEA investigators executed a search warrant on Alexander’s Hanover apartment, seizing “large amounts of United States currency, jewelry, and a pistol,” Kotowski wrote.
Alexander was arrested the next day.
If convicted, Alexander could face up to life in prison on the drug conspiracy charge. The government has required he forfeit $4.4 million in cash as well as a 2018 Mercedes Benz, a 2017 Land Rover, a 2018 Volvo and several pieces of jewelry.
Dixon and Johnson also face potential life sentences after their pleas.
Alexander has been charged with, and convicted of, various drug crimes dating to the early 1990s.
According to Maryland court records, Alexander was first charged with drug distribution in January 1993, as he faced several drug possession and distribution charges.
All the charges were dropped, but Alexander faced numerous assault, robbery and drug distribution offenses between 1994 and 2005, court records show.
Alexander was last sentenced in 2006 to four years in prison “for possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance,” Kotwoski wrote, but it isn’t clear from Maryland court records to which case Kotowski is referring.
There are a number of alleged co-conspirators in the latest case who have not been charged.
Breaking News Alerts Newsletter
As it happens
Get updates on the coronavirus pandemic and other news as it happens with our free breaking news email alerts.
They include Alexander’s girlfriend, who ran the Vision’s Barber Shop in Owings Mills and who Kotowski said hid his fortune by buying jewelry, cars and apartments in her name, and an employee of the shop.
Latina Crosby, Alexander’s girlfriend, is listed as the resident agent of the barber shop, which Kotowski wrote the group used to launder money from drug sales. She has not been charged in the case.
Kotowski wrote that George Frink, who worked at Vision’s Barber Shop, is a ranking member within Alexander’s organization and has “links to a Mexican-based source of supply” along with Alexander. He has not been charged in the case.
Alexander and Frink “have had a working relationship distributing controlled dangerous substances dating back to approximately 2009-2010,” according to Kotowski’s affidavit.
In 2013, Frink was arrested, and in his plea agreement admitted that officers found about 14 kilograms of cocaine in his 2007 Cadillac Escalade. He was sentenced to 51 months in prison and released in August 2017.