Baltimore rapper YGG Tay — real name Davante Harrison — was convicted Friday afternoon on all counts in the drugs and weapons case against him by a federal jury.
He faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison.
Harrison, 26, elected to go to trial on charges of drug conspiracy, firearm possession and gun possession in furtherance of a drug conspiracy, with his defense attorney telling jurors in opening statements Tuesday that while he was caught with a gun and drugs, there was no evidence that he was part of a distribution conspiracy.
“The evidence showed he was a purchaser of narcotics, not a distributor,” his attorney, John Cox, said after the verdict.
But prosecutors contended that Harrison was a calculated high-level dealer who was careful about his movements, and slipped up in November 2019 when agents went to serve a search warrant on him and found drugs and the weapon. There were 3.2 grams of mixed heroin and fentanyl and 8 grams of fentanyl found in the center console of his vehicle — more than a personal use amount, prosecutors said.
Harrison has been in the crosshairs of investigators for years. Federal authorities previously said that he offered a $20,000 bounty to kill a police informant who was gunned down, and supplied cocaine and heroin to a murderous group called Trained to Go.
According to prosecutors in an attempted murder case in 2016, the entertainment group “YBS”, or “Young Ballers Shining” allegedly had a conflict with Harrison’s “Young Go Getters” group that precipitated the shooting death of rapper Lor Scoota.
Harrison told The Sun that the allegations against him were “completely false.” He called his beef with Scoota “dumb” and said it was quashed immediately.
“I don’t want people out there thinking I’m into this stuff. They’re trying to damage my name,” he said of the bounty allegation.
In the meantime, his profile as a musician — locally and beyond — had been growing. During the period in 2019 that authorities were following him, he spent considerable time in California working on his music, and his attorney said he had been sending beats and samples to the well-known rapper Pusha T.
Prosecutors told jurors that Harrison was observed going repeatedly to the Delaware Park Casino to gamble, possible evidence of money laundering, but his attorney said casino records show he was an avid gambler on sporting events.
On some of those trips, he was accompanied by a man named Christopher Jerry, and was observed at Jerry’s South Baltimore apartment, where authorities later found drugs, a money counter and a firearm. Jerry has pleaded guilty to charges related to that raid.
Cox, Harrison’s attorney, said authorities merely watched two friends hanging out — Harrison went to Jerry’s apartment on a football game day, wearing a Ravens jersey, and agents observed a pizza being delivered. Harrison then went to the Ravens game at nearby M&T Bank Stadium and returned to crash for the night.
“Where there’s smoke, there might be fire,” defense attorney John Cox said. “There might also [just] be a barbeque.”
Federal authorities were able to get a judge to sign off on search warrants, however, and when they moved in on Harrison he was in possession of a firearm with an extended magazine, and had drugs in his car. Cox said that while Harrison was carrying the gun, it wasn’t in furtherance of drug trafficking. The drugs were for personal use, he said, saying Harrison had a drug addiction.