As Eric Adams packaged heroin inside a $2,200-a-month apartment in Locust Point this spring, the Drug Enforcement Administration was watching.
After tracking an alleged co-conspirator to the apartment, agents received court authorization in May to install video equipment inside the McHenry Row apartment. They looked on, over a closed-circuit feed, as he put on latex gloves, cut up heroin and used a heat sealer to package it in bags.
An indictment charging Adams and 10 others with being part of a drug conspiracy was unsealed in U.S. District Court on Friday, records show. The indictment contains sparse details of the case, but complaints and search warrants related to two of the defendants shed some light on the investigation.
Adams is being held in federal custody, and his attorney did not return a phone call seeking comment.
Baltimore Police task force officers and DEA agents investigating the drug organization tracked an alleged co-conspirator named Claudis Lassiter to McHenry Row in March, and saw him meet with Adams, who earlier in the day had carried two bags into an apartment, according to court records.
Authorities learned the apartment was being rented under a fake name, using a fictitious drivers license and earning statements from a company that agents were unable to verify exists, authorities say. A "1-800" number that rings to a free cruise giveaway line was listed as the contact number.
After obtaining a covert entry warrant, known as a "sneak and peak," agents went inside and found heat sealing bags, a 20-ton hydraulic press, a backpack containing metal sifters, a scale, and a trash bag containing plastic gloves — all items the DEA says are associated with drug packaging.
Once a federal judge allowed agents to install video recording equipment inside the apartment, their suspicions were confirmed as they watched Adams process heroin on May 10 for more than five hours, according to the DEA. Authorities eventually recovered heroin, suspected fentanyl and allergy medicine during a raid, records show.
The drug operation has ties to Western Maryland, with one of the defendants arrested in Hagerstown after being observed meeting with Adams. Other men charged in the case have listed addresses in North Carolina and South Carolina and face gun charges.
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.
On May 19, agents executed search warrants at several locations in Glen Burnie and Owings Mills, and sought to locate a vehicle operated by Lassiter, whom they had been tracking when they first stumbled onto the McHenry Row apartment.
Investigators located Lassiter at Hemison Court in Pikesville and attempted to speak with him. According to the DEA, Lassiter jumped into his Honda Odyssey, sped out of a parking space and rammed an oncoming DEA agent's vehicle. In the spare tire compartment of his trunk, agents found a loaded .380-caliber semi-automatic handgun, and large stacks of cash and six cellphones in the front passenger seat compartment, court records show.
Lassiter was previously sentenced to five years in federal prison in 2007 after being indicted in a cocaine conspiracy case.
The superseding indictment charging Adams, Lassiter and the other alleged co-conspirators was handed up on June 6 and unsealed Friday.