The man prosecutors said fashioned himself as the “godfather” of a violent Northwest Baltimore gang was sentenced to life in prison Tuesday after he was found guilty of racketeering charges, including committing and ordering multiple murders on behalf of the gang.
In a news release, the U.S. Attorney’s Office wrote that Dante Bailey, also known as “Gutta,” 40, of Baltimore, was sentenced to life in federal prison after he was convicted April 30 of racketeering charges for his role in the “Murdaland Mafia Piru” (MMP) gang that operated in northwest Baltimore and parts of Baltimore County.
In an extensive indictment filed in 2017 against Bailey and a number of other defendants, prosecutors claimed that Bailey ran the gang as its “godfather,” setting up drug deals and sales, engaging in deadly shootouts and intimidating witnesses from 2011 to early 2016.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office wrote that Bailey and others “operated street-level drug distribution shops in various locations in Northwest Baltimore City and neighboring Baltimore County, where they sold large volumes of heroin and crack cocaine.”
Prosecutors wrote that the gang — an offshoot of the Bloods gang that prosecutors wrote formed after 28 members of the Tree Top Piru faction of the Bloods were arrested in 2008 — was responsible for a number of murders in the city and killed some of its own members for not paying dues to the group or being disloyal.
Bailey himself “ordered and committed numerous murders in order to retaliate against rivals, impose discipline within the gang, and eliminated potential witnesses against the gang,” the office wrote. He was also found guilty of distributing heroin and crack cocaine in Northwest Baltimore.
According to the office, Bailey’s violent reign of terror spanned years. Between October 2012 and September 2017, the office wrote, Bailey ordered or committed five murders in the city and county, including one hit he sent out while awaiting trial.
An attorney for Bailey did not return calls for comment Tuesday.
The office wrote that Bailey’s targets were varied, ranging from fellow gang members who exhibited “disloyalty” to the gang to rival gang members they suspected of killing their own.
According to prosecutors, Bailey went so far as to write “an autobiographical screenplay featuring the members of [the gang] and describing acts of violence similar to ones [gang] members are known to have carried out.”
In addition, the indictment reads that when Bailey was found on May 17, 2016, with about 94 grams of heroin, he had “a handwritten note containing the [gang’s] oath and a list of disciplinary actions for ‘Level 1,’ ‘Level 2,’ and ‘Level 3’ violations.”
“Dante Bailey led the violent and destructive MMP gang that brought terror and death to Baltimore and Baltimore County neighborhoods with guns and drugs,” U.S. Attorney Robert Hur wrote in a statement. “Now, Dante Bailey will spend the rest of his life in federal prison, where there are no suspended sentences and no parole—ever.”
In addition to Bailey, fellow gang member Jamal Lockley, 40, of Baltimore, was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison after he was found guilty of racketeering and weapons charges. The office wrote that Lockley dealt drugs and tampered with witnesses on behalf of the gang.
An attorney for Lockley did not return calls for comment.
The gang fashioned itself as one akin to the Italian mafia, as prosecutors wrote the gang adopted tropes from the mafia, including Bailey referring to himself as the “Don,” and having members recite an oath of loyalty called the “Omertà Code,” a reference to a code of silence adopted by the Italian mafia.
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And the gang had a reputation for violent retaliation against anyone who threatened the gang’s proceeds, which prosecutors wrote were particularly lucrative at the gang’s drug shop in the 5200 block of Windsor Mill Road at a BP gas station.
“It was not unusual for [gang] members and associates to sell over a kilogram of drugs per week at this location, which could translate to over $100,000 in drug revenue per week,” the indictment reads.
In 2015, the gang reached an agreement with the Black Guerrilla Family, prosecutors wrote, to form an alliance called the “Black Blood Brotherhood,” which saw the two gangs contract out killings to the other gang to throw off law enforcement’s investigations.
The gang also looked to assert its control over its drug shops. Prosecutors wrote that members would post videos to social media threatening rival gangs and drug traffickers while members carried out shootings to protect its territory.
Bailey himself was charged with a weapons offense after investigators saw him post photos of himself with firearms at a gun shop and firing range in Lutherville-Timonium, court documents show.
The two convictions are the latest in the sprawling case, which began in 2016 when two dozen alleged Murdaland Mafia Piru members were indicted on racketeering and drug charges.
A number of other defendants have pleaded guilty to participating in the gang, including Dontray Johnson, also known as “Gambino,” who admitted to killing two fellow gang members for not following the group’s rules.