Annapolis drug suspect pleads guilty

Despite being sought by federal authorities on gun charges and a week after being released on bail on a state drug case, 19-year-old Delmarcus Branford continued to sell drugs in Annapolis in September 2009, authorities said.

On Thursday, Branford pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Baltimore to distributing crack cocaine and possession of firearms in a drug trafficking enterprise. He could receive life in federal prison when sentenced June 25.

His case is part of the Capital City Safe Streets initiative set up in 2008 to bring local, state and federal law enforcement officers to Annapolis to combat the drug and crime problem in public housing.

Last summer, Branford was targeted by Annapolis police and agents of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

He sold 87 grams of crack and two guns — a .38-caliber revolver and a .357 Magnum revolver — to informants between June and August, according to his plea agreement in federal court.

Meanwhile, local police were investigating Branford and suspected drug dealing on Newtowne Drive in Annapolis. The plea agreement says detectives saw Branford pull plastic bags of crack cocaine from his pockets and sell them to customers. On Sept. 22, police said they chased him and seized a bag with 49 smaller bags of crack and $1,626.

He was charged with state drug offenses and released on bail. Federal prosecutors later issued a warrant charging him in the sale of guns and drugs to federal informants. Authorities arrested him Sept. 29 in Annapolis after stopping his blue Hyundai Sonata. Police said he jumped from the car, leaving behind crack, heroin and two "bulletproof neck guards."

State prosecutors dropped their charges and federal authorities combined both cases into one.

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