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Eight charged with operating fentanyl distribution ring in Baltimore

Eight people who looked to operate a major fentanyl distribution ring in Baltimore have been indicted on drugs, weapons and conspiracy charges, prosecutors say.

In a news release, the U.S. Attorney’s Office wrote that a federal grand jury has indicted seven Baltimore residents and an Edgewood man in connection with a conspiracy to distribute upwards of 400 grams of the synthetic opioid in the Baltimore area.

The seven Baltimore residents — Raheem Benjamin, 26, Tyrone Gholston, 39, Joshua Johnson, 28, Ellison McCrea, 28, Raynard Minter, 21, Morranda Phimpisane, 32, and April Wilkes, 36 — along with Daryl Hart, 38, of Edgewood, face a charge of conspiracy to distribute controlled dangerous substances.

Four of the defendants — Minter, Phimpisane, Johnson and Hart — face an additional charge of possession with intent to distribute either fentanyl or a heroin and fentanyl mix.

Gholston faces a charge of maintaining a drug-involved premises, as the indictment claims he “did knowingly manage and control” a residence on Cobblestone Court in Baltimore for the drug ring. The office wrote that Gholston has yet to be arrested.

Benjamin also faces two weapons offenses.

An attorney for Wilkes, the only defendant with an attorney listed in federal court records, did not return a call for comment Monday night.

The eight all face potential life sentences if convicted of the conspiracy charge.

pdavis@baltsun.com

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