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Ex-Safe Streets Baltimore worker pleads to drug charge

June 29, 2021 GMT

BALTIMORE (AP) — A former employee of Baltimore’s Safe Streets program has pleaded guilty to a federal drug conspiracy charge.

Authorities say that Ronald Alexander, 50, used his affiliation with the violence reduction initiative to evade law enforcement, according to a Monday statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland.

If the court accepts the plea, he faces a sentence of between 11 and 13 years in federal prison. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for Sept. 17.

“Alexander had the opportunity to uplift his community but instead chose to pollute it with deadly narcotics that he sold to benefit only himself,” Acting U.S. Attorney Jonathan F. Lenzner said in the statement.

Investigators wiretapped Alexander’s cellphone between May and July 2020, according to his plea agreement. The investigation revealed that Alexander was operating a “drug shop.”

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He talked with co-defendant Thomas Corey Crosby every week or two about the sale of narcotics, including heroin and fentanyl. The pair would then meet, usually at a gas station, and Crosby would give drugs to Alexander, authorities said.

Law enforcement stopped Alexander twice within a span of a few days in August 2020. He said he worked for Safe Streets both times in an attempt to avoid further investigation, the plea agreement says.

When investigators found 100 grams of fentanyl in his vehicle, Alexander said he took them from a community member as part of his job to prevent crime. The drugs were seized but Alexander was let go without being arrested, court documents show.

After that stop, Alexander threw away his cellphone that investigators were tracking. Digital scales, drug packaging material, powdered caffeine and a mixture of heroin and fentanyl were found when his residences were searched.

Crosby, 51, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute controlled substances in December and was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison.