Baltimore, Maryland – Chanel Holland, age 36, of Glen Burnie, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to obstructing an official proceeding arising from Holland providing information regarding law enforcement activity, including sealed indictments and investigative information, to the target of a drug trafficking investigation. At the time, Holland was employed as the Human Resource Administrator in the Anne Arundel County Sheriff’s Department.
The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; Acting Special Agent in Charge Cardell T. Morant of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Baltimore; Anne Arundel County Police Chief Tim Altomare; Colonel William M. Pallozzi, Superintendent of the Maryland State Police; Special Agent in Charge Gordon B. Johnson of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office; Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney Wes Adams; and Maryland State Prosecutor Emmet C. Davitt.
“Law enforcement officers fight every day to keep our streets safe from drug dealers and other criminals who endanger our communities. Chanel Holland betrayed the trust of those officers and the citizens of Maryland,” said United States Attorney Robert K. Hur. “In doing so, she not only broke the law, but also put lives at risk. This prosecution holds her accountable for those actions.”
According to Holland’s plea agreement, as a result of an investigation into a violent drug trafficking organization, on June 8, 2018, sealed indictments were returned for 10 individuals, including Traymont Wiley (a/k/a “Whamp”), who was believed to be the leader of the organization. The organization operated in Anne Arundel County and elsewhere, and was believed to be associated with several murders in Anne Arundel County. Sealed arrest warrants and search warrants for several locations were also authorized.
On Monday, June 11, 2018, a conversation between Traymont Wiley and another individual was intercepted on the wiretap that was authorized as part of the investigation. Wiley stated that he had been told that he was going to be arrested on drug and gang-related charges. Wiley’s call led to a flurry of conversations monitored on the intercepted lines between targets of the investigation. During the conversations, it was revealed that the person who provided Wiley the information about the sealed criminal charges was a female named “Chanel.” During the conversations, the targets were reading portions of the sealed indictment out loud, including the names of other co-defendants named in the sealed indictment. Wiley also read his charges, using the exact legal wording of the crimes as stated in the sealed indictment. Further, on June 12, 2018, an attorney hired by one of the co-defendants made a motion to the court citing the specific court case number on the sealed indictment and requesting the court to unseal and quash a pending sealed arrest warrant. All of this occurred before the indictment and arrest warrants were unsealed, and prior to the execution of the sealed search warrants.
A subsequent audit of Maryland Judiciary Secure Case Search revealed that Holland’s Secure Case Search account was the only account to conduct a search of all four names heard during the interception of the target lines. Secure Case Search is not available to the public and is restricted to law enforcement and other related entities. Holland’s duties as Human Resource Administrator did not include running searches for individuals through Secure Case Search. Holland’s cell phone records revealed that she had 96 contacts (message and voice) with Wiley on June 11, 2018. Surveillance video at the Anne Arundel County Circuit Court showed that on Monday, June 11, 2018, Holland had entered and exited the administration offices where her Secure Case Search account was accessed from her assigned computer.
On June 20, 2018, a search warrant was executed at Holland’s residence and her phone was recovered. A search of the phone messages revealed that Holland had been providing information to Wiley and others for several months, beginning as early as April 2018. On June 11, 2018, Holland sent a photograph of the sealed indictment to Wiley’s phone and stated, “Here’s a list of your charges.” Holland then had a series of phone calls with Wiley’s phone in which she provided additional information about the sealed warrants and the nature of the charges. Holland attempted to find out if a cooperating source had provided information to law enforcement which led to the charges against Wiley and the other co-conspirators, and she conveyed information about suspected cooperating sources to Wiley and others, including photos of those individuals and information about the status of their court cases.
Holland admitted that she did not want Wiley and his co-conspirators to get any additional charges, so she alerted them about the outstanding warrants and indictment. Holland further admitted that she knew her actions were likely to affect the federal grand jury proceeding.
Holland faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett has scheduled sentencing for March 26, 2019 at 3:00 p.m.
United States Attorney Robert K. Hur commended HSI Baltimore, the Anne Arundel County Police Department, the Maryland State Police, and the FBI for their work in the investigation, and thanked the Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney’s Office and the Office of the State Prosecutor for their assistance in the investigation and prosecution. Mr. Hur thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Derek E. Hines, who is prosecuting the case.