PG County Felon sentenced in Fentanyl and Opioid trafficking

News Release, US Department of Justice-Maryland Division

Crimes Committed While on Supervised Release for a Prior Federal Drug Conviction

Greenbelt, Maryland – U.S. District Judge Paul W. Grimm sentenced Tyrell Rashad Cauthern, age 30, of Fort Washington, Maryland, to 10 years in federal prison, followed by four years of supervised release, for distribution of fentanyl, crack cocaine, and other drugs, and for possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking.  Judge Grimm also found that Cauthern committed those crimes while on supervised release for a 2011 federal drug trafficking conviction, revoked Cauthern’s supervised release, and sentenced him to 12 months in prison to be served concurrent to the 10 year sentence.  The sentences were imposed on February 6, 2018.

The sentences were announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; Special Agent in Charge Rob Cekada of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Baltimore Field Division; and Chief Henry P. Stawinski III of the Prince George’s County Police Department.         

U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur stated, “We are determined to reduce the number of drug-related deaths in Maryland, especially opioid overdose deaths.  We’re particularly focusing our attention on those who sell fentanyl, the drug that is killing the most of our citizens, and drug dealers who use guns.  Drug traffickers are on notice that guns and drugs – especially fentanyl – increase their odds of federal prosecution, resulting in long federal sentences without the possibility of parole.”

According to his guilty plea, on October 17, 2017, Prince George’s County Police officers executed a search warrant at Cauthern’s residence and his car.  Officers recovered a 9 mm handgun loaded with six rounds of ammunition, $11,368 in cash, crack cocaine, fentanyl, two of Cauthern’s cell phones, and drug paraphernalia.  The drugs were concealed in three containers with false bottoms – an Ajax bottle, Pepsi bottle and Scotch Guard can.  In total, officers seized 75 bags containing 175 grams of fentanyl and 14 bags containing 55 grams of crack cocaine. During the search, officers also located Cauthern’s six-year-old daughter in the residence.

In one of Cauthern’s phones, officers found text messages in which Cauthern used coded language to facilitate drug transactions.  Cauthern was also prohibited from possessing a firearm or ammunition as a result of his previous felony conviction.  Cauthern will forfeit the cash and gun seized during the search on October 17, 2017.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone.  Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.  PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

United States Attorney Robert K. Hur commended the ATF and the Prince George’s County Police Department for their work in the investigation.  Mr. Hur thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory D. Bernstein, who prosecuted the case.

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