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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Maryland

Monday, May 13, 2013

Eastern Shore Drug Distributor Pleads Guilty

Baltimore, Maryland - Austin Roberts, III, age 37, formerly of Elkridge, Maryland, pleaded guilty on May 10, 2013 to conspiring to distribute heroin, cocaine and cocaine base (crack cocaine). Roberts remains detained pending sentencing.

The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Karl C. Colder of the Drug Enforcement Administration - Washington Field Division; Colonel Marcus L. Brown, Superintendent of the Maryland State Police; Wicomico County Sheriff Michael A. Lewis; Salisbury Police Chief Barbara Duncan; Chief Michael Phillips of the Fruitland Police Department; U.S. Marshal Johnny Hughes; and Wicomico County State’s Attorney Matthew Maciarello.

According to his guilty plea, from 2007 until his arrest in December 2012, Roberts conspired to sell heroin and cocaine with Andrew Jackson, Maurice Hardy and others. Roberts distributed multiple kilograms of cocaine to Hardy on several occasions. For example, after a telephone call in which Hardy indicated that Roberts would be supplying him with seven kilograms of cocaine for $31,500 per kilogram, on May 12, 2011, Jackson, under Roberts’ direction, provided several kilograms of cocaine to Hardy. Subsequent to this meeting, law enforcement stopped Jackson’s vehicle and seized over $160,000 from a hidden compartment.

During the course of the conspiracy, Roberts distributed or directed the distribution of well over 50 kilograms of cocaine, a kilogram of heroin and a quantity of cocaine base.

For well over a year following his indictment on state and federal charges, Roberts eluded arrest. On July 19, 2011, an officer patrolling the New Jersey Turnpike stopped Roberts’ vehicle. Roberts provided a California license under the name John Nash. When the officer learned that the name was an alias for Roberts who was wanted, he requested back up. Roberts ran away as the officers continued to investigate his identity. In August 2012, a California Highway Patrol officer stopped Roberts’ vehicle and Roberts again escaped on foot. Officers seized $29,000 from a hidden compartment in the vehicle. Roberts was arrested in San Diego, California on December 4, 2012.

Roberts and the government have agreed that if the Court accepts the plea agreement Roberts will be sentenced to 19 years in prison. U.S. District Judge Ellen L. Hollander scheduled sentencing for August 9, 2013, at 2:00 p.m.

Andrew Jackson, age 39, of Baltimore, Maryland, Maurice Kenneth Hardy, age 37, of Nanticoke, Maryland, and Tereek Nutter, age 29, of Salisbury, Maryland, previously pleaded guilty to their participation in the drug conspiracy. Judge Hollander sentenced Jackson to 10 years in prison, Nutter to 151 months, and scheduled Hardy’s sentencing for May 14, 2013.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the DEA, U.S. Marshals Service and the Wicomico County Narcotics Task Force, comprised of the Maryland State Police, Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office, Salisbury Police Department, Fruitland Police Department, and the Wicomico County State’s Attorney’s Office for their work in this investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorney Joshua L. Kaul, who prosecuted this Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force case.

Updated January 26, 2015