Prince George’s County Felon Sentenced to 81 Months in Federal Prison for Possession with Intent to Distribute Marijuana and Illegal Possession of a Loaded Gun | USAO-MD

Greenbelt, Maryland – U.S. District Judge George J. Hazel today sentenced Renaldo Solomon Hayes, age 28, of Seat Pleasant, Maryland, to 81 months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition and for possession with intent to distribute marijuana.  Judge Hazel also entered an order requiring Hayes to forfeit $1,468 in apparent drug proceeds, the .357-caliber semi-automatic pistol and ammunition seized at the time of his arrest, as well as the Cadillac sedan which he was driving at the time of his arrest.

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; Special Agent in Charge Ashan Benedict of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Washington Field Division; and Chief Jarod J. Towers of the Cheverly Police Department.

According to his plea agreement, on the evening of March 7, 2018, a Cheverly Police Department officer conducted a traffic stop of the black Cadillac sedan owned and being driven by Renaldo Hayes.  While talking to Hayes, the officer noticed a strong odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle.  After Hayes was directed to get out of the car and the officer smelled burnt marijuana coming from Hayes, the officer searched Hayes and recovered two large folds of cash from his front left pants pocket.  A search of the vehicle recovered approximately 54 grams of marijuana, in two plastic bags, hidden in a makeshift secret compartment under his vehicle’s rear seat.  Two officers then attempted to arrest Hayes, but Hayes tried to run away, tensing, flailing, and pushing the officers to resist until the officers had to use their Tasers.  Once Hayes was under control, the search of the vehicle resumed and officers recovered a loaded .357-caliber semi-automatic pistol, with a round in the chamber and a full 10-round magazine. Hayes also had two cell phones in the vehicle.  Law enforcement located text messages on the phones referring to Hayes’ distribution of marijuana, including a planned sale that evening.  The cash recovered from Hayes’ pocket totaled $1,468.

Hayes admitted that he possessed the firearm and ammunition in connection with his drug trafficking.  Hayes was prohibited from possessing a firearm or ammunition based on his prior felony convictions, including two separate convictions for attempted second-degree murder.  Hayes was also on parole from a prior conviction at the time of this conduct.

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 praised the ATF and the Cheverly Police Department for their work in the investigation.  Mr. Hur thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Wright, who prosecuted the case.

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