Edgewater Man, 32, Indicted on Federal Charges Related to a Heroin and Fentanyl Distribution Conspiracy Operating in Washington County; Allegedly Distributed Enough Fentanyl to Kill at Least 600,000 People and Used Firearms in Furtherance of the Drug Conspiracy
A federal grand jury has returned a second superseding indictment charging an Edgewater man and seven other defendants with federal charges related to a conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, specifically fentanyl and/or heroin in Washington County, Maryland. The second superseding indictment, which was returned on March 4, 2020, adds two additional defendants and six counts. The following defendants are charged in the second superseding indictment:
Edward Melvin Ware, a/k/a Eddie, age 32, of Edgewater, Maryland;
Christopher Scott Benton, a/k/a Brisco, age 30, of Hagerstown, Maryland;
Jarvis Antonio Coleman-Fuller, age 32, of Hagerstown;
Eric Tyrell Johnson, a/k/a E, age 36, of Owings Mills, Maryland;
Jeroam Edwin Nelson, Jr., a/k/a Boob, age 30, of Hagerstown;
Thamar J. Smith, a/k/a SK and Skoal, age 46, of Hagerstown;
Philander Alexander Spruill, a/k/a Buddha, age 28, of Hagerstown; and
Tyler Lee Ware, a/k/a Bugsy, age 32, of Hagerstown.
According to the 15-count indictment, beginning in about April 2019 and continuing to about November 2019, the defendants conspired to distribute heroin and/or fentanyl in the Washington County area. During the course of the investigation, law enforcement seized narcotics, including at least 1.2 kilograms of fentanyl, four firearms and ammunition, and at least $16,223 in cash. All of the defendants are charged with being members of the conspiracy. Tyler Ware is also charged with distribution of heroin on July 4, 2019. Smith, Johnson, Spruill, Nelson, and Coleman-Fuller are charged with possession with intent to distribute fentanyl and/or heroin; Johnson, Spruill, Nelson, and Coleman-Fuller are charged with being felons in possession of a firearm and/or ammunition; Spruill and Coleman-Fuller are charged with possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime; and Coleman-Fuller is charged with possession of body armor by a violent felon.
If convicted, Benton, Nelson, and Spruill face a mandatory minimum sentence of at least 10 years in federal prison and up to life in prison for the drug charges; Coleman-Fuller, Johnson, Smith, Edward Ware, and Tyler Ware all face a mandatory minimum sentence of at least five years in federal prison and up to 40 years in prison for the drug charges; Coleman-Fuller, Nelson, and Spruill each face a maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison for being felons in possession of firearms and/or ammunition; Johnson faces a mandatory minimum sentence of at least 15 years in federal prison and up to life in prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm; and Coleman-Fuller and Spruill face a mandatory minimum of five years in federal prison, consecutive to any other sentence, and up to life in federal prison for possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. Coleman-Fuller also faces a maximum of three years in federal prison for possession of body armor by a violent felon. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Nelson, Spruill, and Edward Ware have had an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Baltimore and remain detained. Benton, Coleman-Fuller, and Smith are expected to have initial appearances today. Johnson and Tyler Ware are in state custody on related charges.