Baltimore, Maryland – Narada Walls, age 38, of Salisbury, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to possess and to distribute fentanyl and fentanyl analogues. Fentanyl analogues are chemical compounds designed to have effects similar to fentanyl and can be just as deadly.
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; and Colonel William M. Pallozzi, Superintendent of the Maryland State Police.
According to his plea agreement, in fall 2017, law enforcement began an investigation into a drug trafficking organization operating on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and in Baltimore, which was responsible for importing and distributing fentanyl and fentanyl analogue substances. This investigation revealed that Narada Walls was part of the conspiracy and used assumed names and a fake e-mail address to purchase methoxyacetyl fentanyl directly from suppliers in China. Walls had this product shipped to addresses of his acquaintances along the Eastern Shore of Maryland to distance himself from the packages. Walls imported more than 1.5 kilograms of methoxyacetyl fentanyl in this manner.
In September and November, 2017, a confidential source purchased fentanyl analogue substances from Walls, at the direction of law enforcement. On each occasion, Walls brought the drugs to Baltimore, where he met with the source. During their interactions Walls discussed with the source the potency of this product and how it needed to be diluted with cutting agents or offered only to experienced drug users, or else overdoses could occur.
In December 2017, law enforcement executed a search warrant at Walls’ residence in Salisbury. Inside a safe found at the home was approximately 419 grams of methoxyacetyl fentanyl and approximately $18,650 in drug proceeds. Law enforcement recovered other drug-related paraphernalia from Walls’ bedroom, including a blender, a digital scale, and packaging materials.
Walls agreed that, in June 2017, he was in a relationship with a recovering heroin user. According to a witness, on June 14, 2017, Walls asked this woman to clean up the kitchen, which was the area where Walls mixed his drug product. In the process of cleaning up the blender in the kitchen, the victim ingested some of this fentanyl analogue product. At approximately 6:15 pm, Walls found the victim on the kitchen floor. Paramedics were called, and she was later pronounced dead. An autopsy determined that the woman’s death was caused by her exposure to this fentanyl analogue product.
As part of his plea agreement, Walls will be required to forfeit any items of value seized during search of Walls’ home and vehicle, including $18,650 in cash seized from his residence in December 2017, and $11,000 in cash seized from his vehicle in June 2017.
The government and Walls have agreed that 12 years in prison is the appropriate resolution of this case and will recommend that sentence to the court. U.S. District Judge George L. Russell III has scheduled sentencing for June 21, 2019 at 11:30 a.m.
United States Attorney Robert K. Hur commended HSI and Maryland State Police Gang Enforcement Unit East for their work in the investigation. Mr. Hur thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jason D. Medinger and Burden Walker, who are prosecuting the case.
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