BALTIMORE – U.S. District Judge George L. Russell III sentenced Narada Walls, age 38, of Salisbury, Maryland, today to 12 years in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for 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. Judge Russell also ordered that Walls must forfeit anything of value seized during the investigation, including $29,650 in cash.
The sentence 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.
U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur stated, “Drug traffickers are on notice that dealing in fentanyl increases their odds of federal prosecution. We’re also targeting drug dealers who buy fentanyl on the dark web and re-sell this poison to our citizens. Working together with our local, state, and federal partners, we are determined to reduce the number of opioid overdose deaths in Maryland.”
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. The victim was subsequently found unresponsive on the kitchen floor, next to her minor child. 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.
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 prosecuted the case.