Two Leaders of Baltimore Drug Ring Exiled to 45 Years in Prison

BALTIMORE—U.S. District Judge William D. Quarles, Jr. sentenced Wade Coats, age 47, of Baltimore, and Jose Cavazos, age 44, of Midlothian, Texas, today each to 45 years in prison followed by five years of supervised release for conspiracy to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine. Coats was also sentenced for possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

The sentences were announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Ava Cooper-Davis of the Drug Enforcement Administration-Washington Field Division; Acting Special Agent in Charge Timothy P. Groh of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Colonel Marcus L. Brown, Superintendent of the Maryland State Police; Baltimore City State’s Attorney Gregg L. Bernstein; and Acting Police Commissioner Anthony Barksdale of the Baltimore City Police Department.

“A substantial portion of the illegal drugs distributed in Maryland are imported from the Mexican border,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. “This case demonstrates the international ties of a local drug dealer.”

According to evidence presented at the five-day jury trial, from 2005 to February 2010, Coats and his co-defendant James Bostic, age 41, of Baltimore, Maryland, received cocaine and marijuana from the Los Zetas Mexican Drug Cartel, which he and other conspirators distributed. From 2005 to April 28, 2009 Cavazos would receive 20-25 kilograms of cocaine from the cartel twice a month for delivery to Coats. Cavazos or his employees would drive the cocaine to Baltimore.

On April 27, 2009, law enforcement saw Coats and co-defendant Ronald Brown conduct what appeared to be a drug transaction. Brown had received approximately five to 10 kilograms of cocaine from Coats over the previous six months. Agents followed Coats to a Baltimore hotel where Coats removed several bags from his trunk, entered the hotel, and returned to his car shortly thereafter without the bags. Later that evening, law enforcement saw Coats exit a business located on North Duncan Street in Baltimore with bags that he placed in his trunk. Agents stopped Coats outside his car and Coats became nervous. After Coats denied visiting the hotel earlier that day, agents searched Coats and seized a gun and $7,000 in cash. Coats was arrested.

Agents executed a search warrant at Coats’ hotel room and found Cavazos inside. Agents seized several cell phones and a suitcase containing $275,000 in heat-sealed bricks of cash wrapped in aluminum foil from the hotel room. They arrested Cavazos and seized another suitcase containing $335,000 in heat-sealed bricks of cash from Cavazos’ car parked in the hotel’s garage.

Trial evidence established that Coats and Cavazos were both organizers and leaders of an extensive cocaine trafficking enterprise. Coats and Cavazos had multiple employees transporting drugs and money, and both defendants had other business partners and customers with whom they dealt. Coats and Cavazos were responsible for the distribution of between 1,500 kilograms of cocaine and 7,000 kilograms of marijuana.

Co-defendant James Bostic, age 41, of Baltimore, Maryland, previously pleaded guilty to his participation in the drug distribution scheme and was sentenced to 210 months in prison. Co-defendant Ronald Brown, age 45, of Baltimore also pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing.