Best Intentions: The list of Baltimore’s drug-dealing gang-interventionists grows

By Van Smith

Published by City Paper, Aug. 8, 2012

Back in 2007, Brian Morris, then Baltimore City’s public schools board president, was impressed by Kevin Foreman. At the board’s Aug. 28, 2007, meeting, Foreman declared that he’d “left the private industry to come back and work . . . to service these children, these gangs, this issue with education, the drop-out rate and what have you” via a group Foreman had started with a former Baltimore City policeman, Trevor Britt. Morris responded, “We do need to find a way to plug you in.”

Earlier that year, Foreman and Britt were listed in incorporation papers as the two directors of Continuous Growth Foundation, Inc., a nonprofit that set out to provide “education, counseling, and mental health services to at-risk and/or disadvantaged youths,” ages 12 to 21. Britt also formed Continuous Growth, LLC, a business that provides “education and reclamation for high school dropouts in addition to counseling services,” according to its incorporation papers.

Four years later, in July 2011, Continuous Growth, LLC was indeed “plugged in” to the school system, having clinched a three-year contract for conflict resolution and extended learning services for city students. But Foreman was in big trouble: On June 16, he had been caught in a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration sting operation, while trying to close a 10-kilogram cocaine transaction with someone he thought was directly linked to a Mexican drug cartel.

The investigation into Foreman’s drug-dealing activities began in January 2011, according to court records. That’s when one of Foreman’s co-conspirators, David Humphries, introduced him to someone Humphries thought was a Mexican drug-dealer, and Humphries had told the Mexican that Foreman was the “man with all the money.” Foreman told the Mexican that he could handle transporting shipments, as his drug organization “already had vehicles that had concealed compartments”—two of them, with a combined capacity of 30 kilograms. Foreman drove to meet the Mexican in an Audi SUV registered to Continuous Gro, LLC, at 2119 St. Paul St., two blocks south of Foreman’s apartment.

Though Foreman had told the Mexican in January that “he was currently out of cocaine and had many customers waiting,” and that he had enough money to buy 17 kilograms immediately, the deal was delayed until June 16, 2011, when Foreman and another co-conspirator, Andre Carter, went to the Fairfield Inn in White Marsh to meet the Mexican. They shelled out $150,000 for 10 kilograms of cocaine, with the remaining balance of $125,000 to be paid after the coke was sold.

The Mexican turned out to be a DEA confidential source, and Foreman and Carter were immediately arrested after the transaction took place. A search of Foreman’s Charles Village apartment turned up a .45-caliber semi-automatic handgun, 15 rounds of .45-caliber ammunition, a money counter, a digital scale, a kilogram of suspected cocaine, Foreman’s Continuous Growth business card, and a document reflecting that Britt owed money to Foreman’s landlord.

Foreman pleaded guilty, and is now serving a 10-year prison sentence, as is Carter. The two were caught as a result of a joint investigation involving the DEA, the FBI, and the Baltimore City Police Department, that also snared two other major drug-dealing operations, one of which caught former Baltimore City cop Daniel Redd, who is awaiting his sentence on a heroin-conspiracy conviction. Foreman has a prior federal conviction for wire fraud and, in 2004, was sentenced to three years of probation and nearly $40,000 in restitution.

According to David Barney, a publicist representing Continuous Growth, Foreman has a master’s degree in education “as well as years of classroom experience.” In an e-mail, Barney describes Foreman as a “dedicated and passionate professional whose genuine concern for providing support and guidance . . . made him a valuable asset to the organization.”

As for Foreman’s criminal conduct, Barney says Continuous Growth “can’t always be with our employees every minute of every day” and “cannot control what a person might do or has done outside of the organization. Just like the youth we try and reach, we know that we will not change the lives or direction of each and every youth that we look to serve. We can only do our best at providing skills and dedication needed to help bring about a change of habit and direct them in making a conscious decision to adopt new behaviors.”

After Foreman was arrested, Britt tried to convince the federal judge on the case to allow Foreman to keep working at Continuous Growth, though the motion to allow him to do so ultimately was withdrawn.

In a July 22, 2011, e-mail that was submitted as part of the court record, Britt called Foreman “an indelible part of our program,” and that, if allowed to continue working, he would “help the company conduct interviews, perform staff trainings in crisis prevention and intervention, negotiate services with schools, compose manuals concerning protocol as it pertains to services rendered, and solicit new services to principals in the Baltimore City public school system.”

Foreman joins several others in Baltimore who, in recent times, while working to help solve the problems faced by at-risk kids in Baltimore’s streets and schools, were accused and convicted of committing the same kinds of crime they ostensibly sought to prevent. Three men indicted and convicted for their parts in the Black Guerrilla Family (BGF) prison gang—Rainbow Williams, Todd Duncan, and Ronald Scott—were so employed; Williams worked as a mentor for at-risk Baltimore City public school kids through a company called Partners in Progress, while Duncan and Scott were outreach workers for a West Baltimore group called Communities Organized to Improve Life. In addition, BGF leader Eric Brown incorporated Harambee Jamaa, a nonprofit that sought to promote peace and betterment in Baltimore’s poverty- and crime-stricken communities.

Heroin “Hustlin’”: Courthouse hot dog vendor sold heroin with cop

By Van Smith

Published by City Paper, July 31, 2012

Shanel Stallings works hard selling hot dogs from a cart in front of Baltimore’s downtown circuit courthouses, as City Paper reported recently (‘Every Day I’m Hustlin’, July 18). But her other gig—at least between January and July last year, when she was indicted in federal court—was selling heroin.

Stallings, according to her April guilty plea, hustled between one and three kilograms of junk with four co-conspirators, including Baltimore City cop Daniel Redd, whose supplies were smuggled to the U.S. from Ghana. All five defendants have pleaded guilty, and all have been sentenced but Redd, who is scheduled to learn his fate on Sept. 6. Stallings received her sentence on July 11 and is set to start serving her 30-month prison stint on Sept. 10.

Stallings’ role in the conspiracy is detailed in FBI special agent Craig Monroney’s 51-page search warrant affidavit, used to justify searches of 11 locations last summer, including Stallings’ Cedonia home and the 2007 Cadillac Escalade she and Redd used. The document includes transcriptions of phone calls intercepted by wiretaps, which picked up Stallings and Redd discussing the hard times they’d been facing obtaining more heroin to sell and the potential need for Redd to intervene on Stalling’s behalf should she be stopped by police or be threatened with a robbery by customers looking to take her money or heroin.

Stallings’ conspiracy was unearthed as a result of a lengthy joint investigation by the FBI, DEA, and the Baltimore Police Department. The probe resulted in two other federal indictments: a cocaine case against Kevin Foreman and Andre Carter, and a heroin-and-cocaine case against Will Evans and five codefendants.

Foreman had been a Charles Village resident working as a gang-interventionist for at-risk Baltimore City Public Schools students through the non-profit organization, Continuous Growth, prior to his arrest. Carter has a long history of drug arrests and convictions. In June 2011, according to court documents, the two men went to a hotel room near White Marsh Mall, believing they were buying 10 kilograms of cocaine from a representative of a “Mexican-based drug-trafficking organization,” but it turned out to be a sting operation set up by the DEA. They have pleaded guilty and been sentenced to long prison terms.

The Evans case, which, according to court documents, was centered at Club 2300, a West Baltimore bar operated by codefendant Clifford Andrews, and supplied Eastern Shore communities, is still winding its way through the court, with two defendants—including Samuel Brown, in whose name the Cadillac Escalade used by Redd and Stallings was registered—still fighting the charges.

The Stallings-Redd case also overlapped with a case in which one of Stallings’ co-defendants – a Ghanaian named Abdul Zakaria, also known as Tamim Mamah – testified as a state’s witness in the federal heroin-conspiracy trial of Moses Appram, which ended with a conviction on May 2. That case involved other Ghanaians who smuggled heroin into the United States from West Africa using couriers aboard commercial flights.

Zakaria’s sentencing hearing was held on July 17, though what happened remains a secret, as the proceeding was sealed as a result of a motion by Zakaria’s attorney, who wrote in a since-sealed letter to U.S. District Judge William Quarles that CP’s recent coverage involving Zakaria (“Straight Outta Accra,” May 23) had given rise to threats against his client.

The case against Stallings was remarkable for the presence of Redd, a heroin-dealing police officer who sold drugs while on duty and in uniform, including from the department’s Northwestern District parking lot. But Stallings, too, was not a typical drug dealer. Not only did she sell hot dogs in front of a courthouse where defendants, cooperators, and grand-jury witnesses regularly go in and out, but she also sold food at the municipal pools, according to court documents.

Stallings “prepares the tastiest food and work[s] tirelessly for patrons who attend the pools,” wrote Darryl Sutton, director of the Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks Aquatic Division, in a June character letter, written on City of Baltimore letterhead and submitted as part of the court record in Stallings’ case. “She has become an essential member of our team,” Sutton continued, “as we serve more than 100,000 visitors at the pools each year.”

Another letter, written by a former employee of Stallings’ hot dog business, who was offered the job despite a lengthy criminal record, including convictions for drugs and armed robbery, was glowing in its estimation of Stallings’ character.

“I understand that she has made a grave mistake,” wrote Timothy Wrenn, “but if at all possible don’t take her from her children for too long. She is truly a great person.”