Heroin Dealer Taofeeq Ogunlana Wins 13 Years in Prison in Federal Horse-Trading Deal
two large, brick-shaped items wrapped in black electrical tape
Baltimore, Maryland – U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz sentenced Taofeeq Ogunlana, age 39, of Chicago, Illinois on April 13, 2016, to 13 years in prison followed by five years of supervised release for conspiring to distribute and possession with intent to distribute heroin.
The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Assistant Special Agent in Charge Don A. Hibbert of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Baltimore District Office; Chief James W. Johnson of the Baltimore County Police Department; and Commissioner Kevin Davis of the Baltimore Police Department.
According to his plea agreement, from January to July 2015, Ogunlana met with Vladimir Lumelsky and supplied him with bulk quantities of heroin. Lumelsky would travel from the Baltimore area to the Chicago area, where he and Ogunlana would meet. Most recently, on July 12, 2015, Ogunlana met with Lumelsky at a hotel and supplied him with more than two kilograms of heroin. While Lumelsky and a companion were driving back from Chicago to the Baltimore area, they were stopped by law enforcement on Interstate 70 in western Maryland. Law enforcement seized more than two kilograms of heroin, which was intended to be redistributed to customers in the Baltimore area.
Co-defendants Vladimir Lumelsky, age 41, of Pikesville, Maryland; Lawrence Bibbs, age 68, of Baltimore and Rodell Womack, age 49, of Baltimore previously pleaded guilty to their participation in the drug conspiracy. Lumelsky and Bibbs are scheduled to be sentenced on June 10, 2016 at 11:00 a.m. and May 20, 2016 at 12:30 p.m., respectively. Judge Motz sentenced Womack to four years in prison on April 11, 2016.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised DEA and the Baltimore City and County Police Departments for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matthew C. Sullivan and Christopher J. Romano, who prosecuted this Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force case.
The Maryland State Police Western Region effort was responsible for the traffic stop on I-70 that led to the arrest of the Heroin Distribution Ring of Lumelsky, Ogunlana, Bibbs and Womack. The details are summarized in the following account:
“Our High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) sponsored units focus primarily on drug smuggling organizations attempting to transport bulk quantities of drugs and money in and out of Maryland. Troopers assigned to these units work directly with allied local and federal authorities within the Western Region and throughout Maryland, as their investigations often cross county and state borders. During 2015, the three units collectively arrested 137 drug suspects and recovered over 64 pounds of cocaine, 16 pounds of heroin and more than one and one-quarter tons of marijuana. The units also recovered nine illegal firearms and more than $906,000 in drug-related money, while serving 162 search warrants.”
Charging documents told the story: A Maryland State Police trooper stopped a Honda Odyssey on eastbound Interstate 70 for speeding and following another vehicle too closely, charging documents said. The driver, Bezrodny, had open arrest warrants for her on file and that opened the door for further investigation.
During the stop, the trooper observed “numerous indicators of criminal activity,” and called in a drug dog, documents said.
Inside the vehicle, police found two grams of suspected heroin and, in the back seat, “two large, brick-shaped items” wrapped in black electrical tape, charging documents said.
Those packages contained suspected heroin and weighed 2,195 grams, or more than 4.8 pounds, documents said.
Svetlana Bezrodny, of 6314 Greenspring Ave., Baltimore, Md., and most recently of the Women’s Prison on Jessup, Md., was prosecuted in Washington County Circuit Court. Her attorney was Mark A. Van Bavel, of Towson, Md. In a plea deal with the Washington County States Attorney, Bezrodny entered a guilty plea on Nov. 12, 2015 and was sentenced to eight years for distribution of heroin with four years suspended. Four other drug charges were dropped. She was given credit for 121 days of time served.
Van Bavel has been representing Bezrodny for many years. On Feb. 20, 2002, he was able get her off of assault charges in Talbot County District Court.