FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 19, 2018
Heroin Dealer Sentenced to 50 Years
FREDERICK – Convicted heroin dealer Chauncey Coates, 39, of Hagerstown, MD was sentenced to a combined sentence of 50 years to serve in the Division of Corrections. Coates was convicted by a Frederick County jury on February 8, 2018, of conspiracy to distribute heroin, possession with intent to distribute heroin, conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin, and possession of heroin regarding an incident that occurred on August 31, 2016. Mr. Coates appeared before the Honorable Judge G. Edward Dwyer. Jr. Mr. Coates was sentenced to 25 years to serve in the Division of Corrections.
Additionally, Mr. Coates was convicted of distribution of heroin by a separate Frederick County jury on February 13, 2018. The incident at issue in that trial occurred on August 17, 2016. Mr. Coates also appeared before the Honorable Judge William R. Nicklas for sentencing on that conviction. He was sentenced to 25 years in the Division of Corrections, consecutive to Judge Dwyer’s sentence, for a total sentence of 50 years to serve, which is above the sentencing guidelines of 24-40 years.
The State sought and received an enhanced 25 year penalty in each case due to the Defendant’s status as a repeat felony narcotic offender. The State also asked that those sentences be consecutive to each other, seeking a sentence that exceeded the sentencing guidelines. Judge Nicklas agreed.
The charges were the result of a long term investigation commencing in early 2016, conducted jointly by the Frederick Police Department, the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office and Homeland Security Investigations. Mr. Coates was identified as a large scale heroin trafficker operating in Frederick.
On August 17, 2016, investigators observed the Defendant conduct a hand to hand drug transaction in the 1000 block of West Patrick Street in Frederick. The buyer left the scene in a vehicle. A traffic stop was conducted on the vehicle in which the buyer was a passenger. Syringes were in plain sight and the buyer corroborated what the investigators had seen, admitting that he had just purchased heroin. Mr. Coates was unable to be apprehended at that time; however the cell phone number that he used for his drug distribution business was identified and a court order was obtained to track the location of the cell phone.
Investigators tracked the cell phone to a Super 8 motel in Greencastle, PA. On the morning of August 31, 2016, investigators observed Mr. Coates and a female driver get into a vehicle and observed the vehicle travel to Maryland. A Maryland State Police Trooper was advised of the description of the vehicle and conducted a traffic stop for a moving violation on the vehicle. A K-9 sniff was conducted, with a positive alert. Police located approximately 21 grams of heroin packaged in 30 individual bags on the female driver. The Defendant had hired her to drive him around, and had given her the heroin to hide when the vehicle was pulled over. The Defendant’s cell phones were seized and after receiving a search warrant, a review of text messages revealed them to be indicative of drug distribution. Investigators notified the Pennsylvania State Police of their investigation. Subsequently, Pennsylvania authorities executed a search and seizure warrant on the hotel room in Greencastle. An additional 67.5 grams of heroin was located.
“This Defendant earned every day of this sentence,” commented Frederick County State’s Attorney Charlie Smith. “He has a cocaine PWID and a cocaine distribution conviction in Washington County, and he was on parole when he committed these offenses. He did not even live here, he just sold here. He is not a user and has no history of substance abuse. He is just a businessman. He was savvy, using all of the tricks of the trade – hotel rooms and hiring a driver. Our HIDTA group worked diligently to find him and stop him. He preyed on the vulnerable in our community and was gambling with people’s lives everyday. He showed absolutely no remorse whatsoever at sentencing. We are very pleased with this sentence,” stated Smith.
The State was represented by Assistant State’s Attorney Colleen Swanson.
J. Charles Smith, III
State’s Attorney for Frederick County, Maryland