FREDERICK, MD – On January 24, 2020, the Frederick Grand Jury returned a fifty-count indictment against Lavonte Darnell Nash, age 27, of Frederick. Mr. Nash is accused of committing First Degree Murder, Attempted First Degree Murder, Retaliation Against a Witness, Use of a Firearm in a Crime of Violence, Illegal Possession of a Regulated Firearm, First Degree Assault, Conspiracy, Distribution of Narcotics, Possession With the Intent to Distribute Narcotics, and Participation in a Criminal Gang. This afternoon in Frederick County Circuit Court, Nash waived his right to a bond review before Judge Richard Sandy, and thus remains held without bond.
Nash is charged with the premeditated murder of Gregory Knight on June 27, 2019, along with the attempted murder of another individual in connection with that incident. The Defendant is alleged to have distributed cocaine to Mr. Knight in May of 2017. Mr. Knight was to appear as a witness in court against Mr. Nash regarding the resulting drug related charges.
Additionally, the Defendant is charged for his role in two gang-related shootings that occurred on Market Street in downtown Frederick on August 31, 2019, and September 8, 2019. Nash is charged with distribution of, and possession with intent to distribute controlled dangerous substances throughout the months of August and September of 2019.
The Defendant is alleged to be a member of “PA-32,” a criminal gang and drug-trafficking organization based in the city of Frederick, and operating in the surrounding areas. The crimes charged are alleged to have been committed by Mr. Nash for the benefit of and in association with the gang.
The indictment is the culmination of a lengthy investigation led by the Frederick Police Department’s Drug Enforcement Unit and Criminal Investigation Section. These divisions, working in close coordination with the Frederick County State’s Attorney’s Office, obtained authorization from the Circuit Court for Frederick County to intercept communications over Mr. Nash’s telephone lines. In late September, multiple search warrants were executed at various locations as a result of the investigation. Mr. Nash was arrested at that time on drug related charges and has been held at the Frederick County Detention Center pending trial.
In response to the fifty-count indictment, State’s Attorney Charlie Smith reacted, “While I cannot comment on the case more specifically, I can say the scope of this case and the efforts put into it by all agencies make it one of the more complex in recent history. I could easily see it taking three weeks to litigate.”
The investigation was truly a multi-agency effort, with vital support provided by the members of the Frederick HIDTA Group (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area) to include the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Investigation Section, Homeland Security Investigations, the Maryland State Police, and the Brunswick Police Department. Additionally, the investigation operated under the Maryland Criminal Intelligence Network (MCIN), and a portion of the operational expenses were funded through this program. The Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention (GOCCP) provides grant funding and strategic support to MCIN member sites to identify, disrupt and dismantle criminal organizations through inter-agency collaboration and data sharing to make Maryland safer. The Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention partially funded this project under sub-award number, MCIN-2020-0016. All points of view in this document are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the position of any Maryland State office or agency.
The investigation remains ongoing into all incidents and the involvement of other parties. The Office of the State’s Attorney notes that an indictment is a charging document alleging criminal conduct and the defendant is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.