ESSEX, Maryland (WJZ) – An Essex man pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute at least 28 grams of basic cocaine.
According to his plea, Joel William Hammond, 35, provided at least 112 grams of crack to a drug trafficking organization. On February 4, 2020, the Harford County Narcotics Task Force received approval to intercept wired and electronic communications from an alleged drug trafficking organization.
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Detectives intercepted several drug-related interactions on social media and phone calls.
On March 7, 2020, detectives followed one of the organization’s members to Hammond’s residence. After the meeting, the members returned to Harford County and met with known drug addicts. Detectives believed Hammond was the organization’s source of supplies after the individual was given three ounces of crack cocaine.
During the investigation, Hammond met with members and clients of the organization on at least 10 occasions between March and April 2020. On March 31, 2020, intercepted a number of communications from members seeking crack cocaine. Hammond. Investigators later learned that he sold an ounce of crack to the individual during the meeting.
On April 21, 2021, investigators learned that Hammond and a member of the organization were scheduled to meet later today. After the meeting, the member returned to Harford County and officers searched the vehicle during a traffic stop under a search warrant.
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During the search, officers discovered two plastic bags of white substance as well as $ 660. One of the bags contained a white rock-like substance that looked like cocaine powder that had been cut directly from a kilogram of pressed cocaine. The substance weighed 16 grams.
The second bag was an off-white rock-like substance that authorities determined to be crack. The total weight of the bag was 41 grams.
Both substances tested positive for the presence of cocaine with a combined weight of the two bags was 57.9 grams.
Authorities executed a search warrant at Hammond’s residence on April 22, 2020 and seized a small amount of crack cocaine.
Hammond said the plot involved at least 112 grams but less than 196 grams of crack.
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If the court accepts his plea, Hammond will be sentenced to six years in federal prison. Sentencing is scheduled for October 27 at 11:00 a.m.