Cecil County Man Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Distribute Controlled Substances
Troy Lee Neal, age 42, of Elkton, Maryland, pleaded guilty yesterday to conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and possession with the intent to distribute cocaine. Neal has prior criminal convictions including a 2004 conviction for distributing controlled substances.
The guilty plea was announced by Acting United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Jonathan F. Lenzner; Special Agent in Charge James R. Mancuso of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Baltimore; Superintendent Colonel Woodrow W. Jones III of the Maryland State Police; and Cecil County Sheriff Scott Adams.
According to his guilty plea, the Maryland State Police, Cecil County Sheriff’s Office, and the Department of Homeland Security identified Neal, Mark Williams, and another co-conspirator as suppliers of cocaine after an extended investigation dating back to 2019. The conspiracy members distributed crack cocaine to multiple customers in Elkton, Maryland.
During the investigation, the Cecil County Circuit Court issued an order to authorize the interception of wire and electronic communications of Neal and his co-conspirators. Intercepted text and telephone communications revealed Neal as a member of the drug distribution conspiracy.
Law enforcement also intercepted at least eight instances in which Neal, or his co-conspirators, conversed in coded conversations about drug activity. For example, on May 27, 2020, after a series of calls between a co-conspirator and a customer, police observed Neal and a co-conspirator visit a customer’s residence. Shortly after their arrival, two male customers entered the co-conspirator’s residence. After one of the two male customers left the residence, police conducted a traffic stop and seized 3.6 grams of crack cocaine.
As stated in his plea agreement, on June 13, 2020 law enforcement covertly observed Neal, Williams, and a co-conspirator depart from Neal’s residence and travel to the Bronx in New York, where investigators believe that Neal, Williams, and the co-conspirator obtained cocaine. The next day, on June 14, 2020, law enforcement observed the three men travel back to Neal’s residence. Law enforcement executed a search warrant at Neal’s residence and recovered 497 grams of compressed suspected cocaine, several bags of suspected marijuana, a digital scale, and several cell phones.
Police arrested Williams, Neal, and Johnson. Each were charged in Cecil County with various drug-related crimes.
Other circumstantial evidence corroborates Neal’s involvement in drug trafficking. Neal has been unemployed and reported no legitimate income since 2018. Additionally, two witnesses would advise that they regularly purchased crack cocaine from Neal from February 2020 to May 2020.
Two other defendants, Kevin Johnson, and Mark Williams were indicted with Neal in 2020. Mark Williams pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and possession with the intent to distribute cocaine on June 29, 2021. Johnson is pending trial on September 27, 2021. An indictment is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.
Neal and the government have agreed that, if the Court accepts the plea agreement, Neal will be sentenced to eight years in federal prison. U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett has scheduled sentencing for October 26, 2021 at 11 a.m.