Green belt, Maryland – On November 8, 2022, U.S. District Judge Paul W. Grimm sentenced Darran Malik Butler, 23, of Baltimore, to 25 years in federal prison, followed by four years of supervised release, for participating in a violent racketeering conspiracy, specifically, NFL Criminal Enterprise, including the commission of murder. The term NFL stands for Normandy, Franklin and Loudon, which are three contiguous streets that run through the village of Edmondson. NFL members have social and family ties to the Edmondson Village neighborhood in Southwest Baltimore.
The sentence was announced by U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron; Special Agent in Charge Thomas J. Sobocinski of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office; Special Agent in Charge Jarod Forget of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Washington Division; Chief Marcus Jones of the Montgomery County Police Department; and Commissioner Michael Harrison of the Baltimore Police Department.
According to his guilty plea, from at least 2018 through March 26, 2020, Darran Butler was a member of the NFL Criminal Enterprise, which engaged in a pattern of criminal racketeering, including murder, drug trafficking and smuggling, illegal possession of firearms, bribery, witness intimidation and revenge of the witnesses. Butler engaged in illegal activities with other members of the NFL Enterprise, including committing a murder on behalf of the enterprise. As detailed in Butler’s plea agreement, in October 2018, a co-conspirator persuaded Butler to kill Leonard Shelley so that the co-conspirator and Butler could collect the bounty awarded to Shelley. On October 31, 2018, Butler and a co-conspirator followed Shelley into the store and shot Shelley multiple times, killing him. After the murder, Butler posted a picture on Instagram of himself holding the reward for Shelley’s murder.
More than 30 defendants in this and related cases have pleaded guilty to their roles in extortion.
This case was made possible by investigative leads obtained from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN). NIBIN is the only national network that enables the capture and comparison of ballistics evidence to help solve and prevent violent crimes involving firearms. NIBIN is a proven investigative and intelligence tool that can link firearms from multiple crime scenes, allowing law enforcement to quickly break shooting cycles. For more information on NIBIN, visit https://www.atf.gov/firearms/national-integrated-ballistic-information-network-nibin.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program that brings together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) is a central part of the Department of Justice’s efforts to reduce violent crime. PSN is an evidence-based program that has been shown to be effective in reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a wide range of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with local prevention and re-entry programs to permanently reduce crime.
This case is also part of an investigation by the United Nations Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF). OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and disrupts top-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, multi-agency, intelligence-driven approach that leverages the power of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.
U.S. Attorney Erek L. Barron praised the FBI, DEA, Montgomery County Police Department and Baltimore Police Department for their work in the investigation. Mr. Barron praised the US Postal Inspection Service; City of Rockville Police Department; Baltimore County and Howard County Police Departments; Frederick County Sheriff’s Office; Maryland State Police; West Virginia State Police; Virginia State Police; Warren County (VA) Sheriff’s Department; Winchester (VA) and Front Royal (VA) Police Departments; and the Frederick County and Howard County District Attorney’s Offices for assistance in the investigation and prosecution. Mr. Barron thanked Assistant United States Attorneys John W. Sipple Jr., James T. Wallner and Robert I. Goldaris, who are prosecuting the case.
For more information about the U.S. Attorney’s Office of Maryland, its priorities and the resources available to help the community, visit https://www.justice.gov/usao-md/project-safe-neighborhoods-psnexile and https:// www. .justice.gov/usao-md/community-outreach.
# # #