Baltimore Man Sentenced To 35 Years In Prison For Participation In Murder
Baltimore, Maryland – United States District Judge Ellen L. Hollander sentenced Nathaniel Hillard, age 39, of Baltimore, Maryland today to 35 years in prison, followed by 5 years of supervised release, for conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin, and discharging a firearm during a drug trafficking crime, which resulted in death.
The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; Assistant Special Agent in Charge Don A. Hibbert of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) – Baltimore Field Division; and Interim Police Chief Gary Tuggle of the Baltimore Police Department.
According to his plea agreement, Hillard distributed heroin in the Shipley Hill neighborhood of Baltimore. DEA’s interceptions of communications confirmed that Hillard managed the day-to-day business for the organization, and supervised the street-level operation. Specifically, Hillard supervised “hitters,” who sold heroin packaged in green-topped vials in the Shipley Park neighborhood. During the conspiracy, Donya Rigby, who worked for the organization and sometimes acted as a “lookout,” was shot and killed by Aaron Daniels, another member of the organization, for failing to warn him that police were in the area, which led to Daniels’s arrest.
After Daniels’s arrest, between March 6, 2017 and March 17, 2017, law enforcement intercepted several calls between Daniels and various individuals, including Hillard, during which Daniels complained about Rigby and accused him of stealing $800 worth of drug proceeds.
On March 17, 2017, investigators intercepted a call between Daniels and Hillard, which captured communications about the murder of Rigby as well as the murder itself. During the call, Daniels described his location to Hillard. Hillard acted as a lookout for Daniels and provided instruction and logistical support, and encouraged Daniels to murder Rigby. Over the course of the call, the open line captured the sound of Daniels firing two shots at Rigby and fleeing the location. Rigby, who could be heard screaming in the background of the call, ultimately succumbed to the gunshot wounds.
In light of the murder, DEA agents arrested Hillard and Daniels on state narcotics charges. On March 20, 2017, investigators obtained search and seizure warrants for various locations associated with Hillard’s and Daniels’s drug trafficking organization, during the execution of which they recovered approximately 100 vials of heroin, over 350 grams of heroin, a digital scale, $10,234 and a firearm with an extended magazine.
Hillard admitted that he conspired with others to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin, and that the distribution of that quantity of heroin was reasonably foreseeable to him during the course of the conspiracy. Hillard also admitted that he knowingly participated in the murder of Rigby in furtherance of the drug trafficking conspiracy, and that he was fully aware that Rigby was going to be killed.
United States Attorney Robert K. Hur praised the DEA and the Baltimore Police Department for their work in the investigation. Mr. Hur thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney James T. Wallner and Zachary Stendig, who prosecuted the case.