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From High Roller To Prison Inmate, Baltimore Kingpin Sentenced To 25 Years

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Alex DeMetrick has been a general assignment reporter with WJZ...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A ton of cocaine, a ton of money. It’s the math a Baltimore drug dealer turned into a life of luxury–until now.

Alex DeMetrick has more on the wealthy rise and hard fall of Garnett Gilbert Smith.

Garnett Gilbert Smith, 44, was rolling in so much illegal cash, he turned to luxury goods to launder the money.

Flip through just some of what federal prosecutors seized from Smith of Baltimore, and it adds up to almost $7 million. The source of all this loot…

“More than a ton of cocaine he imported into Maryland. That’s only over the course of an 18-month period of time,” said U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein.

In federal court in Baltimore, Smith was convicted and sentenced to 25 years for trafficking drugs. Traffic turns out to be a key word.

“One of the challenges drug dealers have is how they get the drugs to Maryland and how to get the money back to the suppliers,” Rosenstein said.

Smith chose the interstate–cocaine driven in from California to Baltimore, money back to suppliers in California.

Smith’s operation used hidden compartments in vehicles, which were tucked in with other cars on transport trucks.

“One of the things that tripped him up is one of his shipments was intercepted by the state police in Arkansas,” said Rosenstein.

Which turned up $2.3 million in cash.

Investigators eventually followed the money to purchases like a condo in Beverly Hills, $1 million in jewelry and top end luxury cars.

A common way dealers launder money…

“Because drug dealers generate significant amounts of cash, they need to find ways to spend that cash,” Rosenstein said.

Rosenstein said that helped lead to Smith’s downfall, and that crime only paid for a while.

“What you don’t see is after the 18 months of living the high life, the 20 or 30 years they spend in a concrete prison cell. And at the end of the day, that’s just not worth it,” he said.

Police also found more than $700,000 in Smith’s Baltimore home, as well as $700,000 in clothing.

Federal prosecutors say Smith made a profit of $8,000 on every kilo of cocaine he moved.

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