BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Two Baltimore men were sentenced to at least 12 years in federal prison for assaulting a federal officer and brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence.
Menard Hazelwood, 29, and Donte Smith, 34, were sentenced to 13 years and 12 years in federal prison, respectively, in connection with the May 26, 2017, assault on two undercover Special Agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
According to Hazelwood and Smith’s plea agreements, on May 26, 2017, during an ATF undercover operation, Hazlewood and Smith attempted to rob two ATF Special Agents who were working with a confidential informant to purchase $2,000 worth of heroin from a known heroin dealer.
The UCs and a confidential informant (CI) picked up the heroin dealer, with one UC driving, and the other in the front passenger seat.
They drove to a location in west Baltimore to meet with the dealer’s supplier. The dealer got out of the car and told the CI and UCs to wait.
Hazelwood and Smith immediately walked up to the vehicle. Smith asked the UCs for a light and Hazelwood pointed a gun at the UC in the passenger seat. Smith then pointed a silver revolver at the other UC.
Hazelwood and Smith then demanded money. The UCs told them that there was cash in the vehicle. The UCs then gave the distress signal to the covert ATF team that was monitoring the operation. As the covert team arrived on the scene, the agents ordered Smith and Hazelwood to put their hands up.
Smith fled, and the responding ATF Special Agents fired their service weapons, striking Smith. Hazelwood also broke away and ran to a nearby car, but was not able to get into the car. Special Agents arrested him at the scene.
Agents recovered the .44-caliber revolver brandished by Smith during the robbery, but did not recover the gun used by Hazelwood.
Smith and Hazelwood admitted that they each participated in the robbery, but did not know that the undercover Special Agents were federal agents at the time of the robbery.
This case was part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make neighborhoods safer.