BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A federal grand jury has indicted a Baltimore defense attorney for racketeering, drug and money laundering conspiracies.
Kenneth Wendell Ravenell, 60, of Monkton, Md., is facing federal charges of racketeering conspiracy, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and narcotics conspiracy. The indictment was returned late on September 18, 2019.
According to the indictment, Ravenell violated the “legitimate and lawful purpose of the law firm where he worked,” in order to enrich himself and another by getting payments from a drug trafficker client and his associates in exchange for telling the client and his associates how to evade law enforcement and continue their trafficking.
Ravenell allegedly would protect and assist co-conspirators by “coaching” them about ways to avoid the law and evade law enforcement while trafficking narcotics.
Some of these techniques would include utilizing certain drug couriers, different ways to transport and ship the drugs and money at specific times during the day- all to avoid law enforcement.
The indictment also alleges that he told them to use pre-paid telephones, payphones and in-person meetings when talking about their drug trafficking to avoid arrest.
Other tips include false names, cash transactions, and bank accounts under fictitious names.
He also allegedly used the law firm’s bank accounts to launder hundreds of thousands of dollars and protect the drug trafficking organization.
The indictment also says he used the law firm’s bank accounts to receive drug payments, pay attorneys retained to represent members of the conspiracy and misrepresented where that money came from.
There are claims that he created false records, lied to law enforcement to protect his co-conspirators, and even arranged legal representation.
Ravenell also reportedly collected information about arrested co-conspirators on whether they were cooperating and the status of their cases and then gave that information to others within the conspiracy to protect their drug operations.
He would then get access to incarcerated co-conspirators, whom he did not represent so that he could try to “improperly influence” their testimony or try to cause them to execute false affidavits and witness statements- which the indictment alleges he knew to be false- and attempt to cause witnesses to withhold testimony.
Ravenell also allegedly participated in a conspiracy to distribute 1,000 kilograms or more of marijuana.
If convicted, Ravenell faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison for the racketeering conspiracy, a maximum of 20 years in prison for the money laundering conspiracy and a maximum of life in prison for the narcotics conspiracy.