A Temple Hills man, accused of running a major cocaine shipping operation in Prince George's County, was sentenced yesterday to 25 years in jail without parole in what appears to be the first conviction under Maryland's drug kingpin law.
Circuit Judge G.R. Hovey Johnson sentenced Peter Lenox Allen, a Guyanese native, to 20 years without parole for running a drug distribution ring from July to November 1989, and another five years without parole for possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.
The kingpin statute, which took effect in July 1989, requires judges to sentence individuals found guilty of being an "organizer, manager, financier or supervisor" of a drug operation to a minimum of 20 years in jail without parole. Members of the Maryland State's Attorneys Association say Allen is the first person they know of sentenced under the statute.
Allen, 29, was arrested in November after confidential informants and surveillance, including phone taps, identified him as the leader of an organization that brought $7 million worth of cocaine into Prince George's County.
Police say Allen's organization bought and sold at least 30 kilos of cocaine, which was processed into crack, according to Assistant State's Attorney Laura Gwinn. The cocaine was being brought into the county from New York by Allen, who stored it in his car's dashboard, she said.
State's Attorney Alex Williams said the sentence sends out a message to drug dealers and traffickers in the state.
"This lets all the people in Prince George's County know that if you traffic drugs, we will not tolerate it," Williams said. "We are not going to play patty-cake with this element any more. This office is going to move forcefully against those who cause havoc in the county."
David Alexander Allen, 22, Peter Allen's brother, also was sentenced yesterday to 10 years in jail without parole for participating in his brother's operation.
Kenneth Ravenell, Peter Allen's lawyer, said his client's sentence was too severe for the crime and that the law needs to be changed because it doesn't allow the judge enough discretion while sentencing.
But Williams refuted Ravenell's claim. "Drug traffickers are devastating to a community," he said. "Drug trafficking is just as bad as homicide, if not worse."