Anthony Pender, age 37, of Laurel, Maryland was sentenced to life in prison today after being convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm and possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine.  U.S. District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow ordered the enhanced sentence after finding that Pender was a career offender, based on his three previous drug convictions in Prince George’s County.

Defendants who are convicted in federal court of a violent crime or drug offense and who have at least two prior felony convictions for similar crimes are designated as “career offenders,” meaning that they receive extraordinarily long federal sentences.       

U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein said, “Anthony Pender has dealt drugs and carried guns on the streets of Maryland for the last time, thanks to outstanding work by the Prince George’s County Police and ATF.  Under the Maryland EXILE program, we are putting criminals on notice that if they get caught again with drugs and guns, they will face long federal sentences with no probation and no parole.”

Evidence presented at his August 2006 trial showed that on December 8, 2005 Pender was arrested in connection with a drug transaction at the Riverdale Shopping center in Riverdale, Maryland.  A search of the car driven by Pender revealed over approximately 5 grams of crack cocaine.  Prince George’s County detectives discovered a loaded Ruger P95 pistol and an additional 48.52 grams of crack cocaine, as well as paraphernalia and other evidence of drug distribution at his residence.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the investigative work performed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Prince George’s County Police Department.  Mr. Rosenstein also thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney David I. Salem and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Del Wright, who are prosecuting the case.