On January 18, 2019, The Honorable Thomas G. Ross of the Queen Anne’s County Circuit Court sentenced Willie James Rious to 20 years of incarceration at the Division of Correction for Possession with Intent to Distribute Fentanyl. Mr. Rious was found guilty of the offense on October 17, 2018.

The conviction in this matter stems from an accident that occurred on April 4, 2018 wherein Mr. Rious crashed his vehicle into a jersey wall on Route 50 in the area of Duke Street.  Trooper Houseman from the Maryland State Police, upon responding to that location based on a lookout for a vehicle with erratic driving, saw the tail end of the accident and made contact with Mr. Rious who was in the driver’s seat of the vehicle.  Trooper Houseman observed several pills strewn about the vehicle.  After emergency medical personnel arrived on scene and administered NARCAN to Mr. Rious, police searched the vehicle locating suspected heroin and a large amount of cash.  Due to weather conditions, the vehicle was towed back to the Maryland State Police Barrack for a further and more thorough search.  After a court ordered search warrant was issued, the police, specifically, members of the Queen Anne’s County Drug Task Force, conducted a further search and discovered additional controlled dangerous substances underneath the vehicle’s center console.  All suspected drugs were submitted to the Maryland State Crime Lab which returned results for: 2.7 grams of heroin, .6 grams of cocaine, and 5.7 grams of fentanyl.

Mr. Rious has an extensive criminal record consisting of a 1979 DC conviction for Robbery, a 1980 MD conviction for Attempted Robbery with a Deadly Weapon, a 1984 DC conviction for Second Degree Murder, a 2004 DC conviction for Possession of Cocaine, a 2008 DC conviction for Possession with Intent to Distribute Heroin, and a 2018 MD Conviction for Possession of Heroin.  Mr. Rious, at the time of his offense, was on parole for the Second Degree Murder Conviction.

The case was prosecuted by Christine Dulla Rickard, Deputy State’s Attorney.