On September 30, 2021, a jury found Dontae Davon Dennis guilty of eight criminal charges: CDS Distribution of Fentanyl, CDS Possession with Intent to Distribute Fentanyl, Distribution of a Fentanyl/Heroin Mix, Possession of Fentanyl, Conspiracy to Distribute Fentanyl, Conspiracy Possession with Intent to Distribute Fentanyl, Reckless Endangerment, and Involuntary Manslaughter. The Honorable Bo Ernest, retired from the Circuit Court in Talbot County, presided over the trial. Christine Dulla Rickard, Deputy State’s Attorney, prosecuted the matter. Dontae Davon Dennis is scheduled to be sentenced on December 16, 2021.

The charges stem from a June 5, 2020 emergency response to the Royal Farms located in Queenstown for an unconscious male inside of a vehicle. That male was identified to be James Alexander Reed, Jr. Lifesaving efforts were made to revive Mr. Reed but, ultimately, he was pronounced dead. An autopsy and toxicological examination revealed that Mr. Reed died due to a fentanyl overdose. A thorough investigation revealed that Mr. Reed purchased, by way of a third party, a fentanyl capsule from Dontae Davon Dennis the prior day in Centreville.

Fentanyl is a schedule II controlled dangerous substance. It is a synthetic opioid which is similar to morphine but almost 100 times stronger and is added to or substituted for heroin due to its potency. According to the CDC, the number of opioid related fatalities has increased substantially due to the use of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids.

Mr. Dennis has been in and out of the criminal justice system for a number of years and frequently under investigation for drug-related activities. His criminal record consists of the following: 2001 Conviction for Possession (paraphernalia), 2001 PBJ for Second Degree Assault, 2002 Conviction for CDS Manufacture/Distribution Narcotics, 2003 Conviction for Possession (not marijuana), 2010 Conviction for Possession (marijuana), 2011 Conviction for Possession (paraphernalia), 2013 Conviction for Driving without a License, 2013 Conviction for Driving without a License, 2013 Conviction for Possession (not marijuana) and Possession (marijuana), 2018 Conviction for Driving without a License, 2019 Conviction for Driving without a License, and 12/26/2019 Conviction for Second Degree Assault, D-034-CR-19-000667.

The State’s Attorney’s Office would like to express its sincere appreciation to the law enforcement community of Queen Anne’s County and emergency services personnel for their tireless efforts in trying to keep our community safe. Specifically to this case, the State’s Attorney’s Office would like to recognize the efforts of those involved in the investigation: Det. J. Rickard, Dfc. D. Bennett, Dfc. M. Iman, Dep. A. McCullough, and Cpl. S. Gore from the Queen Anne’s County Office of the Sheriff and Cpl. M. Buckius and Sgt. T. Brice from the Maryland State Police.