Alleged robber, carjacker sentenced in federal court

Alleged robber sentenced

The Federal courthouse as it stands in Greenbelt.

A federal judge imposed a 12 1/2-year sentence on a Prince George’s County man Tuesday for a 2019 late-spring crime spree that allegedly included a brutal robbery in Calvert County.

The sentence delivered by U.S. District Judge Paul W. Grimm to defendant Dante Tyler-El, 54, of Landover, is to be followed by five years of supervised release.

Tyler-El pleaded guilty to charges of carjacking and for using, carrying and brandishing a firearm in the commission of a crime of violence.

In a report provided by the office of the U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland, it was stated that in his guilty plea that on June 5, 2019, “Tyler-El perpetrated three armed robberies, as well as the carjacking. As detailed in his plea agreement, at 5:30 a.m. [June 5] Tyler-El assaulted a victim who was pumping gas at a gas station in Prince Frederick, putting a gun to the victim’s face, stealing the victim’s wallets and credit cards, and then placing the victim in handcuffs.”

A Calvert County Sheriff’s Office press release stated the incident occurred at the Safeway gas pumps in the parking lot of the Calvert Village Shopping Center. Sheriff’s office investigators reported the perpetrator’s actions were thwarted by “a brave Calvert County citizen who confronted the man and threatened to call police.” The robber then fled the area in a vehicle. A multi-jurisdictional search was initiated.

Detective Edward Yates of the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office’s Criminal Investigations Bureau conducted an investigation of the Prince Frederick robbery. Tyler-El was subsequently charged in district court with 19 counts in connection with that incident, including three felonies — armed robbery, robbery and first-degree assault. Prosecution of those charges in Calvert was dropped on Aug. 16 when federal investigators took over the case.

In his guilty plea, Tyler-El admitted that at 5 p.m. that day, he “approached a victim who was sitting in her vehicle in a parking lot in Gaithersburg.” According to the U.S. Attorney’s statement in the plea, the woman was “waiting for her daughter to finish dance class. Tyler-El, dressed in a neon construction vest and hard hat, approached the victim holding a Walther PK380 pistol, which he put to the victim’s head and demanded money. Tyler-El then handcuffed the victim and forced her into the back seat of the vehicle, where he restrained her while he rummaged through the vehicle. When the victim screamed, Tyler-El struck her with the pistol, causing severe bruising on the victim’s face. After finding the victim’s credit card, Tyler-El got into the driver’s seat and drove away with the victim still in the back seat. After driving for some distance, Tyler-El got out of the vehicle and fled.”

As part of his plea agreement, Tyler-El confessed that 7 p.m. that day, while wearing the same clothing and brandishing the same gun, he robbed a victim outside an apartment building in Hyattsville. The victim was robbed of $150 cash, court records stated.

About an hour after the Hyattsville robbery, Tyler-El robbed three pedestrians at gunpoint on Eastern Avenue in Washington, D.C., the federal attorney’s report stated. “Tyler-El admitted that during the robbery, he fired the pistol into the air as a show of force to compel the victim’s compliance,” the plea document stated. “Tyler-El stole credit cards and $6 in cash from the victims.”

According to Maryland court documents, the following morning, June 6, a break in the cases came when a Maryland Transportation Authority vehicle passed a silver Ford Taurus on the eastbound span of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. Officer II Y. Anthony reported the license plate reader in the marked patrol vehicle he was driving sounded its alarm just before the Taurus was passed. “The system was showing that the silver Taurus was wanted for questioning regarding an armed robbery,” Anthony stated in court documents. “It further advised that the operator was unknown.”

A brief pursuit ended and after the Taurus driver exited Route 50/301 onto Dominion Road, Anthony activated the patrol vehicle’s emergency equipment. A stop was made in a service station parking lot. “The operator asked me why I was stopping him,” stated Anthony in court documents. “I advised the car he was operating was possibly used in an armed robbery. The operator’s demeanor then changed, and he began to act nervous. He began to shake visibly, moving his hands around and started to perspire from his forehead.”

After obtaining Tyler-El’s permission to search the vehicle, Maryland State Police troopers and Queen Anne’s County sheriff’s deputies arrived at the scene to assist.

“During the search of the vehicle, I located under the front driver’s seat a loaded Walther PK380 semi-automatic handgun,” Anthony stated in court documents. “The handgun was loaded with the hammer pulled back and ready to fire. The magazine had two more rounds in it, so there was a total of three rounds in the weapon. Tyler was then immediately arrested.”

The search of the vehicle also yielded a glass pipe containing suspected cocaine residue, several different licenses, miscellaneous identification cards and bank cards belonging to other people, Anthony stated. A search of Tyler’s person yielded a quantity of cocaine and a bank card with someone else’s name on it.

The Maryland Gun Center advised that Tyler was prohibited from possessing firearms and ammunition due to prior convictions for burglary, robbery and escape. Investigators also learned Tyler was not the registered owner of the Walther PK380. “Armed criminals like Dante Tyler-El jeopardize lives, and they must be held accountable,” said U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur in a statement released after the sentencing hearing. “Police and prosecutors are working to identify armed criminals who deserve to be charged in federal court. As a result of his conviction, Dante Tyler-El will now serve more than 12 years in federal prison, where there is no parole, ever. Please put down the gun and save a life, maybe even your own.”

The case against Tyler-El was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Burden H. Walker. In addition to the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office, Hur commended the FBI, the police departments of Prince George’s and Montgomery counties, and the Metropolitan Police Department for their work in the investigation.

Twitter: @CalRecMARTY