Man pleads guilty to assaulting, attempting to rob undercover ATF agents

Posted at 3:29 PM, Oct 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-16 15:29:05-04

A Baltimore man pleaded guilty in federal court to assaulting an undercover agent of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the United State's Attorney for the District of Maryland said.

Menard Hazelwood pleaded guilty to assault of a federal officer and brandishing a firearm in connection with the May 26, 2017 attempted robbery. He faces between seven and 15 years in prison if the plea is accepted. Hazelwood is scheduled to be sentenced March 29, 2019.

Donte Smith, Hazelwod's 33-year-old co-defendant, is schedule for arraignment Friday, Oct. 19. 

According to Hazelwood's plea, the two undercover ATF agents made an arrangement with a criminal informant to buy $2,000 worth of heroin. The agents and the CI drove and picked up the heroin dealer, driving to another location in West Baltimore to meet the dealer's supplier. When they got to the location, the dealer got out of the car and told the others to wait.

At that point, Hazelwood and Smith approached the car. Smith asked one of the ATF agents for a light, while Hazelwood used the distraction to point a gun at the other agent and demanded money. The agents said there was cash in the car, then gave the distress signal to the ATF monitoring team that was watching the sting. 

The responding team told Hazelwood and Smith to drop their weapons. Smith tried to flee and was shot by an a responding agent. Hazelwood tried to get in a car and flee, but he was arrested at the scene. 

ATF agents recovered a .44-caliber revolver used by Smith but didn't find Hazelwood's gun. 

Hazelwood admitted to participating in the robbery but said he didn't know the targets were ATF agents at the time.