FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
For Information Contact:
District Man Sentenced to 20-Year Prison Term,
Arrested After Authorities Intercept Heroin Shipments
-Drugs Hidden in Lampshades, Dresses, Other Items-
WASHINGTON - Gary Allen Lewis, 43, was sentenced today to a 20-year prison term on a federal drug charge stemming from an investigation into shipments of large quantities of heroin into Washington, D.C., U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. announced.
Lewis, of Washington, D.C., pled guilty in February 2012 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to a charge of possession with intent to distribute heroin. He was sentenced by the Honorable Robert L. Wilkins.
Lewis was arrested in August 2011, following an investigation led by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Metropolitan Police Department (MPD). Authorities intercepted a series of shipments of heroin before any of the drugs could be distributed on the street. The drugs were hidden in packages to be delivered to the residences of the defendant’s relatives in Northeast Washington. In the various shipments, heroin was hidden inside lampshades, pencil containers, the hems of dresses, and the lining of purses.
Overall, the drugs had an estimated street value of about $150,000.
According to the government’s evidence, on Aug. 4, 2011, agents from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York intercepted a package that had been shipped from India and was addressed to “Ebony Mays,” at a location in Northeast Washington, D.C. When agents opened the box, they found pillow covers and decorative lampshades. A further inspection of the lamp shades revealed heroin hidden in the shades’ frames. The total amount of heroin contained in the package was 480 grams.
A controlled delivery of the package was coordinated with law enforcement officials in Washington, D.C. On Aug. 10, 2011, an undercover officer attempted to deliver the package and was greeted at the location by the defendant’s sister, who agreed to accept the package after falsely identifying herself as “Ebony Mays.” A brief time later, Lewis arrived at his sister’s home to retrieve the package. Once Lewis had retrieved the package from inside of the house, he was stopped and arrested as he was trying to put the package into his vehicle.
In addition, on July 14 and 15, 2011, Lewis arranged to have two other packages of heroin, each containing about one-half kilogram of heroin, shipped to the United States. The heroin was to be hidden inside some other product to disguise it and prevent its detection by law enforcement. Both packages were to be delivered to the Northeast Washington home of Lewis’s mother. The first package contained dresses, with packages of heroin sewn into the hems. The second package contained two purses and three scarves. Inside the lining of each of the two purses was secreted a package of suspected heroin. Both packages were seized by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection component of the Department of Homeland Security.
An analysis by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration revealed that the two packages contained about 526.1 grams and 459.2 grams, respectively, of a mixture and substance containing a detectable amount of heroin.
Some time prior to Aug. 8, 2011, Lewis arranged to have yet another package of heroin shipped to the United States. The heroin was to be hidden inside another product in order to disguise it and to prevent its detection by law enforcement. The package was delivered to the Northeast Washington home of Lewis’s aunt. Lewis acknowledged that he asked his aunt to accept this package on his behalf. This package was seized by Customs and Border Protection on Aug. 8, 2011. The package contained pencil containers; hidden in each of the pencil containers was a mixture and substance containing a detectable amount of heroin. On Aug. 11, 2011, an undercover investigator from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service delivered the package to the listed address and it was accepted by the defendant’s aunt. After the passage of a certain amount of time, agents of the Department of Homeland Security retrieved the package. The suspected heroin was sent to the DEA for analysis. An analysis of that substance revealed that it contained 440.2 grams of a mixture and substance containing a detectable amount of heroin.
In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Machen commended the work of members of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and its U.S. Customs and Border Protection component, as well as the Metropolitan Police Department and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. He also acknowledged the efforts of Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rikki McCoy, Arvind Lal, who secured the indictment in the case, and Emory V. Cole and Brittan K. Heller, who prosecuted the case.