Suitland Drug Ringleader Sentenced to 14 Years in Prison

May 2, 2011

Greenbelt, Maryland - Chief U.S. District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow sentenced John Willis Cox, age 42, of Clinton, Maryland, today to 14 years in prison followed by five years of supervised release for conspiring to distribute cocaine and possession of a gun by a felon. Judge Chasanow enhanced Cox’s sentence upon finding that he is a career offender based on two prior drug convictions.

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Ava Cooper-Davis of the Drug Enforcement Administration - Washington Field Division; Special Agent in Charge Richard A. McFeely of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Interim Chief Mark Magaw of the Prince George’s County Police Department.

“Today’s sentencing of John Willis Cox closes the book on a significant drug trafficking ring impacting the Washington D.C. metropolitan area,” said Special Agent-in-Charge Ava A. Cooper-Davis of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Washington Division. “This career offender will now be behind bars for many years, as he deserves. It clearly demonstrates DEA’s commitment, by working with our state and local partners, to stop drug traffickers who profit from the harm they present to our community.”

According to his guilty plea, Cox led a drug trafficking ring in Suitland, Maryland. From at least February 2007 to February 2009, Cox regularly sold multiple kilogram of cocaine to several regular drug customers in the Washington, D.C. metro area. For example, in August 2007 Cox sold 111.5 grams of cocaine to an informant for $4,000; in September 2007 he sold quantities of cocaine and powder cocaine for $3,800; and in January 2008 Cox sold a quantity of cocaine for $3,800.

Cox stored his cocaine at apartments on Silver Hill Court in Suitland and sold quantities of drugs ranging from “8-balls” (3.5 grams) to full kilograms, from one of the apartments. Cox paid others, in money or drugs, to store drugs for him.

A search warrant was executed at Cox’s residence on February 25, 2009. Officers seized a loaded semi-automatic handgun, boxes of ammunition and two digital scales with cocaine residue. Cox had two prior drug convictions and thus, was prohibited from possessing a gun.

Cox is responsible for the distribution of between 15 and 50 kilograms of cocaine.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the DEA, FBI and the Prince George’s County Police Department for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorney Christen Sproule, who prosecuted this Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force case.

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