FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
THURSDAY - April 2, 2009
PENNSYLVANIA/NORTH CAROLINA DRUG TRAFFICKERS SENTENCED
RALEIGH - United States Attorney George E.B. Holding announced that in federal court yesterday, United States District Judge Terrence W. Boyle sentenced BRENTON BAKER, 38, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to 120 months imprisonment followed by five years supervised release, and RANDY LEE DARDEN, 40, of Warsaw, North Carolina, to 40 months imprisonment followed by five years supervised release.
A federal grand jury returned a Criminal Indictment against BRENTON BAKER and RANDY LEE DARDEN, along with co-defendant Bernard Thomas, on October 8, 2008. On December 9, 2008, both BAKER and DARDEN pleaded guilty to a conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute more then five (5) kilograms of cocaine.
In July 2008, DARDEN contacted an undercover officer to arrange the purchase of multiple kilograms of powder cocaine. After several recorded phone conversations, an agreement was made to meet in person to negotiate the details for the sale of cocaine. On August 15, 2008, BAKER and THOMAS flew from Philadelphia to the Raleigh-Durham International Airport. BAKER, DARDEN, and Thomas then met in Warsaw, North Carolina, with undercover officers whom the defendants believed to be sources of cocaine. After finalizing the details of the cocaine transaction, BAKER and Thomas immediately returned to Philadelphia.
On August 17, 2008, BAKER and Thomas drove from Philadelphia back to Warsaw with approximately $120,000.00 in U. S. currency, intending to purchase six kilograms of cocaine. At the pre-arranged meeting location, BAKER showed an undercover officer the money. A second undercover officer then arrived with the cocaine. Immediately upon BAKER taking possession of the cocaine, law enforcement officers arrested BAKER, DARDEN, and Thomas.
Mr. Holding commented, “It is gratifying to see that the hard work and coordination between law enforcement agencies in Pennsylvania and North Carolina have come to a satisfactory conclusion. These drug traffickers will be off the streets for some time.”
Thomas’ sentencing has been set for the June 15, 2009, term of court.
Investigation of the case was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) - Wilmington Task Force, DEA - Philadelphia, Duplin County Sheriff’s Office, Fayetteville Police Department, Warsaw Police Department, Kenansville Police Department, and Beulaville Police Department. Assistant United States AttorneyBrian S. Meyers served as the prosecutor for the government.
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