News and Press Releases


MONDAY - March 15, 2010


WILMINGTON - United States Attorney George E.B. Holding announced that in federal court on March 9, 2010, a federal jury found DERMOT D. SPENCE, 45, of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, was found guilty of one count of conspiring to distribute and possession with intent to distribute more than 100 kilograms of marijuana, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 841(a) and one count of aiding and abetting the distribution and possession with intent to distribute more than 100 kilograms of marijuana, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 841(a)(1).

A Federal Grand Jury returned a Superseding Criminal Indictment on December 10, 2009.

On June 12, 2008, it was learned, through co-defendant Ahmed Shawakha, that SPENCE was involved in the distribution of drugs. Shawakha, the manager of a convenience store on Murchison Road in Fayetteville, North Carolina, explained that a customer, co-defendant Audley Arnold, had approached him about selling marijuana, and two months previously, he and Arnold received a shipment of 300 pounds of marijuana. As Shawakha sold the marijuana and collected the money, Shawakha gave the money to Arnold, who made several trips to New York to give the money to Arnold’s his son. Another marijuana shipment of approximately 414 pounds of regular marijuana and 64 pounds of hydroponic marijuana was delivered. This marijuana was packaged in blocks wrapped in about an inch of plastic wrap. Each block was labeled with a weight and the blocks were in black duffel bags. SPENCE and co-defendant, Gary T. Dobson unloaded the shipment. Shawakha later identified them later as the same two who delivered the first 300 pounds of marijuana. On June 16, 2008, Arnold and Shawakha were arrested.

At sentencing, scheduled for June 7, 2010, SPENCE faces up to 40 years imprisonment followed by up to five years supervised release and a fine of up to $2,000,000.

Investigation of this case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Drug Enforcement Administration; Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, and the Susquahanna, Pennsylvania, Township Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer Wells represented the government.

News releases are available on the U. S. Attorney’s web page at within 48 hours of release.

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