FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
THURSDAY - MAY 13, 2010
FIRST BROTHER SENTENCED IN DRUG CONSPIRACY
WILMINGTON - United States Attorney George E.B. Holding announced that in federal court United States District Judge James C. Fox sentenced AARON COPPEDGE, 29, of Snow Hill, North Carolina, to a life-term of imprisonment followed by 10 years supervised release. The Court found that he was a career offender based on his prior state convictions of two counts of trafficking cocaine, one count of selling cocaine, one count of possessing cocaine, one count of maintaining a dwelling or vehicle to keep cocaine, and one count of discharging a firearm into occupied property.
On February 5, 2010, a federal jury found COPPEDGE guilty of all six counts charged in the July 9, 2009, Indictment, which included one count of conspiring to possess with the intent to distribute more than 50 grams of cocaine base (crack), in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 846; three counts of aiding and abetting the distribution of five grams or more of cocaine base (crack), in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 841(a)(1); one count of distribution of five grams or more of cocaine base (crack), in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 841(a)(1); and one count of possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of cocaine base (crack), in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 841(a)(1).
In a separate trial on February 18, 2010, a federal jury found his brothers, Donnell Coppedge, 31, and Donald Junior Coppedge, 33, guilty on charges of crack cocaine distribution.
Evidence during the Donnell and Donald Coppedge trials showed that the brothers had been selling crack daily since the late 1990’s in the Snow Hill area from at least five different locations, including their mother’s trailer, while utilizing at least three runners to help them sell and distribute the crack. One witness testified that Donnell Coppedge sold him 2.5 ounces of crack and powder cocaine every week for 10 months in 2007, a total of approximately 90 ounces or almost three kilograms. A second witness testified Donnell Coppedge supplied him with approximately nine ounces of cocaine a week for eight months during 2006, a total of approximately 288 ounces or eight kilograms of powder cocaine and five ounces of crack in the Fall of 2007. This witness also testified that he began supplying Donnell Coppedge with cocaine in December, 2007, and that from that time until February, 2008, he sold Donnell Coppedge 7.25 kilograms of cocaine. Finally, a third witness testified that he sold Donald Junior Coppedge two ounces of crack every two weeks from 2003 to 2005, which totals approximately three kilograms, and that, from 2004 to 2006, he and Donnell Coppedge would supply each other with cocaine when their regular suppliers were out. On June, 3, 2009, the day of Donald Junior Coppedge’s arrest on state charges, law enforcement found 28 grams of cocaine that he later admitted was his. On July 21, 2009, after Donald Junior Coppedge’s arrest on his federal charges, he admitted to buying two ounces of cocaine a month from his supplier for a year starting the end of 2007 and to buying 72 grams each of crack cocaine and powder cocaine for a year-period starting the end of 2006.
Evidence during the AARON COPPEDGE trial showed that he was selling crack and powder cocaine in April, 2008, and that he used co-defendants, Tavares Waters and Roy Rhodes, to make deliveries for him.
It was also revealed during the trials that during the course of the investigation numerous controlled buys were executed in which AARON COPPEDGE and Donald Junior Coppedge sold crack. Two of the controlled buys occurred across the street from an elementary school in Snow Hill. On April 25, 2008, deputies witnessed the passenger in a car being driven by Donnell Coppedge throw a paper towel out the window upon realizing a police check point was ahead. The deputies recovered the paper towel and found in it 73 grams of crack. Donnell Coppedge and the car’s passenger were arrested. It was determined that Donnell Coppedge asked the passenger to ride with him and when they saw the check point, Donnell Coppedge gave the passenger the crack and told him to toss it.
At the sentencing scheduled for July 6, 2010, Donald Coppedge faces up to 30 years imprisonment while Donnell Coppedge faces up to a life term of imprisonment.
Investigation of this case was conducted by the Greene County Sheriff’s Office and the Greenville/Pitt County Drug Task Force that includesthe Greenville Police Department, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office, the Winterville Police Department and the Farmville Police Department. Other agencies included in the investigation include the North Carolina Highway Patrol, the Lenoir County Sheriff’s Office, and the North Carolina Department of Corrections. Special Assistant United States Attorney Glenn Perry was the assigned Prosecutor.Mr. Perry is a prosecutor with the Pitt County District Attorney’s Office.District Attorney Clark Everett has assigned him to the United States Attorney’s Office to prosecute federal Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force criminal matters.This has been made possible by a grant funded by the Governor’s Crime Commission.
News releases are available on the U. S. Attorney’s web page at www.usdoj.gov/usao/nce within 48 hours of release.