FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
THURSDAY - May 5, 2011
HALIFAX COUNTY MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO
DRUG AND MONEY LAUNDERING CONSPIRACY
ELIZABETH CITY - United States Attorney George E.B. Holding announced that in federal court on April 26, 2011, CALVIN COLWETH GARNER, JR., also known as “Spoke”, 35, of Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina, pleaded guilty before United States District Judge Terrence W. Boyle to conspiracy to distribute 50 grams or more of cocaine base (crack) and 5 kilograms of cocaine powder in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 846, and conspiracy to commit money laundering in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1956(h).
GARNER has been in federal custody since his arrest by federal authorities on October 1, 2010. He faces up to life imprisonment and a $4,000,000.00 fine.
The investigation of GARNER revealed that GARNER’S drug trafficking activities dated back to 1989. According to investigators, GARNER sold one individual approximately 44 kilograms of cocaine powder between 1995 and 2004 for approximately $1.25 million. Investigators also learned that GARNER’S drug trafficking organization obtained large quantities of cocaine from Texas, Florida, Georgia, and Louisiana utilizing vehicles with hidden compartments that could carry at least twenty (20) kilograms of cocaine per trip. According to investigators, numerous individuals cooperated with law enforcement in the investigation against GARNER, and provided information about GARNER’s leadership in the drug organization.
The investigation revealed that GARNER filed just one tax return between 2002 and 2008, in which he reported an adjusted gross income of $2,500.00 in 2007. Yet, during this time, GARNER made numerous large, cash expenditures on items that included a new 2003 H2 Hummer for more than $60,000.00, drag racing motorcycles and cars, a floor stripping machine for more than $25,000.00, a 1994 Fleetwood Coronado Motorhome for $17,760.00. In 2007, GARNER purchased $28,600.00 in casino chips at a casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.
According to investigators, GARNER used numerous business entities to launder his drug proceeds - including “Rush Entertainment,” “Roanoke Valley Investors,” and “Kalyb’s Carpet & Tile,” which is named after his son. GARNER also instructed numerous people to put property he purchased in their names so he could conceal his ownership of the property. Some of these individuals knowingly made payments for the purchase of items with GARNER’S drug proceeds. For example, in 2006, GARNER and a co-conspirator purchased the 1994 Fleetwood Coronado Motorhome or RV from Roland Holmes Auto Sales in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina, for $17,760.00 using drug proceeds.
This case was part of OPERATION BURNOUT, an investigation being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigative Division, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, and the Halifax and Nash County Sheriff’s Offices targeting drug traffickers in and around Halifax County and Nash County. Approximately 35 individuals have been federally prosecuted as part of this investigation.
In response to this case, Mr. Holding stated, “This investigation is a prime example of the results that can be achieved when local, state, and federal law enforcement work together. The agents involved in this investigation have worked countless hours and have done a tremendous job. We are grateful for their hard work and will continue to join forces with them to dismantle the drug distribution network operating in our district.”
Assistant United States Attorneys Josh Royster and Glenn Perry served as the prosecutors for the government.
News releases are available on the U. S. Attorney’s web page at www.usdoj.gov/usao/nce