FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
THURSDAY - February 15, 2012
DRUG DEALER SENTENCED IN FEDERAL COURT
RALEIGH - United States Attorney Thomas G. Walker announced that in federal court yesterday Chief United States District Judge James C. Dever III, sentenced MATTHEW GERARD HENDY, 28, of Wilmington, North Carolina, to 138 months imprisonment followed by five years supervised release.
On September 23, 2010, a Federal Grand Jury returned a Superseding Criminal Indictment. On January 25, 2012, HENDY pled guilty to conspiring to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute more than 50 kilograms but less than 100 kilograms of marijuana, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 841(a)(1); money laundering by concealment, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1956(a)(1)(B)(1); and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 924(c)(1).
According to the investigation, HENDY was part of a drug trafficking organization that was importing high quality marijuana in bulk amounts from Canada through New York to be distributed in various locations throughout North Carolina. HENDY was responsible for distributing more than 150 kilograms of marijuana with a street value of more than a millions dollars from late 2007 until February, 2009. The marijuana was being transported in hockey bags of between 20 and 40 kilograms.
On March 10, 2008, HENDY and a co-conspirator were traveling in separate car on the way to pay for a previous shipment of marijuana. A North Carolina State Highway Patrolman attempted to stop the car being driven by HENDY. HENDY had more than $192,000 in his vehicle. The co-conspirator swerved his vehicle at the trooper to distract him from stopping HENDY. The trooper was able to avoid a collision with that car and continued to pursue HENDY. HENDY took the officer on a high speed chase on Interstate 95 in Johnston County. Both HENDY and his co-conspirator were weaving in and out of traffic during the chase at a high rate of speed. Law enforcement was ultimately able to stop both cars and recovered the currency after HENDY lead them on a foot chase.
On May 23, 2008, HENDY and three others were intercepted by sheriff’s deputies in two hotel rooms in Broome County, New York. The investigation resulted because of a complaint of the odor of marijuana. The deputies found several empty hockey bags that had the odor of marijuana, a vacuum sealer (used to package money) and a money counting machine.
On February 17, 2009, HENDY and three co-conspirators orchestrated a plan to obtain five pounds of marijuana from a source in Charlotte, North Carolina. They indicated they would pay more than $25,000 for the marijuana, but planned to rip-off the dealer in part to repay someone who had previously posted bond for one of the co-conspirators for a pending drug charge. HENDY and two of his co-conspirators received the marijuana exchanging it for a package containing a small quantity of money and newspaper. This exchange occurred in a parking lot in Wilmington, North Carolina. A car chase ensued. HENDY was a passenger in the car with the marijuana. The car ultimately lost sight of HENDY’s vehicle and disengaged the pursuit.
In the early morning hours of February 18, 2009, a Wilmington Police Officer attempted to perform a traffic stop of the vehicle in which HENDY was a passenger. The officer, recognizing the car matched the description of a car from an unrelated criminal offense, started following it. The vehicle fled, violating several traffic laws, taking officers on a high speed chase. During the pursuit one of the co-conspirators threw a Glock .40 caliber handgun out of the car.
When the car stopped, officers started to approach the car, however, before they could reach it, the car accelerated and drove off. HENDY and at least one of the other co-conspirators were on probation at the time. The officers resumed the pursuit, radioing for assistance. Wilmington Police Officer Richard Matthews was responding to this call for assistance. While driving to the area of the pursuit, Matthews lost control of his patrol car and was killed.
During the pursuit, officers noticed pound-sized plastic bags containing marijuana being thrown from the vehicle. After throwing five bags from the vehicle, the vehicle stopped and the officer arrested three males. The following day the handgun was also recovered.
This case was brought as a part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) operation entitled Gingerbread Man, investigating importers and distributors of high grade marijuana from Canada.
Investigation of this case was conducted by the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigations; and the Wilmington Police Department. Special Assistant United States Attorney Timothy Severo represents the government. Mr. Severo is a prosecutor with the New Hanover District Attorney’s Office. District Attorney Ben David 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 and the New Hanover County Commissioners.