News and Press Releases

Ten Alleged Members of a Major Heroin Trafficking Ring Indicted

January 13, 2010

(Newport News, Va) - Ten alleged members of a major heroin trafficking ring were indicted today on a total of 12 charges involving a criminal racketeering enterprise that engaged in narcotics distribution, money laundering, and weapons violations.

            Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Alex J. Turner, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI's Norfolk Division; and James D. Fox, Chief of Newport News Police, made the announcement after the indictment was returned by a federal grand jury. 

            “Today’s charges could not have happened without the great work of our partners in the FBI, Newport News Police Department, and others on this task force,” said U.S. Attorney MacBride. “Heroin is a very addictive, deadly drug. We’re aggressively targeting heroin traffickers and doing everything we can to keep this drug off our streets.”

            “With the amount of violence we experience in Newport News and the fact that many crimes of violence are connected to illegal drug activity, we will continue to work with both the federal and state prosecutors in our efforts to remove both violence and illegal drugs from the streets of Newport News,” said Chief Fox. “We will continue to take more serious cases to the United States Attorney’s Office because the federal system is helping us to remove criminals from our streets for longer periods of time. This case is an excellent example of what can be done when the federal and state systems work together as a team to fight violent crime.”

            According to the indictment, Darryl Wright, 44, of Hampton, Va., is the alleged leader of a heroin drug trafficking organization responsible for bringing heroin from New York and New Jersey to the Virginia Peninsula since at least January, 2007.  Members of the heroin ring generally travel by bus to New York or New Jersey, purchase 200 grams of heroin, and bring the heroin back to a “table top” home allegedly set up by Wright in the southeast community of Newport News, where the heroin would be cut and repackaged for street-level distribution.

            Those individuals charged today include:

  • Darryl Wright, 44, of Hampton, Va.;            
  • Marc D. Johnson, 39, of New Jersey;
  • Obadiah Rhodes Bennett,  37, of Newport News;
  • Edward Myricks, 44, of Newport News, Va.; 
  • Maurice Harvey Witherspoon, 47, of Dendron, Va.,
  • Gordon M. Pettaway, 49, of Hampton, Va.;
  • Darryl Danell Faulkner, 40, of Richmond, Va.;
  • Alicia L. Wright, 29, of Newport News, Va.;
  • Joshua A. Autrey, 26, of Newport News, Va.; and
  • Christina A. Lane, 20, of Irvington, N. J.

            In addition to those indicted today, 12 defendants previously arrested on Dec. 10, 2009, have pled guilty to numerous narcotics and firearms charges.
            This case was investigated by an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) led by the FBI’s Norfolk Division, and the investigative team that including Newport News Police Department, the Virginia State Police, the Hampton Police Division, the Poquoson Police Department, the Department of Veterans Affairs Office the Inspector General, Criminal Investigations Division, and the United States Army, Criminal Investigations Division.   Assistant United States Attorney Laura P. Tayman is prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.

            Criminal indictments are only charges and not evidence of guilt.  A defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty. 

            A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at  Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia at or on



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