News and Press Releases

Leader of Heroin Trafficking Ring In Tidewater Pleads Guilty

January 29, 2010

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – The leader of a heroin drug trafficking ring responsible for bringing heroin from New York and New Jersey to the Virginia Peninsula pled guilty to managing a criminal enterprise this week in federal court.

            Darryl Wright, 44, of Hampton, Va., pled guilty on Jan. 27, 2010, to being an organizer and manager of a criminal enterprise that engaged in narcotics distribution. In addition, two other members of the organization – Alicia L. Wright, 29, of Newport News, Va., and Gordon M. Pettaway, 49, of Hampton, Va. – also pled guilty on Wednesday. Alicia Wright pled guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering and Pettaway pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute heroin.
            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 pleas were accepted by United States Magistrate Judge James E. Bradberry. 

            All three were charged in an indictment returned by a federal grand jury on Jan. 13, 2010.  According to the indictment, members of the heroin ring generally traveled by bus to New York or New Jersey, purchased 200 grams of heroin, and brought the heroin back to a “table top” location allegedly set up by Wright in the cities of Hampton and Newport News, where the heroin would be cut and repackaged for street-level distribution.  This organization allegedly distributed heroin in the cities of Newport News, Hampton, Poquoson, and Williamsburg and in the counties of Gloucester, James City, Mathews, Middlesex and York.

            Darryl Wright faces a maximum penalty of life imprisonment and a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years.  His sentencing is set for April 30, 2010. Alicia Wright faces a maximum penalty of 20 years. Her sentencing is set for April 29, 2010. Pettaway faces a maximum penalty of 40 years and a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years. Pettaway’s sentencing is set for April 28, 2010.

            In a statement of facts filed with his plea agreement, Darryl Wright admitted to being the overall organizer, leader and manager of the Wright Drug Trafficking Organization (DTO), a criminal enterprise from which he obtained substantial income and resources.  Following the arrests of 20 co-conspirators in this case, federal agents served search warrants on two safety deposit boxes leased by Darryl Wright and seized $22,545 from one and $89,440.25 from the other. 
            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.
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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