Heroin Kingpin Sentenced to 25 Years in Prison
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – Darryl Wright, 44, of Hampton, Va., was sentenced today to 25 years in prison for his role as the organizer and leader of a heroin trafficking ring operating in the Virginia Peninsula. This case was prosecuted federally after being brought to the attention of federal authorities by the Newport News Police Department. Approximately $1.1 million worth of property was ordered forfeited in the case.
Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Alex. J. Turner, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office; and James D. Fox, Chief of Newport News Police, made the announcement after the sentencing by United States District Judge Rebecca Beach Smith.
“Heroin is a poison that ruins families and communities,” said U.S. Attorney MacBride. “Law enforcement, with dedication and hard work, has removed a major trafficking ring from the Virginia peninsula and placed heroin traffickers behind bars for a very long time.”
“Once again, I am so proud of the continuing hard work being done by the men and women of our local, state and federal law enforcement agencies.” said Chief Fox “With the continued positive attitude and hard work we will continue to remove criminals from the wonderful communities we all serve. Let this case serve as yet another statement to the criminal ‘we are coming after you’.”
According to court documents, Wright was the leader and organizer of a drug trafficking organization that obtained heroin from suppliers in New York City which was transported to the Virginia Peninsula. Wright’s organization used locations in Newport News and Hampton, known as “table tops” to store the heroin and then to cut the heroin, diluting the purity, before the heroin was packaged into glassine bags for distribution. On Aug. 19, 2009, unknown persons attempted forced entry into one of the “table tops” in Hampton, Va, and shots were fired. Later, investigators served a search warrant at the location and seized 494 glassine bags of heroin, several bags of uncut heroin, and five firearms.
Distributors for the organization sold heroin in the cities of Newport News, Hampton, Poquoson, Williamsburg, and the counties of York, James City, Gloucester, Middlesex and Mathews. The organization used “testers,” who would use the heroin intravenously and then rate the quality of the heroin on a scale from 1 to 10. According to court documents, a glassine bag containing .04 gram of heroin was typically sold for $10 to users, but mid-level distributors for the organization obtained a “bundle” (10 bags of heroin) for the reduced price of $60. On Nov. 10, 2009, as part of this investigation, troopers with the Virginia State Police stopped a rental vehicle used by the organization and recovered approximately 200 grams of heroin. According to court documents, since 2007 the organization has distributed over 10 kilograms of heroin.
Wright was arrested in December 2009, together with 21 co-defendants, when the organization was dismantled. To date, 20 defendants have been convicted based on their participating in this heroin ring. Maurice Harvey Witherspoon, a/k/a “Monk,” 47, originally from New York, but believed to be living in North Carolina, remains a fugitive in the case.
Other defendants sentenced in the case include:
· Loren Mason, 42, of Newport News, Va., to 154 months in prison
· Joseph Vick, Jr., 57, of Newport News, Va. to 144 months in prison
· James Towns, 57, of Hampton, Va. to 132 months in prison
· John Marc Morris, 38, of Newport News, Va. to 120 months in prison
· Toninester Williams, 45, of Newport News, Va. to 120 months in prison
· Dwayne Blackwell, 28, of Newport News, Va. to 89 months in prison
· Omar Deloatch, 28, of Newport News, Va. to 71 months in prison
· Gordon Pettaway, 47, of Hampton, Va., to 60 months in prison
· Richard Glasper, 60, of Hampton, Va. to 45 months in prison
· Taurean Gladding, 23, of Brooklyn, N.Y., to 39 months in prison
· Roger Evans, 60, of Hampton, Va., to 37 months in prison
· Alicia Wright, 27, of Newport News, Va., was sentenced for money laundering to 12 months in prison. According to court documents, Alicia Wright accepted U.S. currency, which was drug proceeds, that she deposited into banks and then used the funds to pay for expenses for the organization, including renting cars and making car payments.
The remaining eight defendants, Joshua Autrey, Obadiah Bennett, Darryl Faulkner, Edward Hill, Marc D. Johnson, Christina Lane, David Morris and Edward Myricks have plead guilty but have not yet been sentenced.
This case was investigated by an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) led by the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office, and an investigative team that included 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.