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Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Columbia

Monday, March 20, 2017

Maryland Man Found Guilty of Conspiracy To Distribute and Possess Heroin

Drug Organization Sold Narcotics in Washington, D.C. Area

            WASHINGTON – James Durrette, 45, of Clinton, Md., has been found guilty by a jury of a federal drug charge stemming from his role in a drug trafficking organization that operated in the Washington, D.C. area.


            The guilty verdict, which was returned March 16, 2017, was announced today by U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips, Andrew Vale, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, Andre R. Watson, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Baltimore, and Peter Newsham, Acting Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).


            Durrette was found guilty of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 100 grams of heroin. The verdict followed a trial in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Under federal sentencing guidelines, he could face a sentence of up to life incarceration. With his prior conviction for a similar drug offense, Durrette faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison. He is to be sentenced June 1, 2017, by the Honorable Amit P. Mehta.


            The government’s evidence established that Durrette and others participated in a conspiracy to distribute large amounts of narcotics between 2009 and2014. This drug trafficking group mainly involved itself with trafficking very large quantities of marijuana, but also involved itself with redistributing various and significant quantities of heroin and cocaine. In that regard, during the conspiracy, California suppliers frequently sent – or conspired to send – large quantities of marijuana, heroin, or cocaine to the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, where Durrette and others participated in the illegal redistribution of one or more of the controlled substances to others in the Washington, D.C., area for profit.


            Several others previously pled guilty to charges in the investigation.


            In announcing the verdict, U.S. Attorney Phillips, Assistant Director in Charge Vale, Special Agent in Charge Watson, and Acting Chief Newsham praised the work of the FBI Safe Streets Gang Task Force, which in this case involved work from the FBI, the Metropolitan Police Department, and HSI. They also expressed appreciation for the assistance provided by the Prince George’s County, Md. Police Department. In addition, they commended the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Paralegal Specialists Jeannette Litz, Candace Battle, Rommel Pachoca, Mary Downing, and Teesha Tobias; Legal Assistants Holly Crouse and Peter Gaboton; Intern Zachary Kaplan, and Litigation Technology Specialist Kimberly Smith. Finally, they commended the work of Trial Attorney Andrea G. Duvall of the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division, and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kenneth F. Whitted and Emory V. Cole, who indicted and prosecuted the case.

Drug Trafficking
Press Release Number: 
Updated March 20, 2017