Final Defendants Convicted in Large-Scale Wilmington Drug Conspiracy
WILMINGTON, Del. – David C. Weiss, U.S. Attorney for the District of Delaware, announced that Robert Shepherd III, 42, of Philadelphia, PA, pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute cocaine. Shepherd was the final defendant to be convicted in “Operation French Connection,” an FBI investigation that led to the prosecution of seven defendants in federal court. Just four weeks ago, Defendants Brian Wilson, a/k/a “Fudayl Wakim” and Mark Bower, a/k/a Kenneth Flowers, were convicted of similar charges after a week-long jury trial. Shepherd, Wilson, and Flowers are expected to be sentenced in early 2019.
The convictions are the result of a long-term New Castle County High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (“HIDTA”) investigation spearheaded by the FBI Delaware Violent Crime Safe Streets Taskforce. Investigators seized four firearms, over five kilograms of cocaine, and roughly 150 grams of heroin as part of the case.
U.S. Attorney Weiss stated, “A significant drug distribution network has been removed from the streets of Wilmington. The conviction of these three defendants is a result of the tremendous cooperation between the FBI, the Wilmington Police Department, and our HIDTA partners.
The FBI Delaware Violent Crime Safe Streets Taskforce is a part of the New Castle County HIDTA, comprised of the Delaware State Police, Delaware Department of Probation and Parole, New Castle County Police Department, University of Delaware Police Department, and Wilmington Police Department. The Delaware Department of Justice also assisted in this case. The case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher L. de Barrena-Sarobe and Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexander S. Mackler.