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Press Release

Eleventh and Twelfth Defendants Plead Guilty in Large-Scale Sacramento Cocaine and Heroin Trafficking Conspiracy

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of California

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Maurice Bryant, 53, of Antelope, pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to traffic at least 5,000 grams of cocaine and 280 grams of cocaine base, and Steven Hampton, 64, of Sacramento, pleaded guilty today to one count of possession with intent to distribute at least 500 grams of cocaine, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

According to court documents, Bryant and Hampton are among the 15 federal defendants arrested in 2021 and charged in a 45-count indictment for trafficking narcotics as part of a DEA-led multi-agency operation targeting cocaine and heroin traffickers in North Sacramento. Bryant was intercepted during wiretaps in 2018 and 2019 trafficking kilograms of cocaine and cocaine base and was arrested in possession of two firearms and a bullet proof vest. Hampton was intercepted trafficking cocaine, cocaine base, and heroin, and arrested in possession of 949 grams of heroin, 567 grams of cocaine, and 34 grams of cocaine base.  

This case is the product of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations, the U.S. Marshals Service, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, the California Department of Justice, the California Highway Patrol, the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office, and the Sacramento Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Cameron L. Desmond is prosecuting the case.

Bryant and Hampton are scheduled to be sentenced on July 11, 2024, by U.S. District Judge Troy L. Nunley. Bryant faces at least 10 years in prison and a maximum of life in prison and a $10 million fine. Hampton faces at least five years in prison and a maximum of 40 years in prison and a $5 million fine. The actual sentences, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.

Five defendants have already been convicted and sentenced for crimes related to the conspiracy: Jason Tolbert, 45, of Sacramento; Charles Carter, 36, of Sacramento; Michael Hampton, 57, of Vallejo; Arlington Caine, 48, of Rio Linda; and Bobby Conner, 51, of Sacramento.

Five more defendants have pleaded guilty and await sentencing in April and May 2024: Andre Hellams, 40, of North Highlands; Jerome Adams, 56, of North Highlands; Dwight Haney, 52, of Sacramento; Tyrone Anderson, 43, of Sacramento; and Mark Martin, 63, of Sacramento.

Charges remain pending against the following defendants: Yovanny Ontiveros, 41, of Sacramento; Alex White, 61, of North Highlands; and Wilmer Harden, 52, of Elk Grove. The charges are only allegations; the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

This prosecution is part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) Strike Force Initiative, which provides for the establishment of permanent multi-agency task force teams that work side-by-side in the same location. The Sacramento Strike Force is a co-located model enables agents from different agencies to collaborate on intelligence-driven, multi-jurisdictional operations to disrupt and dismantle the most significant drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations. The specific mission of the Sacramento Strike Force is to identify, investigate, disrupt, and dismantle the most significant drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) and transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) shipping narcotics, firearms, and money through the Eastern District of California, thereby reducing the flow of these criminal resources in California and the rest of the United States. The Sacramento Strike Force leads intelligence-driven investigations targeting the leadership and support elements of these DTOs and TCOs operating within the Eastern District of California, regardless of their geographic base of operations.

Updated March 28, 2024

Drug Trafficking