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Press Release

Leader of Elizabeth City Fentanyl Trafficking Ring Sentenced to More than 12 Years in Federal Prison

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

WILMINGTON, N.C. – A leader of a drug trafficking organization based in Elizabeth City moving kilogram quantities of heroin and fentanyl in was sentenced today to 150 months in prison for his role as a major supplier of drugs in Eastern North Carolina.  On July 26, 2023, Jamal Dance, age 31, pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute 40 grams or more of a mixture and substance containing fentanyl and 100 grams or more of a mixture and substance containing fentanyl analogue between 2019 and 2022.

“Fentanyl is wreaking havoc on communities and tearing apart families throughout Eastern North Carolina,” said U.S. Attorney Michael Easley. “This case exemplifies our unwavering dedication to thoroughly investigate and bring to justice the suppliers who are helping fuel this deadly epidemic.”

"Dance distributed dangerous drugs into his own community. Each brick of fentanyl he smuggled here, equaled 50 doses. When you do the math using the results of our investigation, it is astounding to think of the damage he did to so many people's lives," said Robert M. DeWitt, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in North Carolina. "While we have taken this drug dealer off the streets, the FBI and our partners will continue working together to make our neighborhoods safe for everyone."

“I would like to thank all agencies and personnel involved in this case,” said Pasquotank County Sheriff Tommy Wooten. “I’m grateful for our working relationship to ensure the safety of our respected communities. I look forward to continuing the effort to keep this poison off the streets.”

According to court documents and other information presented in court, the Pasquotank Sheriff’s Office and the Elizabeth City Police Department, in conjunction with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, initiated an investigation in 2020 targeting a drug trafficking organization (DTO) engaged in the importation of heroin and fentanyl from New Jersey. Through surveillance, controlled buys and investigative interviews, Dance was identified as the leader of the DTO. The investigation also revealed Dance’s role in regularly acquiring 25,000 individual dosage units of fentanyl from his source in New Jersey and distributing them through his DTO in Elizabeth City and the surrounding area. On June 2, 2022, Dance was arrested in Chesapeake, VA after returning from securing supply in New Jersey. The search of his vehicle resulted in the discovery of over $14,000 in cash, and 10,000 individually packaged dosage units of fentanyl and fentanyl analogue, totaling approximately 150 grams.  On the same date, a search warrant was executed at his residence in Elizabeth City, where officers seized a loaded .40 caliber handgun, a loaded AR rifle, various ammunitions, cash and marijuana.

This investigation was an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launders, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.

Michael Easley, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina made the announcement after sentencing by Chief U.S. District Judge Richard E. Myers II.  The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Pasquotank, Dare and Camden County Sheriffs’ Offices, the Elizabeth City and Chesapeake (VA) Police Departments and the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation investigated the case and Assistant U.S. Attorney Kate Englander prosecuted the case.

Related court documents and information can be found on the website of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina or on PACER by searching for Case No. 2:22-cr-00022-M.


Updated October 26, 2023

Drug Trafficking