Leader of Violent Drug Trafficking Group in North Philadelphia Sentenced to 18 Years in Prison
PHILADELPHIA – U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain announced today that Damon Edwards, 33, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was sentenced today to 18 years in prison by the Honorable Judge Paul S. Diamond.
Edwards was a leader of a violent drug trafficking group that had operated out of the Norman Blumberg Apartment Complex, a public housing facility in Philadelphia. Edwards pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute 280 grams or more of crack cocaine and distribution of crack cocaine within 1,000 feet of public housing (a drug-free zone).
Edwards and others controlled drug sales in various areas of the public housing facility from 2012 to 2014. These leaders obtained bulk crack and cocaine; cooked and packaged crack cocaine into bundles; hired, fired, and supervised shift sellers and lookouts; levied taxes on members and customers; and provided protection from other drug trafficking groups. The shift sellers were the daily workers employed by the leaders to sell crack cocaine in the locations controlled by the groups, while the lookouts assisted other members of the groups by alerting them to the presence of law enforcement and directing customers to the shift sellers.
“This violent drug trafficking group, led by Edwards, sold crack cocaine 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in and around the Norman Blumberg Apartment Complex in North Philadelphia,” said U.S. Attorney McSwain. “This group used and carried firearms, robbed rival drug dealers, and used intimidation, threats, and violence to further its drug trade. Philadelphia residents can rest assured that my Office will continue to aggressively investigate and prosecute cases like this to keep citizens safe and to dismantle the crack cocaine trade.”
“The investigation, arrest, and successful prosecution of Damon Edwards are evidence of the merits of consistent inter-agency collaborations,” said Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard J. Ross, Jr. “We believe strongly in the value of these multi-tiered collaborative efforts. Mr. Edwards is a member of a violent drug trafficking organization. With his conviction and attendant sentencing, a prolific narcotics offender will be removed from the communities in which he distributed illegal and dangerous substances. We anticipate that arrests, convictions, and sentences such as this, will continue to have an appreciable impact on the safety and quality of life of our city's residents and visitors.”
This case was investigated by the United States Attorney’s Office, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Drug Enforcement Administration in collaboration with the Philadelphia Police Department and Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Jerome Maiatico and Yvonne Osirim.