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Press Release

South Philadelphia Drug Trafficking Ringleader Sentenced to Nearly 20 Years in Prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Pennsylvania
For Nearly Two Years His 10-Member Drug Gang Sold Massive Amounts of Narcotics in South Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA – Acting United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams announced that Basil Bey, 31, of Philadelphia, PA, was sentenced to 19.5 years in prison, and six years of supervised release by United States District Judge Gerald A. McHugh for conspiring to distribute heroin and crack cocaine, and distributing heroin and crack cocaine, including near a playground.

Bey’s sentence comes after a jury returned guilty verdicts in December 2017 against Bey and three of his co-conspirators, all from Philadelphia, who have already been sentenced for their roles in the conspiracy: Reginald White, 34, was sentenced to 17.5 years, Tyrik Upchurch, 33, was sentenced to 18 years and seven months; and Amin Wadley, 29, was sentenced to 15.5 years. Six other defendants, also all from Philadelphia, previously pleaded guilty and were sentenced by Judge McHugh for their roles in the conspiracy: Sidney Cornish, 31; Dassan Cornish, 29; Jerome Lyles, 36; Rhasul Lucas, 32; Jihad Thorne, 24; and Quaadir Crawford, 32.

As presented at trial, from at least April 2015 through December 2016, Bey was the leader of a narcotics trafficking organization that sold heroin (including fentanyl-laced heroin) and crack cocaine nearly 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to buyers in South Philadelphia. The group, which included White, Upchurch, Wadley, Sidney and Dassan Cornish, Lyles, Lucas, Thorne, and Crawford as members, sold and delivered narcotics in shifts in order to serve customers day and night. Bey, Upchurch, and Wadley also maintained residences around Philadelphia in order to store and package the narcotics for distribution. Due to the dedicated efforts of law enforcement in this case, approximately thirty-five controlled purchases of heroin and/or crack were made from this drug group—all captured on video. Law enforcement also lawfully obtained a wiretap that captured some of the group’s cell phone activity.

“Drug trafficking is an insidious activity that destroys and demoralizes neighborhoods,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Williams. “Basil Bey was an expert at it, a career criminal committed to living a life of crime, and now he will pay the price by spending decades in prison. This is the just punishment that awaits drug dealers facing federal charges.”

“The FBI is committed to keeping communities safe from predators like Basil Bey and the members of his drug trafficking organization,” said Michael J. Driscoll, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division. “Bey’s actions and that of his co-conspirators are particularly heinous given that they trafficked in dangerous narcotics made even more lethal as they were laced with fentanyl. Today’s sentence sends the message to drug organizations and gang members that if you traffick in illegal drugs, we, along with our law enforcement partners, will hunt you down and bring you to justice.”

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Philadelphia Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Jason Bologna and Kevin Jayne.


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Updated April 26, 2021

Drug Trafficking