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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Virginia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, July 16, 2020

Former Gym Owner Sentenced to 30 Years for Drug Trafficking

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – The former owner of 9Round Gym in Peninsula Town Center was sentenced today to 30 years in prison for leading a large-scale drug trafficking organization on the Virginia Peninsula.

According to court documents, from 2013 to 2017, Alex Jermaine Burnett, 39, supervised a number of individuals in the distribution of cocaine, heroin, MDMA, marijuana and cocaine base or “crack.” This organization was receiving kilogram quantities of the narcotics and then distributing them throughout the Hampton Roads area, Newport News and James City County. During the course of the drug trafficking activities, Burnett began to receive information from former law enforcement officer, Deangelo Freeman. The law enforcement sensitive information alerted Burnett and his organization to the ongoing FBI investigation and compromised an undercover confidential informant.

Freeman previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute cocaine and faces a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison and a maximum of 40 years in prison when sentenced on July 31.

Alex Burnett’s sentencing follows the 14 year sentence imposed on his father, Robert Burnett, 67, of Carrollton.

The case was investigated as part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF), Operation Brim Reaper. The OCDETF program is a federal multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional task force that supplies supplemental federal funding to the federal and state agencies involved in the identification, investigation, and prosecution of major drug trafficking organizations.  The principle mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering organizations, and those primarily responsible for the nation’s illegal drug supply.

G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia;  Martin Culbreth, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office; and Terry L. Sult, Chief of Hampton Police Division, made the announcement after sentencing by Chief U.S. District Judge Mark S. Davis. Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric M. Hurt and Special Assistant Rebecca Dunnan of the Department of Justice Organized Crime and Gang Section are prosecuting the case.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 4:17-cr-111.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Contact: 
Joshua Stueve Director of Public Affairs joshua.stueve@usdoj.gov
Updated July 16, 2020