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Press Release

Franklin Man Sentenced to 25 Years for Heroin And Gun Crimes

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

NORFOLK, Va. – Phillip Jerome Murphy, 41, of Franklin, was sentenced today to 300 months in prison for conspiracy to distribute heroin and possessing a firearm during a drug trafficking crime.

Murphy pleaded guilty on Sept. 23, 2015. According to court documents, Murphy, who is a convicted felon, and a co-conspirator, Collie Sanks, 37, of Emporia, were leaders of a Bloods street gang known as the Red Stone Rydahs, which operated in the Franklin area.  Murphy and Sanks began distributing significant quantities of heroin in Franklin, Smithfield, and Emporia in approximately 2012.  As frequently as twice per month, Murphy and Sanks would travel to New York to purchase bulk quantities of heroin and then travel back to southeastern Virginia to distribute the drug.  Both men sold heroin themselves, and also employed other individuals to assist them in their distribution activities.  On several occasions, Murphy completed heroin sales within extremely close proximity to an elementary school that was in session.  In addition to numerous undercover heroin purchases from both Murphy and Sanks, search warrants executed at residences associated with each man yielded heroin, cocaine, narcotics packaging materials, and firearms. At one point during the investigation, Murphy sold an assault rifle with a 30-round magazine to an undercover source.

Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; John S. Adams, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office; and Phillip Hardison, Chief of the Franklin Police Department, made the announcement after Murphy’s plea was accepted by U.S. District Judge Raymond A. Jackson.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys William D. Muhr and V. Kathleen Dougherty are prosecuting the case.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.  Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case Nos. 2:15cr103 (Murphy) and 2:15cr115 (Sanks).

Updated January 6, 2016

Drug Trafficking