Skip to main content
Press Release

Heroin and Fentanyl Traffickers Sentenced to 66 Years in Prison

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

NORFOLK, Va. – Five members of a Portsmouth based heroin and fentanyl trafficking organization have been sentenced to approximately 66 years in prison.

The final member to face sentencing, Nathaniel Powell, 34, of Portsmouth, was sentenced today to 25 years in prison. Detuan Gordon, 26, Ernest Cross, 38, Valerie Wilson, 56, and Marque Wilson, 34, all of Portsmouth, were all previously sentenced for their respective roles in the conspiracy. See table below for details.

According to court documents, from March 2012 through July 2016, members of this organization conspired to manufacture and distribute heroin in excess of 1,000 grams. The group’s primary source of supply for heroin and fentanyl came from Baltimore. The narcotics were then transported to Hampton Roads and repackaged using a hydraulic press machine and gel capsules for retail sales. This organization further disseminated their drugs and served as a source of supply for other individuals in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

According to court documents, on Dec. 22, 2015, police executed a search warrant on Gordon’s residence and recovered opiates, scales, drug paraphernalia, and firearms. During the conspiracy Gordon, a convicted felon, possessed an AK-47-style rifle as well as a Taurus handgun. When Gordon was arrested police recovered nearly $50,000 in cash, a firearm, heroin, and fentanyl. Valerie Wilson was arrested in Moyock, North Carolina, after selling five grams of heroin. Wilson also had a minor in her vehicle when she distributed the heroin.


Two members of the group led police on two separate vehicle pursuits. Marque Wilson, who was in possession of heroin and cocaine, was arrested on June 10, 2016, after attempting to elude police. On May 26, 2016, Powell led police on a high-speed chase past a school and through residential neighborhoods of Portsmouth before he crashed into another driver, who was subsequently hospitalized. Powell, who is a paraplegic, used a cane to drive during the pursuit. Police recovered seven grams of fentanyl, some marijuana, and approximately $3,600 cash from Powell. After Powell’s state arrest, he threatened to kill an individual he believed was working with police. He was then arrested on federal charges, and after pleading guilty on Oct. 20, 2016, made more threats to a co-conspirator through the use of notes that were sent between cell blocks at Western Tidewater Regional Jail.


Date of Guilty Plea

Date of Sentencing


Nathaniel Powell

Oct. 20, 2016


300 months

Detuan Gordon

Sept. 20, 2016

Jan. 26, 2017

295 months

Ernest Cross

Sept. 23, 2016

Jan. 20, 2017

70 months

Valerie Wilson

Sept. 16, 2016

Jan. 20, 2017

60 months

Marque Wilson

Oct. 18, 2016

Jan. 27, 2017

72 months


Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Mark R. Herring, Attorney General of Virginia; Karl C. Colder, Special Agent in Charge for the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Washington Field Division; Tonya D. Chapman, Chief of the Portsmouth Police Department; and Kelvin L. Wright, Chief of the Chesapeake Police Department made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Arenda Wright Allen. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney John F. Butler, and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joseph E. DePadilla and Andrew C. Bosse prosecuted 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 No. 2:16-cr-97.

Updated March 31, 2017

Drug Trafficking