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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, November 7, 2019

Heroin Mixer and Stash House Operator Pleads Guilty

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – A Hampton woman pleaded guilty yesterday to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin and 40 grams or more of fentanyl.

According to court documents, Symphoni V. Wiggins, 38, mixed, prepared, and stored heroin and fentanyl in her home for a kilogram-weight drug distributor on the Peninsula from at least May until December 2018. Co-conspirators would pick up heroin and fentanyl at Wiggins’s house, then take that heroin and fentanyl and deal it to customers on the street, including other drug dealers. In communications with another co-conspirator, Wiggins boasted that she was “the master mixer.”

As part of her plea agreement, Wiggins also has agreed to a $159,000 forfeiture judgment.

Wiggins was charged by indictment along with 38 other defendants as part of Operation Cookout. The 106-count indictment alleges various offenses, including conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine, heroin, cocaine base, and fentanyl; conspiracy to launder money; felon in possession of a firearm; maintaining drug-involved premises; use of a communication facility in furtherance of drug trafficking; interstate travel in aid of racketeering enterprises; and illegal re-entry by a previously deported or removed alien.

The case was investigated as part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) Operation Cookout. The OCDETF program is a federal multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional task force that supplies supplemental federal funding to federal and state agencies involved in the identification, investigation, and prosecution of major drug trafficking organizations. The principal 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.

The High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program, created by Congress with the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988, provides assistance to federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies operating in areas determined to be critical drug-trafficking regions of the United States. This grant program is administered by the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). There are currently 28 HIDTAs, which include approximately 18 percent of all counties in the United States and 66 percent of the U.S. population.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), which is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

Wiggins pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin and 40 grams or more of fentanyl. She faces a mandatory minimum sentence of five years and a maximum sentence of forty years in prison when sentenced on March 20, 2020. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Jim Stitzel, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Norfolk; Jesse R. Fong, Special Agent in Charge for the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Washington Field Division; Colonel Gary T. Settle, Superintendent of Virginia State Police; Steve R. Drew, Chief of Newport News Police; and Terry L. Sult, Chief of Hampton Police Division, made the announcement after U.S. Magistrate Judge Douglas E. Miller accepted the plea. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Amy E. Cross and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Peter G. Osyf and Kevin P. Hudson 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. 4:19-cr-47.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Opioids
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Contact: 
Joshua Stueve Director of Public Affairs joshua.stueve@usdoj.gov
Updated November 7, 2019