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Justice News

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

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Operation Hardest Hit Heroin Supplier Sentenced to Life in Prison

NORFOLK, Va. – A Portsmouth man was sentenced today to life in prison and ordered to forfeit $5.7 million for leading, organizing, and supplying a major heroin trafficking operation that resulted in at least one death.

“Leroy Perdue pumped a massive quantity of heroin into Hampton Roads for nearly a decade,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “This eight-time previously convicted drug felon supplied heroin while armed. He supplied heroin to gang members. He even continued to supply heroin after discovering his drugs resulted in a fatal overdose. This case is a prime example of the power of law enforcement collaboration, and a fitting result for a defendant who choose to destroy families by trafficking opioids. I want to thank our prosecutors and our investigative partners for their extraordinary effort and dedication to this important case.”

According to court documents, Leroy Perdue, aka “Dink,” “Big Heat,” 46, served as the primary leader and organizer of a Hampton Roads based heroin trafficking organization distributed in excess of 100 kilograms of heroin (approximately 250,000 doses) over a 10-year period. In May, following a two-week trial, a federal jury found Perdue guilty of conspiracy to manufacture, distribute, and possess with intent to manufacture and distribute one kilogram or more of heroin; interstate travel in aid of racketeering; and possession with intent to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin.

“With this final conviction and life sentence, one of the largest heroin trafficking operations in Hampton Roads has been completely shut down and we have taken one of the biggest drug dealers in the region off the streets,” said Mark R. Herring, Attorney General of Virginia. “My team and I have worked alongside both federal and local partners to interrupt the flow of heroin and fentanyl that drug dealers like Perdue pump into our communities. Multi-jurisdictional, multi-agency operations like Operation Hardest Hit continue to put dangerous individuals behind bars while also educating the public on the dangers of these drugs. I want to thank everyone involved with Operation Hardest Hit and securing this important conviction.”

On Aug. 14, 2017, over 300 law enforcement agents made arrests and executed search warrants in Virginia, Georgia, and New York. The takedown was the result of a multi-year, multi-jurisdictional, and multi-agency Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation designated Operation Hardest Hit.

“For years this defendant and his associates preyed on vulnerable people for profit and greed,” said Martin Culbreth, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Division. “They celebrated and bragged about their criminal enterprise, and showed no concern for its impact on the community or remorse when they learned their crimes resulted in death. Their conduct defied basic decency and demonstrates the need for vigilance and collaboration by law enforcement in targeting high level traffickers and violent criminal organizations that poison our community and terrorize our neighborhoods.”

According to court documents, law enforcement began investigating Leroy Perdue and his drug trafficking organization (Perdue DTO) in early 2016 following the heroin overdose death of a young resident of Chesapeake. With the participation of nearly two dozen Confidential Human Sources, law enforcement infiltrated the Perdue DTO and made 10 undercover controlled purchases of heroin and fentanyl. On June 22, the investigative team arrested Rhadu Schoolfield, 33, of Portsmouth, in Norfolk with more than 800 grams of heroin after he returned from a trip to New York. According to the indictment, the Perdue DTO Members of the Perdue DTO were responsible for supplying a violent gang based in Portsmouth and continued to sell dangerous narcotics even after learning that their drugs resulted in death.

Perdue, who described himself as the “Dogfood King” (“dogfood” is slang for heroin), financed the production of a music video for his co-conspirator and cousin, Rhadu Schoolfield, called, “Dumb Hard,” which contained children singing lyrics along with Schoolfield and other co-conspirators that glamorized the drug trade.  According to one court filing, Perdue had at least eight prior adult felony drug convictions.

Twelve of Perdue’s co-conspirators, including his son, two cousins, and several close childhood friends were sentenced to a combined total of nearly 170 years of imprisonment. See table below for sentencing details:

Name, Age


Date Imposed


Rhadu J. Schoolfield, 33


February 21, 2018

288 months

Abraham A. Atkins, 35


December 12, 2017

240 months

Tywon McKelvy, 42

New York

April 5, 2018

235 months

Darion D. Perdue, 24


October 17, 2017

228 months

Eddie L. Tyson, 46


December 12, 2017

180 months

Dominic Diablo Mosley, 35


January 30, 2018

180 months

Kevin R. Lawrence, 37


January 31, 2018

96 months

Nicholas W. Godwin, 37


September 6, 2017

148 months

Jamars A. Cooper, 26


September 5, 2017

132 months

Victoria A. Waller, 42


January 3, 2018

126 months

Edward W. Muckle, 32


December 13, 2017

108 months

Christina N. James, 41

New York

February 7, 2018

     60 months


G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Mark R. Herring, Attorney General of Virginia, Martin Culbreth, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Division, and Col. K.L. Wright, Chief of Chesapeake Police, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Raymond A. Jackson. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney John F. Butler, and Assistant U.S. Attorneys William B. Jackson, Kevin P. Hudson, and Andrew C. Bosse prosecuted 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 is located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 2:17-cr-116.

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Updated September 20, 2018