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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Operation High Tide Results in 20 Convictions on Drug and Gun Charges

NORFOLK, Va. – Federal and local law enforcement officials today announced the results of Operation High Tide, a proactive, large-scale narcotics and firearms trafficking investigation that focused on high-impact targets driving crime in some of the hardest hit neighborhoods in Hampton Roads.

In early September, over 100 law enforcement agents, officers, and other personnel executed Operation High Tide, which resulted in the arrests of nearly two dozen individuals involved in selling drugs and guns in Norfolk, Chesapeake, and Portsmouth.

To date, Operation High Tide has resulted in 20 convictions and the recovery of approximately 78 firearms, over 7 kilograms of cocaine, nearly a kilogram of crack cocaine, over 625 grams of heroin, over 100 grams of fentanyl, 75 grams of acetyl fentanyl, 12 pounds of marijuana, 621 grams of hash oil, 24 grams of MDMA (commonly known as ecstasy), 120 grams of methamphetamine, and over $560,000 in cash. The narcotics seized have a street value of nearly $1 million.

“Armed criminals are the principal players involved in the deadly cycles of drug turf battles and gang conflicts that deprive our neighborhoods and families of the peace and security they deserve,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “Operation High Tide is the latest highly-coordinated effort from federal, state, and local law enforcement to tackle violent crime in Hampton Roads. Further, this operation is emblematic of Attorney General Barr’s Project Guardian, which was announced last month and focuses on those who use firearms during narcotics trafficking and the trafficking of firearms. Through this operation, we are making our strong partnership known and felt in Hampton Roads, as we apprehend and remove from the streets those individuals who have committed serious offenses and put the safety of our communities in danger. This coordinated operation reflects the skilled and brave work of our federal, state and local law enforcement partners, and is part of a law enforcement surge in this priority enforcement area for EDVA.”

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) initiated Operation High Tide in collaboration with the Chesapeake and Norfolk Police Departments and the Virginia State Police. The operation identified individuals throughout Hampton Roads who were illegally selling firearms, fentanyl, heroin, cocaine, and other narcotics.

“This investigation focused on the most violent offenders in the Chesapeake, Norfolk, and Portsmouth communities,” said Ashan M. Benedict, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) Washington Field Division. “ATF’s priority is reducing violent crime. Criminals often utilize firearms as tools of their trade causing harm to our communities.  This case illustrates ATF’s commitment to effective law enforcement partnerships and dedication to keeping our cities safe.”

This case is part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local, and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information-sharing by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and ensures that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities. Click here for more information about Project Guardian.

Below is a table which lists the name, age, hometown, and respective charge(s) to which each defendant pleaded guilty.

Name, Age

Hometown

Charges

Sentencing

Brian D. Best, 34

Virginia Beach

Conspiracy to Distribute and Possess with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine

Feb. 27, 2020

Antisha Carrington, 25

Virginia Beach

Conspiracy to Distribute and Possess with Intent to Distribute Cocaine, Heroin, Fentanyl, and Marijuana

Feb. 21, 2020

Kawanta D. Epps, 40

Norfolk

Conspiracy to Distribute and Possess with Intent to Distribute Cocaine, Heroin, Fentanyl, and Marijuana; Distribution of Heroin

Feb. 19, 2020

Anthony L. Green, 48

Chesapeake

Conspiracy to Distribute and Possess with Intent to Distribute Cocaine, Heroin, Fentanyl, and Marijuana; Distribution of Heroin

March 12, 2020

Corey L. Jones, 50

Portsmouth

Conspiracy to Manufacture, Distribute, and Possess with Intent to Manufacture and Distribute Heroin; Possessing a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug-Trafficking Crime

Feb. 19, 2020

 

Dominic D. Jones, 26

Portsmouth

Conspiracy to Manufacture, Distribute, and Possess with Intent to Manufacture and Distribute Heroin; Possessing a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug-Trafficking Crime

Feb. 11, 2020

Malcolm D. Jones, Sr., 45

Portsmouth

Conspiracy to Manufacture, Distribute, and Possess with Intent to Manufacture and Distribute Heroin; Distribution of Heroin, Fentanyl; Distribution of Acetyl Fentanyl

Feb. 5, 2020

Shon E. Melton, 30

Portsmouth

Distribution of Heroin; Possessing a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug-Trafficking Crime; Possession of an Unregistered National Firearms Act Firearm

March 26, 2020

Gary Norfleet, 52

Chesapeake

Possession with Intent to Distribute Cocaine; Felon in Possession of a Firearm

Feb. 11, 2020

Jermaine C. Parker, 35

Chesapeake

Distribution of Fentanyl; 2 counts of Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug-Trafficking Crime

Feb. 3, 2020

Corey S. Reed, 38

Norfolk

Distribution of Heroin; Possession with Intent to Distribute Heroin

Jan. 9, 2020

Jameel M. Simmons, 37

Portsmouth

Possession with Intent to Distribute Heroin; Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug-Trafficking Crime

Jan. 23, 2020

Jelami M. Smith, 43

Portsmouth

Distribution of Heroin

Feb. 2, 2020

Robert B. Spruill, 39

Chesapeake

Conspiracy to Distribute and Possess Methamphetamine

Feb. 27, 2020

Hasheed Mills, 25

Portsmouth

Distribution of Heroin; Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug-Trafficking Crime; Distribution of Cocaine

Feb. 28, 2020

Tajh Rodgers, 29

Portsmouth

Robbery Affecting Commerce; Using, Carrying, and Brandishing a Firearm During and in Relation to a Crime of Violence; and 3 counts of Possessing a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug-Trafficking Crime

Jan. 9, 2020

Glenn Farris, 36

Norfolk

Using a Communication Facility to Commit, Cause, and Facilitate the Distribution of Controlled Substances

Feb. 12, 2020

Malcom Jones, Jr., 25

Portsmouth

Conspiracy to Manufacture, Distribute, and Possess with Intent to Manufacture and Distribute Heroin

Feb. 18, 2020

Raewkon A. Pierce, 24

Portsmouth

Distribution of Cocaine

March 16, 2020

Johnnie Ross, 29

Portsmouth

Distribution of Fentanyl

March 31, 2020

 

G. Zachery Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Ashan M. Benedict, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) Washington Field Division; Larry D. Boone, Chief of Norfolk Police; Col. K.L. Wright, Chief of Chesapeake Police; Greg Underwood, Norfolk Commonwealth’s Attorney, and Nancy Parr, Chesapeake Commonwealth’s Attorney, made the announcement.

This case was investigated by the ATF’s Norfolk Field Office, the Chesapeake, Norfolk, and Portsmouth Police Departments, and the Virginia State Police, with the assistance of the FBI, DEA, NCIS, and the U.S. Marshals.

Attorneys from the Drug and Violent Crime Unit of the Norfolk Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Kristin G. Bird, Andrew C. Bosse, John F. Butler, Megan M. Cowles, Sherrie Capotosto, Kevin M. Comstock, Joseph E. DePadilla, William B. Jackson, Darryl Mitchell, and William D. Muhr are prosecuting the cases.

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. 3:19-CR-111; 2:19-CR-80, 141, 145, 146, 147, 148, 149, 150, 151, 154, 155; and 2:18-CR-138.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses
Project Guardian
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Contact: 
Joshua Stueve Director of Public Affairs joshua.stueve@usdoj.gov
Updated December 17, 2019