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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Alabama

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Member of Montgomery Drug Trafficking Organization Sentenced to 30 Years for Conspiracy, Drug and Gun Charges

            Montgomery, Alabama – On Thursday, December 5, 2019, Cyrus Phyfier, a 51-year-old resident of Montgomery, was sentenced to 360 months in prison for multiple drug and firearm related charges, announced United States Attorney Louis V. Franklin, Sr., ATF Special Agent in Charge Marcus Watson, DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge Clay Morris, Secretary of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency Hal Taylor, and Montgomery Police Chief Ernest Finley.

            Phyfier received a significant sentence because the Court determined that based on his criminal history, which included multiple drug distribution convictions, he is a career offender under the federal sentencing guidelines.  Following his 30-year prison sentence, Phyfier will be on supervised release for ten years.

            Evidence presented at Phyfier’s August 2019 trial showed that in 2013 law enforcement began to investigate a cocaine and marijuana distribution organization operating in Montgomery County, Alabama.  The organization was supplied from persons operating in the Atlanta, Georgia metropolitan area.  Following the arrest of a member of the organization, agents discovered Phyfier was a major illegal drug supplier.  Utilizing a number of investigative tools, agents determined Phyfier was responsible for distributing approximately five to eight kilograms of cocaine hydrochloride during some months.  In addition, five controlled purchases were made from Phyfier at his home.  Video footage presented during the trial revealed Phyfier weighing and selling various illegal drugs.  Additional testimony presented at trial revealed Phyfier distributed in excess of 28 kilograms of cocaine base during the course of the conspiracy.  Law enforcement found that Phyfier and his co-conspirators would buy and sell various drugs to each other to support their enterprise with one of them stating that he had purchased cocaine from Phyfier for ten years.

            During the execution of a search warrant at Phyfier’s residence, law enforcement seized marijuana and a firearm.  Again, Phyfier had two prior felony convictions for the unlawful distribution of a controlled substance.  Therefore, he was prohibited from possessing a firearm.

            The jury found Phyfier guilty as charged on all counts in the indictment.  Specifically, he was found guilty of various narcotics related offenses, which included conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute powder cocaine, crack cocaine, and marijuana.  The jury also found Phyfier guilty on the charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

            The other charged members of the conspiracy previously pled guilty and most have been sentenced for their crimes, including: Haywood Norman, 48 years old, sentenced to 180 months; George Edward Jones, 42 years old, sentenced to 92 months; Gene Easterling, 48 years old, sentenced to 63 months; Erwin Smith, 59 years old, sentenced to 51 months; and Ernest Lee Rhodes, 37 years old, sentenced to eight months.

            U.S. Attorney Franklin said, “Make no mistake, Phyfier was not your average, run-of-the-mill drug dealer.  He was a major player in a drug trafficking organization that infested the city with illegal drugs and violence.  This sentence will finally bring his days of poisoning and terrorizing our communities to an end.  I commend all of the investigative agencies involved for their efforts in dismantling this organization”

            ATF Special Agent in Charge Watson remarked, “Protecting the public by the removal of the criminal element that commits acts of violence with a firearm was the result of the combined efforts by ATF and our partners as part of ‘Project Guardian.’”

            DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge Morris said, “Phyfier was clearly a dangerous criminal and a member of a drug trafficking organization that poured drugs into Montgomery, Alabama. The cooperation and dedication of all the law enforcement agencies who worked tirelessly on this investigation should send a clear message to those who try to destroy our families and communities.  We will not tolerate your criminal behavior and lifestyle.  We will investigate you and ensure we find a prison bed for you for years and years.  The wonderful people of Alabama deserve our full effort and attention.  We will not stand by and allow others to cause harm and destroy lives.” 

            Secretary Taylor of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency said, “One of Alabama’s greatest assets is a solid multi-level law enforcement partnership. Such collaboration is effective as evidenced by the investigation and prosecution of Cyrus Phyfier.”

            Montgomery Police Chief Finley said, “At MPD, we appreciate our close working relationship with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and want to thank our federal partners for bringing this investigation to a successful conclusion with the sentencing of Cyrus Phyfier and the other members of the drug trafficking organization.”

            The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA), and the Montgomery Police Department investigated this case, with assistance from the State of Alabama Attorney General’s Office, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, and the United States Marshals Service (USMS). 

This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Curtis Ivy, Jr., Stephanie Billingslea, Alice LaCour, and Brett Talley. 

Drug Trafficking
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Updated December 12, 2019