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Press Release

Birmingham Man Gets 12 1/2 Years In Prison For Selling Heroin

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Alabama

BIRMINGHAM -- A federal judge Thursday sentenced a Birmingham man to more than 12 years in prison for distributing heroin, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance and federal Drug Enforcement Administration Assistant Special Agent in Charge Clay A. Morris.

JAMES DARNELL LEVERT, 31, pleaded guilty in October to two counts of selling heroin in Birmingham in December 2012 . One sale involved .35 grams of heroin; the second sale was .32 grams. U.S. District Judge Inge P. Johnson sentenced Levert to 12 years and seven months in prison, to be followed by four years of supervised release. The judge sentenced Levert as a "career offender" under the federal sentencing guidelines.

Levert's plea follows a plea earlier this month of HAROLD D. MIMS, 31, of Birmingham, to selling heroin that resulted in a death. That charge carries a mandatory minimum 20-year sentence. Mims was charged in connection to the death last year of William C. Wiggins in Tuscaloosa.

Both Levert and Mims were arrested during a roundup of heroin dealers in north Alabama in September. The roundup was part of an initiative launched in 2012 by the U.S. Attorney's Office, the DEA, district attorneys, and many federal, state and local agencies to attack the supply of heroin in the Northern District of Alabama.

"It is gratifying that so many law enforcement agencies in north Alabama recognize the dangerous scope of the heroin problem in our district and that they came together last year to take dealers off the streets," Vance said. "The roundup brought an immediate drop in the number of heroin overdose deaths in north Alabama, which have spiraled in the last few years, and helped to alert the community that the deadly problem exists here."

"As more of these defendants are sentenced, I hope more people realize that the heroin problem is real, and that selling heroin will lead to prison. If you sell heroin that causes a death, you will be prosecuted and you will get at least 20 years in prison," she said.

As a result of the September sweep, 49 people were indicted on drug distribution charges over the first several months of 2013. Of those 49 defendants, 39 have pleaded guilty, one was tried and convicted, four cases were dismissed, four are in pre-trial diversion programs, and one defendant remains a fugitive.

The DEA investigated the cases in conjunction with many state and local agencies. Assistant U.S. Attorney L. James Weil Jr. is prosecuting the cases.

Updated March 19, 2015