Leader of Conspiracy Trafficking Fentanyl, Heroin, Cocaine Sentenced to 21 Years in Prison
BIRMINGHAM – A federal judge today imposed a nearly 21-year sentence on the leader of a Birmingham-based conspiracy to distribute multiple kilograms of fentanyl, heroin and cocaine in Jefferson County in 2015 and 2016, announced U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town and Drug Enforcement Administration Assistant Special Agent in Charge Bret Hamilton.
ANTHONY LEVY “Amp” WARD, 37, of Chelsea, is the eighth of nine defendants sentenced in the case. The final defendant, JOSE AGUSTIN GUTIERREZ, 32, of Phoenix, Ariz., is scheduled for sentencing May 22.
U.S. District Judge L. Scott Coogler sentenced Ward to 20 years and 10 months in prison on multiple counts of conspiracy to distribute or possess with intent to distribute at least a thousand grams of heroin or at least five kilograms of cocaine and two counts of attempted possession with intent to distribute fentanyl. He also sentenced Ward on multiple counts of using a telephone to commit a drug trafficking crime, one count of carrying a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking, and being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm. Ward pleaded guilty to the charges last year.
“A tiny fraction of a gram of fentanyl can be lethal and Ward was found with 17,000 pills cut with this illicit narcotic,” Town said. “It was his intent to make this poison available to an alarming number of people, which could have resulted in an equally alarming number of fatal and non-fatal overdoses. Judge Coogler’s sentence today justly sends the message that the death and destruction of this criminal behavior will not be tolerated, will not be excused, and will be severely punished.”
“For years, Anthony Ward has distributed poison in the form of cocaine, heroin and fentanyl to individuals in the Birmingham area,” Hamilton said. “There is no telling how many families have been destroyed by Ward’s actions. But with this sentence, the residents of Birmingham have one less drug dealer to worry about for years to come. I hope that those who looked up to ‘Amp’ will see the futility in the life Ward has lived thus far. Otherwise, DEA will not hesitate in giving them the opportunity to live in federal prison, too.”
The amount of fentanyl trafficked in the conspiracy was about 7.1 kilograms, or more than 350,000 doses of the drug.
Ward and the other defendants in the case are responsible for paying a $1.7 million judgment in the case as proceeds of illegal activity.
Throughout the investigation, agents seized 8.8 kilograms of cocaine intended to be delivered to Ward from Arizona, and 4.662 kilograms of pure fentanyl delivered from Mexico. Agents seized 254.9 grams of pure fentanyl from China that Ward had mailed to an address, other than his own, in the Birmingham area.
Besides Ward and Gutierrez, other defendants convicted in the conspiracy are: Anthony Levy Alexander, 58, and Betty Levy Alexander, 51, Ward’s father and aunt, Ferlando Carmise Mims, 20, Onandas Carmece Beard, 20, and Corey Darnelle Haynes, 38, all of Birmingham, and Jesus Ubaldo Montoya, 24, and Marahai Ardizo Enriquez, 26, both of Phoenix. The sentences for the seven previously sentenced defendants range from about two to 15 years in prison.
The DEA investigated the case in conjunction with the Birmingham and Hoover police departments and the U.S. Marshals Service. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Alabama prosecuted the case.