Court Sentences Key Member of Local Drug Trafficking Organization to 22 Years Imprisonment for Fentanyl and Heroin Trafficking
MOBILE, AL-- On February 10, 2022, United States District Court Judge Terry F. Moorer sentenced Edwin Jerome Owens, aka “EJ”, from Grand Bay, Alabama to 264 months imprisonment for his role in a local Drug Trafficking Organization (DTO). The 36 year old Owens pled guilty in July, 2021 to conspiracy to distribute heroin and fentanyl. Following his release from prison, Owens will be supervised by a United States Probation Officer for five years. The judge did not impose a fine, but ordered that Owens pay $100 in special assessments. Owens was a member of the “Crossley Hill” DTO, and was among 42 people originally charged with offenses to include conspiracy to distribute and distribution of the drugs heroin, fentanyl and methamphetamine. Further investigation led to the indictments of additional defendants connected to the DTO.
Documents filed in connection with his guilty plea and testimony at his sentencing hearing established that in approximately 2019 and 2020, Owens conspired with numerous other persons to distribute heroin. Some of the heroin sold by Owens contained fentanyl. During the conspiracy Owens made numerous trips to the New Orleans area and Biloxi to obtain heroin and fentanyl from his sources of supply in New Orleans. Owens also brought human heroin testers along with him on a number of trips to use and thereby test the heroin for quality. In all, the court found that Owens was responsible for more than 1.2 kilograms of heroin and more than 700 grams of fentanyl for sentencing purposes. Testimony at the sentencing established that fentanyl is a very powerful, and potentially deadly, drug that is often used in one tenth of a gram quantities, or less, because it is so powerful.
The Court also held Owens responsible for being an organizer or leader of a criminal activity that involved five or more participants, which provided for a greater advisory sentence under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.
The investigation and prosecution of this case was part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.
This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Homeland Security Investigations, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Mobile Police Department and the Mobile County Sheriff’s Office.
The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, the Baldwin County Drug Task Force, and the Saraland Police Department also provided key investigative support to the investigation.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys George F. May and Luis F. Peral (Lead Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) Attorney).