Jackson Man Pleads Guilty to Cocaine Conspiracy
Jackson, Miss. – Willie Joe Mason, 43, of Memphis, Tennessee, pled guilty today before Senior United States District Judge William H. Barbour, Jr. for his role in a conspiracy to distribute cocaine, announced U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst.
On June 27, 2017, agents served a federal arrest warrant on a co-defendant for outstanding federal drug charges and Mason was found in the home in Jackson. Following a search of the home, Mason was found to be in possession of approximately 7 kilograms of cocaine.
On September 7, 2017, a federal grand jury indicted Mason for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 5 kilograms of cocaine hydrochloride and possession with intent to distribute 5 kilograms of more of cocaine hydrochloride.
Mason will be sentenced by Judge Barbour on October 16, 2018, at 11:00 a.m. He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison and a $10 million fine.
This case is the result of an extensive Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation, dubbed AOperation Pipeline,@ which began as an operation targeting illegal narcotics distribution in central Mississippi involving cocaine and marijuana. The distribution network encompasses the states of California, Texas and Mississippi.
The OCDETF program is a joint federal, state and local cooperative approach to combat drug trafficking and is the nation’s primary tool for disrupting and dismantling major drug trafficking organizations, targeting national and regional level drug trafficking organizations, and coordinating the necessary law enforcement entities and resources to disrupt or dismantle the targeted criminal organization and seize their assets.
The OCDETF operation was a joint investigation by the United States Immigration, Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations and Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, with assistance from US Drug Enforcement Administration, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco,
Firearms and Explosives, Mississippi Highway Patrol, Jackson Police Department, and the Hinds County Sheriff’s Department. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Erin Chalk.