Gulfport, Miss. – An Ocean Springs woman pleaded guilty today to conspiring to possess a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, announced U.S. Attorney Darren J. LaMarca and Special Agent in Charge Brad Byerley of the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Mary Matthews (also known as Mary Wells), 20, entered a guilty plea in U.S. District Court in Gulfport. She is scheduled to be sentenced on May 12, 2022, and faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison.
According to court documents and information presented to the Court, in 2020, the DEA and Gulfport Police Department began investigating a local drug trafficking organization involved in the distribution of oxycodone, marijuana, alprazolam (“Xanax”), methamphetamine, and pressed fentanyl pills. During the investigation, law enforcement learned that various members of the organization, like many drug traffickers, possessed firearms to protect themselves, their drugs, and the proceeds from their drug sales.
Through their investigation, officers discovered evidence that Mary Matthews was a member of the drug trafficking organization and carried a firearm when she dealt. During the conspiracy, she and a co-conspirator repaired her firearm for use in the dealing of drugs.
The DEA and Gulfport Police Department investigated the case.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Buckner is prosecuting the case.
This case is being prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state, and local Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Program, the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.