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Press Release

Pascagoula Man Sentenced to Over 22 Years in Prison for Possession with Intent to Distribute Fentanyl

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Mississippi

Gulfport, Miss. –   A Pascagoula man was sentenced to 272 months in federal prison for possession with intent to distribute fentanyl, announced U.S. Attorney Darren J. LaMarca and Special Agent in Charge Brad L. Byerley of the Drug Enforcement Administration.  

Willie Ray Washington III, 46, was sentenced on August 30, 2023 in U.S. District Court in Gulfport.

According to court records, in September 2021, agents began investigating Washington for distributing fentanyl, heroin, and methamphetamine from an automotive shop in Moss Point, Mississippi. That location was previously leased by a large-scale distributor of methamphetamine who was no longer distributing narcotics at that location because he had been arrested by DEA agents in an unrelated case. Between April 2022 and May 2022, DEA agents received new information that drugs were again being distributed at that location.

On June 20, 2022, agents executed a search warrant for the property. Agents breached the door to the shop and located Washington standing by a billiards table with a large bag of a white powdery substance in his hand. During the search of the business, agents located approximately 786 grams of methamphetamine; 223 grams of heroin; 172 grams of fentanyl; 64 grams of cocaine hydrochloride; 30 grams of cocaine base; and other smaller quantities of suspected narcotics. Additionally, agents located multiple ledgers on binders indicating a substantial history of narcotics distribution, along with digital scales and other paraphernalia used to package and distribute narcotics.

Washington was indicted by a federal grand jury on July 6, 2022.  He pled guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute fentanyl on April 11, 2023.

The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the South Mississippi Metro Enforcement Team (SMMET). 

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Erica Rose.

Updated August 31, 2023

Drug Trafficking