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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Virginia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Five More Sentenced for Role in Heroin Enterprise

Group Trafficked Heroin from Baltimore to Front Royal

Harrisonburg, VIRGINIA – An additional five defendants out of 13 convicted of trafficking more than 1,000 grams of heroin from Baltimore to Front Royal were sentenced Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Harrisonburg, United States Attorney Thomas T. Cullen announced.

Tuesday in Federal Court, three Front Royal residents were sentenced for their roles in the conspiracy. Da’Shawn Lee Edwards, 22, was sentenced to 168 months in prison, Keon Rasheed Hackley, 20, was sentenced to 36 months in prison and Tiara Lachay Bailey, 24, was sentenced to 16 months in prison.

In addition, a pair of Baltimore men involved in the conspiracy were sentenced for their roles in the trafficking enterprise. Antwan Lucas, 21, was sentenced Tuesday to 108 months in prison and Antwan Wilson Cottman, 29, was sentenced to 180 months.

All five of the defendants sentenced Tuesday, as well as three members of the conspiracy sentenced Monday in federal court, and five defendants scheduled for sentencing Wednesday, were involved in a multi-year trafficking enterprise that brought significant amounts of heroin from Baltimore to Front Royal.

“Our office is committed to working with state and local law enforcement in the Northern Shenandoah Valley to disrupt opioid distribution networks and aggressively prosecute the dealers who are poisoning our communities,” U.S. Attorney Thomas T. Cullen said today.  “With the help of our local partners, we will be increasing enforcement and federal prosecutions in this region.”

According to information and evidence presented at previous hearings by Assistant United States Attorney Donald R. Wolthuis, the conspiracy began as early as 2013 with the goal of trafficking heroin from Baltimore to the Front Royal area. On average, members of the conspiracy distributed one kilogram of heroin per week during the life of the conspiracy, which operated between 2013 and April 2016.

To insulate the identity of the sellers from the identity of the buyers, heroin customers in Virginia contacted a phone number in Maryland, either by voice call or text, which was controlled by conspiracy members and was known only as the “Chris phone.” “Chris” was not a real person, but rather was a fake name associated with the phone number customers contacted to place heroin orders. At the time an order was placed, customers were provided a street address in Baltimore where their order was to be picked up. When a customer arrived at the pre-determined address, the customer’s car was approached by other members of the conspiracy, a drug transaction took place, and the Virginia customers drove back to Front Royal. No socializing or small talk took place between the customer in the car and the seller on the street. The Virginia customers made these trips every day, sometimes multiple times per day. Once they returned to Front Royal, the customers used the heroin and sold it to others. 

The investigation of the case was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Winchester Office, the Front Royal Office of the Virginia State Police Northwest Regional Drug and Gang Task Force, the Baltimore City Police Department, the Baltimore County Police Department, the Frederick, Maryland Sheriff’s Office, the Loudoun County, Virginia, Sheriff’s Office and the Howard County, Maryland, Sheriff’s Office.  Assistant United States Attorney Donald R. Wolthuis is prosecuting the case for the United States.

 

 

Updated April 18, 2018