Madison Man Convicted Of Heroin Conspiracy
MADISON, WIS. -- John W. Vaudreuil, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Melvin R. Thomas, 37, Madison, Wis., was convicted of three drug charges yesterday evening following a three-day jury trial in federal court in Madison. The jury reached its verdict after five hours of deliberation.
Thomas was convicted of conspiracy to distribute heroin, and two counts of possessing heroin with the intent to distribute. U.S. District Judge William M. Conley scheduled sentencing for July 31, 2015 at 1 p.m. Thomas faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison and a maximum penalty of life in prison.
The evidence at trial showed that starting on September 19, 2010 and ending on November 18, 2010, Chicago DEA intercepted telephone calls pursuant to a Title III interception order between the defendant and his heroin source, Domingo Blount. During all of these telephone calls, the defendant would tell Blount the amount of heroin he needed and would estimate the time it would take him to meet with Blount in Chicago. During an intercepted call on September 27, 2010, DEA agents took photographs of the defendant meeting with Blount at a gas station in Chicago.
Blount was convicted of federal drug charges in the Northern District of Illinois and was sentenced to 35 years in prison.
On November 10, 2010, Madison police officers conducted a traffic stop of Thomas’ vehicle in Madison after Thomas returned from Chicago. The defendant’s girlfriend was the driver and Thomas was the passenger. A drug dog alerted to presence of narcotics in the vehicle, but no drugs were found. The defendant’s girlfriend testified that at the time of the traffic stop she was concealing approximately 40 grams of heroin for the defendant.
On December 10, 2010, Thomas’ vehicle was stopped again after returning from Chicago. The defendant was the passenger and there was a female driver. During questioning by the police, the female driver admitted that she was concealing heroin and turned over 25 grams of heroin to the police. A text message found in the defendant’s telephone revealed that, earlier that day, he ordered 25 grams of heroin from his supplier in Chicago.
After his arrest, Thomas made a recorded telephone call from the Dane County Jail directing the disposal of heroin hidden at his residence. Further, agents searched the defendant’s cell phone and found numerous text messages from customers ordering heroin from Thomas.
The charges against Thomas were the result of an investigation by the Dane County Narcotics Task Force, Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Dane County Sheriff’s Department. The prosecution of this case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys David Reinhard and Elizabeth Altman.