APR 15 (CHARLOTTE, N.C.) – Seven Charlotte men were sentenced on Thursday, April 10, 2014, on federal drug conspiracy charges, announced Anne M. Tompkins, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. The sentencings stem from a joint six-month investigation conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department, targeting drug trafficking and violent crime in Mecklenburg County, with special emphasis placed on Enderly Park neighborhood in northwest Charlotte.
Harry S. Sommers, Special Agent in Charge of the Atlanta Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which oversees the Charlotte District Office and Chief Rodney D. Monroe, of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD), join U.S. Attorney Tompkins in making today's announcement.
According to the January 2013 criminal indictment, from 2006 through 2013, the 10 defendants engaged in a drug trafficking conspiracy. According to court documents and yesterday's sentencing hearings, between July 2012 and January 2013, law enforcement made approximately 30 undercover drug buys from the defendants at or near a residence located on Karendale Avenue, in Enderly Park. In addition to charging the defendants, court documents show that the government has sought forfeiture of the residence that was used to facilitate the drug sales and that action is still pending.
Chief U.S. District Judge Frank D. Whitney sentenced the following seven of the 10 defendants:
Maurice Crawford, 32, was sentenced to 49 months in prison and three years of supervised release.
Theodore Falls, 39, was sentenced to 40 months in prison and three years of supervised release.
Aaron Ligon, 49, was sentenced to 40 months in prison and three years of supervised release.
Mario Wilson, 24, was sentenced to 40 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release.
Lavar Rodgers, 32, was sentenced to 30 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release.
Curtis Smith, 37, was sentenced to 30 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release.
Nathaniel Washington, 31, was sentenced to 24 months in prison and three years of supervised release.
The three remaining defendants, Derrick Lowery, Derrick Owens and Cadaryl Drayton are awaiting sentencing.
In issuing the sentences, Judge Whitney noted the devastating effect that drug trafficking has had in communities. Judge Whitney called the repeated drug sales by these individuals a "poison" to the other residents of Enderly Park, who have a right to live in a safe and crime-free neighborhood.
The seven defendants have been in federal custody since January 2013. They will be transferred to the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons upon designation of a federal facility. All federal sentences are served without the possibility of parole.
The investigation is being handled by the DEA and CMPD. The prosecution for the government is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Dana Washington of the U.S. Attorney's Office in Charlotte.
The DEA encourages parents, along with their children, to educate themselves about the dangers of legal and illegal drugs by visiting DEA's interactive websites at www.justthinktwice.com, www.GetSmartAboutDrugs.com and www.dea.gov.