NEWPORT NEWS, VA. – Thirty-five individuals have been indicted as part of an ongoing investigation into major heroin trafficking rings operating throughout the Virginia Peninsula. To date, 72 federal defendants and more than 100 related state defendants have been charged as part of this investigation.
Ava Cooper-Davis, Special Agent in Charge for Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; and James D. Fox, Chief of Newport News Police, made the announcement after the coordinated arrests were completed and the indictment was made public.
“This case illustrates DEA’s mission to take down drug trafficking organizations from the street to the source,” said DEA SAC Cooper-Davis. “Heroin is toxic for the body and the organizations that put it on the streets are toxic for our communities. The towns of the Virginia Peninsula are safer today thanks to the combined efforts of law enforcement.”
“Heroin is a poison that ruins families and communities,” said U.S. Attorney MacBride. “Thanks to the tremendous efforts of this task force, we are striking a blow to those who traffic this deadly drug in Tidewater and taking scores of heroin dealers off our streets.”
According to the one-count indictment unsealed today, Henry Lee Taylor, aka “Junebug,” and “Bug,” 63, of Chesapeake, Va., is the alleged leader of an extensive heroin trafficking organization that smuggles large quantities of heroin from New York City into the Tidewater area, which has been linked to overdoses that have caused serious bodily injury and death.
Taylor is accused of regularly overseeing the transport of multi-kilograms of heroin and supervising his lieutenants as they repackaged the narcotic into 10-gram packages for further distribution in his network. Through his lieutenants – who were identified in the indictment as Cliff Taylor, aka “Clee,” 63, of Hampton, Va.; Thurman Young, aka “Charlie,” 47, of New York City, N.Y.; Darryl Leon Wiggins, aka “Go Go,” 60, of Newport News, Va.; Jeffery Allen Solomon, aka “Jeff,” 46, of Norfolk, Va.; Randy Alonzo White, 30, of Hampton, Va.; Lionell Poindexter, 63, of Hampton, Va.; and David Arthur Jones, aka “Howard,” 40, of Newport News, Va. – Taylor allegedly provided the 10-gram packages to mid-level distributors, collected drug proceeds, and received reports on the day-to-day operations of the trafficking ring.
The indictment alleges that after obtaining the heroin from Taylor’s lieutenants, the mid-level distributors would cut and package the heroin into glassine bags and distribute the bags to street-level distributors and customers in Newport News, Hampton, Poquoson, Gloucester and Williamsburg and throughout the counties of York and James City. The mid-level distributors allegedly sold the heroin at prices dictated by Taylor, typically for $10 to $20 per bag or in a group of 10 bags, referred to as a “bundle” for $80 to $100 per bundle. Each 10-gram package produced at least 20 bundles, or 200 glassine bags.
The mid-level distributors charged in the indictment are listed below:
The 35 individuals named in the indictment were charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin, which carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
This case is being investigated by an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) led by the DEA, Newport News Police Department and the Peninsula Narcotics Enforcement Task Force, as part of an ongoing investigation that began after the heroin overdose death of Jessie Truslow Jr. on Sept. 29, 2008, whose wife smuggled heroin obtained by a co-conspirator into the Newport News City Farm, where Truslow was serving time for a state offense. His wife, Jennifer Truslow, was sentenced on July 25, 2011, to 120 months in prison, and the man convicted of supplying the heroin, Dennis Bunch, faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 20 years and a maximum of life in prison when he is sentenced on Sept. 12, 2011.
In addition to the DEA and Newport News Police Department, the OCDETF investigative team includes the FBI, Virginia State Police, Hampton Police Division, Newport News Sheriff’s Department, Hampton Sheriff’s Department, York County Sheriff’s Department, Southampton County Sheriff’s Department, Chesapeake Police Department, Portsmouth Police Department, Portsmouth Sheriff’s Department, Norfolk Police Department, Naval Criminal Investigative Service, and the Virginia National Guard, Counter-Drug Program.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.justice.gov/usao/vae. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.vaed.uscourts.gov or on https://pcl.uscourts.gov.