Drug Enforcement Administration

Atlanta

Robert J. Murphy, Jr., Special Agent in Charge

May 17, 2018

Contact: Chuvalo Truesdell

Phone Number: (404) 893-7000

Indian Trail Man Sentenced To 20 Years In Prison On Drug Trafficking Charges

The Defendant Sold Heroin that Resulted in a Man’s Overdose Death

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - U.S. District Judge Robert J. Conrad, Jr. sentenced today Derek Joseph Parker, 33, of Indian Trail, N.C. to 20 years in federal prison for his role in drug trafficking conspiracy that resulted in a heroin overdose death, announced R. Andrew Murray, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.

Robert J. Murphy, Special Agent in Charge of the Atlanta Field Division of the Drug Enforcement (DEA), which oversees the Charlotte District Office; Chief Kerr Putney of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department; Chief Rob Hunter of the Matthews Police Department; Sheriff Eddie Cathey of the Union County Sheriff’s Office; and Chief J. Bryan Gilliard, Monroe Police Department join U.S. Attorney Murray in making today’s announcement.

According to filed court documents and today’s sentencing hearing, over the course of a seven-month investigation, law enforcement identified Parker as a regional drug trafficker in a Drug Trafficking (DTO) distributing heroin in the greater Charlotte area. Court records show that on December 30, 2016, Parker sold approximately two grams of heroin for $180 to a male individual, which resulted in an overdose death. Court records show the transaction occurred in the parking lot of the Microtel Inn, located at 1603 Matthews-Mint Hill Rd., in Matthews, N.C. The following day, hotel housekeeping found a male unresponsive inside one of the hotel rooms.

According to court records, the deceased male died from a heroin overdose. Law enforcement identified Parker as the person who sold the heroin to the deceased male, and confirmed the cause of death as a heroin overdose. Subsequent to this overdose death, Parker continued to sell heroin until he was identified as the regional drug trafficker who caused the male’s overdose death.

According to court records, Parker continued to engage in drug trafficking, and sold, on multiple occasions, approximately a total of 2,000 grams of heroin, until he was arrested on July 6, 2017. When law enforcement arrested Parker they also seized from his residence (Xanax pills and heroin), drug scales, and a loaded firearm. Filed court documents show that Parker told law enforcement that he learned of the deceased male’s heroin overdose in January 2017, and continued to sell heroin thereafter, until he was arrested.

In sentencing Parker, Judge Conrad commented on the serious nature of our nation’s opioid epidemic. When imposing a 20-year prison sentence, Judge Conrad stated that Parker’s conduct of continuing to sell narcotics after the heroin death occurred was appalling and unacceptable.

Parker is currently in federal custody and 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 DEA, the CMPD, the Matthews Police Department, the Union County Sheriff’s Office, and the Monroe Police Department led the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Sanjeev Bhasker, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte, prosecuted the case.

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. Also follow DEA Atlanta via Twitter at @DEAATLANTADiv

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