A Portsmouth man was sentenced in Norfolk Wednesday to life in prison and ordered to forfeit $5.7 million for leading, organizing, and supplying a major heroin trafficking operation that resulted in at least one death.
According to court documents, Leroy Perdue, aka “Dink,” “Big Heat,” 46, served as the leader and organizer of a Hampton Roads-based heroin trafficking organization distributed in excess of 100 kilograms of heroin (approximately 250,000 doses) over a 10-year period.
In May, following a two-week trial, a federal jury found Perdue guilty of conspiracy to manufacture, distribute, and possess with intent to manufacture and distribute one kilogram or more of heroin; interstate travel in aid of racketeering; and possession with intent to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District if Virginia.
“Leroy Perdue pumped a massive quantity of heroin into Hampton Roads for nearly a decade,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “This eight-time previously convicted drug felon supplied heroin while armed. He supplied heroin to gang members. He even continued to supply heroin after discovering his drugs resulted in a fatal overdose. This case is a prime example of the power of law enforcement collaboration, and a fitting result for a defendant who choose to destroy families by trafficking opioids. I want to thank our prosecutors and our investigative partners for their extraordinary effort and dedication to this important case.”
On Aug. 14, 2017, more than 300 law enforcement agents made arrests and executed search warrants in Virginia, Georgia, and New York. The takedown was the result of a multiyear, multi-jurisdictional, and multi-agency Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force investigation designated Operation Hardest Hit.
“With this final conviction and life sentence, one of the largest heroin trafficking operations in Hampton Roads has been completely shut down and we have taken one of the biggest drug dealers in the region off the streets,” said Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring. “My team and I have worked alongside both federal and local partners to interrupt the flow of heroin and fentanyl that drug dealers like Perdue pump into our communities.”
Court documents indicated that law enforcement began investigating Perdue and his drug trafficking organization in early 2016 following the heroin overdose death of a young resident of Chesapeake. With the participation of nearly two dozen confidential informants, law enforcement infiltrated the Perdue’s organization and made 10 undercover controlled purchases of heroin and fentanyl.
On June 22, the investigative team arrested Rhadu Schoolfield, 33, of Portsmouth, in Norfolk with more than 800 grams of heroin after he returned from a trip to New York. According to the indictment, the Perdue organization is responsible for supplying a violent gang based in Portsmouth.
“For years this defendant and his (Perdue) associates preyed on vulnerable people for profit and greed,” said Martin Culbreth, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Division. “They celebrated and bragged about their criminal enterprise, and showed no concern for its impact on the community or remorse when they learned their crimes resulted in death. Their conduct defied basic decency and demonstrates the need for vigilance and collaboration by law enforcement in targeting high level traffickers and violent criminal organizations that poison our community and terrorize our neighborhoods.”
Perdue, who described himself as the “Dogfood King” (“dogfood” is slang for heroin), financed the production of a music video for his co-conspirator and cousin, Schoolfield, called, “Dumb Hard,” which contained children singing lyrics along with Schoolfield and other co-conspirators that glamorized the drug trade. According to one court filing, Perdue had at least eight prior adult felony drug convictions.
Twelve of Perdue’s co-conspirators, including his son, two cousins, and several close childhood friends were sentenced to a combined total of nearly 170 years of imprisonment. See table below for sentencing details:
|Name, Age||Hometown||Date Imposed||Sentence|
|Rhadu J. Schoolfield, 33||Portsmouth||February 21, 2018||288 months|
|Abraham A. Atkins, 35||Portsmouth||December 12, 2017||240 months|
|Tywon McKelvy, 42||New York||April 5, 2018||235 months|
|Darion D. Perdue, 24||Portsmouth||October 17, 2017||228 months|
|Eddie L. Tyson, 46||Portsmouth||December 12, 2017||180 months|
|Dominic Diablo Mosley, 35||Portsmouth||January 30, 2018||180 months|
|Kevin R. Lawrence, 37||Portsmouth||January 31, 2018||96 months|
|Nicholas W. Godwin, 37||Portsmouth||September 6, 2017||148 months|
|Jamars A. Cooper, 26||Portsmouth||September 5, 2017||132 months|
|Victoria A. Waller, 42||Portsmouth||January 3, 2018||126 months|
|Edward W. Muckle, 32||Portsmouth||December 13, 2017||108 months|
|Christina N. James, 41||New York||February 7, 2018||60 months|