Saturday, September 23, 2023

‘Dogfood King,’ leader of heroin distribution in Hampton Roads, will serve life in prison

Leroy Perdue Southside Daily photo/Courtesy of Norfolk Sheriffs Office
Leroy Perdue (HNNDaily photo/Courtesy of Norfolk Sheriffs Office)

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


John Mangalonzo
John Mangalonzo
John Mangalonzo ( is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.

Related Articles