BIRMINGHAM—A federal judge today sentenced the last of 18 defendants in an extensive heroin and oxycodone drug trafficking conspiracy that operated out of a house in Brighton for more than two years, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance, FBI Special Agent in Charge Patrick Maley, IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Rodney E. Clarke, and Jefferson County Sheriff Mike Hale.
U.S. District Judge Abdul K. Kallon sentenced BRANDON LANE MOODY, 30, to 14 years in prison for his role in the drug distribution ring. MOODY pleaded guilty in May 2011 to participating in the drug trafficking conspiracy and three counts of money laundering.
Moody and 13 others were originally charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distributing oxycodone, also known by its pharmaceutical brand name, Oxycontin, along with heroin and other drugs in a January 2011 federal grand jury indictment. A superseding indictment in April 2011 added four defendants. In addition to being charged in the conspiracy, various defendants were also charged with distributing drugs and money laundering.
“This was a large and ongoing drug dealing conspiracy which did great harm to many people, as well to the community of Brighton,” Vance said. “This case and its 18 convictions are a prime example of how cooperation among federal and local law enforcement can lead to the dismantling of a significant drug trafficking organization that blighted a community.”
“Oxycodone and heroin are highly dangerous and addictive drugs being sold on our streets,” Vance said. “We all need to remain vigilant for signs that these drugs are being trafficked or abused. They destroy lives.”
“The impact of this case reached from a little street in Brighton to a supplier in Ft. Lauderdale,” Maley said. “These violent criminals trafficked over 200,000 Oxycontin 80mg pills, and significant amounts of heroin, and in the process destroyed countless lives. Users were not just local, but came from as far away as Tuscaloosa, Huntsville, and even Georgia,” he said. “I particularly want to thank the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, IRS-Criminal Investigation Division, and the United States Attorney’s Office, all who were amazing partners, and whose contributions contributed significantly to the success of this investigation.”
“IRS Criminal Investigation is proud to provide its financial expertise as we work together with our law enforcement partners to investigate and eventually dismantle narcotics trafficking in the Northern Alabama area,” Clarke said. “This investigation is one more testament to what can be accomplished when all levels of law enforcement work together in pursuit of the same mission.”
Evidence which came out during the defendants’ guilty plea hearings, sentencing hearings, and at the trial of one defendant, Corderell Carson, showed that members of this group were receiving many thousands of oxycodone pills from a source in South Florida. Moody was primarily responsible for receiving the shipments of these pills. Once he received them, the pills were re-distributed to others who provided them to the defendants to conduct hand-to-hand sales.
The organization primarily operated in the yard and driveway of a house in Brighton. Drug sales were conducted on a daily basis for more than two years and sometimes there were so many customers that it created traffic jams in the residential neighborhood, according to court evidence. When it became difficult for the group to obtain quantities of the oxycodone pills, it moved into heroin sales. Carson, 23, was convicted after a jury trial in August 2011. He was sentenced Jan. 30 to 17 ½ years in prison.
Judge Kallon has sentenced defendants in this case to an average of 8.9 years in prison. Carson’s sentence was among the longer prison terms, which also included 235 months (19 years, seven months) for CARLOS ANTONIO RIGGS, 34, and 188 months (15 years, eight months) in prison for LAMAR ANTWON BENNETT, 35. Riggs was one of the main leaders of the organization, and Bennett was the South Florida source of the pills which the organization distributed.
The prosecution led to the forfeiture of a residence in Pleasant Grove and judgments totaling more than $9.8 million levied against the defendants. The FBI, IRS Criminal Investigation and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Russell Penfield and Greg Dimler prosecuted the case.