By John Chambless
Kevin Morris, 24, of Franklin Township, was sentenced to 57 months in prison for his role in a drug conspiracy centered in Wilmington that involved the importation of cocaine and heroin from Panama and Afghanistan.
The sentencing was announced last week by Delaware District Attorney Charles M. Oberly, III. Judge Richard G. Andrews also imposed a three-year term of supervised release and ordered Morris to forfeit $22,172.00 in drug proceeds.
Morris pleaded guilty on July 25, 2012, to conspiracy to smuggle five kilograms of cocaine and one kilogram of heroin from Panama into the United States, as well as money laundering. During the plea hearing, Morris admitted that he acted as a recruiter, facilitator, and financier for the organization, and that he was involved in getting couriers to smuggle heroin and cocaine from Panama to Delaware.
He acknowledged selling cocaine and heroin to customers in Pennsylvania. Several of them were actually informants for the Pennsylvania State Police. Morris also admitted his involvement in purchasing about half a kilo of cocaine in Washington, D.C., which had been smuggled into the United States through a military contractor based in Afghanistan.
In connection with his plea agreement, Morris accepted responsibility for at least five kilos of cocaine and five kilos of heroin. He admitted that he laundered his drug proceeds, in part by buying two vehicles.
To date, the government has charged 23 people in the United States with drug trafficking offenses as a result of the investigation. All but four of those defendants - each of whom remain in Panama - have pleaded guilty, or have agreed to plead guilty, to drug-related offenses.
Oberly said, "The court's sentence appropriately punishes the defendant for his important role in an international drug conspiracy that had a negative impact on Wilmington and its surrounding communities. I applaud the exceptional efforts of our law enforcement partners in dismantling the organization, in which Mr. Morris played a significant role."
The investigation was led by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Department of Homeland Security, the IRS, and the Wilmington Police Department.
Investigators were also aided by the Panamanian National Police; the Newark Police Department; the Delaware State Police; the New Castle County Police Department; the Pennsylvania State Police and others.
Those charged in the investigation include Delaware residents Ronaldo Edmund, Tissany Buckham, Kimberly Fowler, Kelvin Cook, Julio Archer, Roumik Banerjee, Mia Poteat, Tina Simmons, Tessa Snyder, Dynisha Revel, Raabia Munir, Sharon Butera, Efrain Dixon, Benjamin Carpenter, Tara Resto, Saleem Sharif, Charles Richardson, Darrold Thomas, and Sayeed Behrooz. Also charged were Texas residents Neisha Miller, Gloria Miller, Christine Blevins and Bridgette Davidson.