Thank you for being one of our most loyal readers. Please consider supporting community journalism by subscribing.
Three Wilson County men will spend several years in federal prison after prosecutors say they were a part of a drug trafficking ring that spanned three counties.
Chief U.S. District Judge James C. Dever III sentenced 29-year-olds Travis Kwymaine Ruffin of Wilson and Marcus “Mark” Antwan Wiley of Elm City to roughly 4 1/2 years each followed by three years supervised release.
Michael Speight, 26, of Elm City, was also sentenced to five years in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release.
All three men were named in an 11-count indictment filed in the Eastern District of North Carolina in June where they were charged with drug conspiracy, according to federal officials.
Ruffin pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute a quantity of crack cocaine and a quantity of heroin as well as distribution of a quantity of heroin. Wiley pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute a quantity of heroin and distribution of a quantity of heroin. Speight pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute a quantity of crack cocaine, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.
Ruffin, Wiley and Speight were a part of a drug trafficking ring that distributed cocaine, crack cocaine, heroin and marijuana throughout Wilson, Nash and Edgecombe counties, federal officials said in a news release.
As a part of the investigation, authorities recorded telephone calls where Ruffin, Wiley and Speight “each discussed the drug conspiracy, their roles in the crime and made arrangements for further transactions,” according to the release.
Prosecutors say Wiley and Ruffin sold 10 bricks of heroin each, which equates to 1,000 individual bags.
At the time of the offense, Wiley was on supervised release resulting from a 2009 federal conviction of conspiracy to commit armed bank robbery, armed bank robbery and the use and carrying of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, according to the office.
After Wiley admitted to the criminal activity, prosecutors say his supervised release was revoked and he was sentenced to an additional three years in prison. He will serve that sentence after he serves time for the drug conspiracy.
Their prosecution was a part of an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force Operation announced this summer, which resulted in the arrest of several suspects for outstanding federal and state charges in a coordinated warrant enforcement operation. The investigation focused on heroin and cocaine trafficking in Wilson, Nash and Edgecombe counties.
The case was a part of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Take Back North Carolina Initiative. Agencies who participated in this case included the Drug Enforcement Administration, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, U.S. Marshal Service, U.S. Probation Office, Wilson Police Department, Nash County Sheriff’s Office, Rocky Mount Police Department, Edgecombe County Sheriff’s Office, Tarboro Police Department, Spring Hope Police Department, Nashville Police Department, N.C. State Bureau of Investigation and the N.C. Department of Public Safety.