Man receives time for role in drug ring

By Chris Berendt - [email protected]
James McKoy -

RALEIGH — A Garland man has been sentenced to 17 years in prison for his involvement in a violent drug trafficking organization in Sampson County, for which his nephew and others are currently awaiting their own sentencing.

On Friday, Chief U.S. District Judge James C. Dever III sentenced James Daniel McKoy, 54, of Garland, to 210 months (17 years, six months) in prison, followed by five years of supervised release, according to a press release from U.S. Attorney Robert J. Higdon Jr.

James McKoy pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine, 280 grams or more of cocaine base (crack), a quantity of marijuana, and a quantity of heroin.

Additionally, he received three counts of distribution of a quantity of cocaine base while aiding and abetting another; distribution of a quantity of cocaine base; possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime; two counts of distribution of 28 grams or more of cocaine base while aiding and abetting another; and distribution of 28 grams or more of cocaine base and a quantity of heroin while aiding and abetting another.

According to investigators, a series of homes were used in southern Sampson to store and distribute cocaine, heroin, meth and opioids over nearly a decade. McKoy’s home was used as part of the drug trafficking organization (DTO), which was led by his nephew Antonio Kevin McKoy, also of Garland.

In December 2013, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Sampson County Sheriff’s Office identified a DTO led by Antonio McKoy. The investigation confirmed that within the Eastern District of North Carolina, the DTO distributed significant quantities of marijuana, cocaine, cocaine base (crack), heroin, prescription pain pills and firearms throughout the eastern part of the state from at least 2007 until late September 2016.

”Antonio McKoy utilized dozens of individuals, including his uncle, James McKoy, to build and sustain this DTO’s operation,” the release from Higdon stated.

Antonio McKoy was convicted in federal court on May 22 along with Tony Chevallier, 39, of Turkey, and Jabarr Ryeheine Rudolph, 38, of Clinton, following a seven-day jury trial for their involvement in the DTO responsible for distributing “significant quantities” of meth, heroin, cocaine and “molly,” known also as MDMA or ecstasy.

The jury found all three men guilty of conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute significant quantities of multiple controlled substances, including methamphetamine, heroin, crack cocaine and cocaine and molly. Additional convictions were sustained for the distribution of various controlled substances and multiple firearms-related charges.

The three men are currently awaiting sentencing.

Evidence presented during their trial detailed a DTO built and led by Antonio McKoy.

“A myriad of techniques and tools were utilized to gather extensive evidence about the DTO,” Higdon’s statement read.

The Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) case was investigated by the ATF, the Sampson Sheriff’s Office, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, U.S. Probation Office, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation and the North Carolina Departments of Revenue and Emergency Management.

Assistant United States Attorneys Brad Knott and Toby Lathan prosecuted the case.

They said the DTO led by McKoy maintained contacts with individuals throughout the Southeastern United States. In addition to trafficking drugs, the organization maintained a “sophisticated apparatus” that was used to launder the proceeds derived from drug sales, according to the feds.

The evidence confirmed Antonio McKoy maintained multiple residences in the Garland area — James McKoy’s was one of them — for the storage, packaging and distribution of cocaine, crack, heroin, methamphetamine and prescription pills. They were also used to manufacture cocaine into crack and supply others for distribution. A trucking company that Antonio McKoy started in early 2016 was used to conceal the money collected in the drug business.

According to Higdon’s statement, the investigation determined that James McKoy was accountable for a total of 226.8 grams of marijuana, 31.5 grams of cocaine, 912.4 grams of crack and 225.2 grams of heroin, as well as possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking activity.

Antonio McKoy and James McKoy were previously arrested in September 2016 following a yearlong, multi-agency operation that saw 11 pounds of cocaine and several firearms seized. That resulted in federal charges of narcotics conspiracy against five “major players” in Sampson County, two of them being the Antonio and James McKoy. A day later, nine others were arrested, with dozens of warrants served in all.

Also a OCDETF criminal matter, that probe targeted “a violent multi-defendant drug trafficking organization” and involved many of the same agencies.

James McKoy has a long history of convictions in Lee and Wake counties, including a robbery with a dangerous weapon conviction in Wake County in June 2011. He served more than six years in prison, according to the N.C. Department of Public Safety records, and was remanded to Central Prison in Raleigh earlier this year when his post-release status was revoked.

James McKoy McKoy
Uncle of ringleader gets 17 years in federal court

By Chris Berendt

[email protected]

Managing Editor Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 2587.

Managing Editor Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 2587.