Man convicted in Garland drug trafficking case

By Chris Berendt - [email protected]
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RALEIGH – A Turkey man is the latest to be convicted in federal court for his involvement in a Garland-based drug trafficking organization that officials said “destroyed the quality of life” in the small Sampson town. The case has tallied 25 convictions to date.

Gregory Antwan Bright, 33, of Turkey, was convicted this week in federal court following a three-day jury trial before Chief U.S. District Judge James C. Dever III. The jury found Bright guilty of conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute cocaine and cocaine base (crack).

The conviction stems from an investigation that began in 2013. The evidence presented at trial detailed a significant drug trafficking organization that was built and led by Antonio Kevin McKoy, 32, of Garland, who was convicted by a jury on May 30. The drug trafficking organization (DTO) was responsible for the running of drugs across eastern North Carolina.

“The investigation resulted in the conviction of 25 members of the McKoy drug trafficking organization that destroyed the quality of life in the small community of Garland in Sampson County,” a press release from Robert J. Higdon Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, stated.

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.

According to evidence presented at trial, the DTO led by McKoy maintained contacts with individuals throughout the Southeastern United States, who supplied the drugs sold primarily within Eastern North Carolina. In addition to trafficking drugs, the organization maintained a “sophisticated apparatus” to launder the proceeds derived from drug sales. That included a trucking company McKoy started in early 2016 that was used to conceal money collected in the drug business.

Antonio McKoy utilized dozens of individuals, including his uncle, James Daniel McKoy, 54, also of Garland, to build and sustain the DTO. According to investigators, a series of homes were used in southern Sampson to store, package and distribute cocaine, crack, heroin, meth and opioids over nearly a decade. James McKoy’s home was one of them.

The week after Antonio’s conviction, James McKoy was sentenced to at least 17 years in prison after pleading 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.

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.

The case is a federal Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force OCDETF criminal matter being investigated by the ATF, the Sampson County Sheriff’s Office, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, U.S. Probation Office, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation and the N.C. Department of Revenue and N.C. Department of Emergency Management. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Brad Knott and Toby Lathan prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States.

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By Chris Berendt

[email protected]