Drug ring member to serve 10 years

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ROANOKE — Danny Lee Peoples, 38, of Galax was sentenced Wednesday in U.S. District Court for the Western District on charges that he and others were involved with an organization that distributed crack cocaine in the city.

Peoples was sentenced to 120 months of federal incarceration, to be followed by five years of supervised released. He pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to possess and possession with the intent to distribute more than 50 grams of crack cocaine in August 2008.

“This group of individuals preyed on the citizens of Galax for years. They were brazen and they were dangerous, often times selling crack cocaine in the parking lot of a church in broad daylight,” U.S. Attorney Julia C. Dudley said. “But thanks to the hard work of the men and women who worked on this case, the people of Galax can breathe a small sigh of relief knowing this group of drug dealers is off the streets.”

Joining Dudley for Wednesday's announcement was Tim Carden, resident agent in charge for the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Peoples was charged along with six other men in a 31-count indictment in December 2007 with conspiring to possess and possession with the intent to distribute more than 50 grams of crack cocaine. In addition, each defendant was charged with additional, individual possession and distribution charges.

Previous sentences handed down in the case are as follows:

• Tommy Lamont Jones, 33, of Galax — 84 months incarceration, 60 months supervised release

• Gordon Ray Jones Jr., 31, of Galax — 192 months incarceration, 120 months supervised release

• Shawn Dwayne Randle, 36, of Winston-Salem, N.C. — 144 months incarceration, 60 months supervised release

• Vernice Cortez Robinson, 39, of Galax — 168 months incarceration, 60 months supervised release

Tony Michael Brown, 51, of Galax, is scheduled to be sentenced in March.

Jonathan Brown of Galax was named in the indictment, but is now deceased.

According to evidence presented at previous hearings by Assistant U.S. Attorney Charlene R. Day, all of the defendants in this case were members of a crack cocaine distribution organization called “The Enterprise.”

These men, and others, sold crack cocaine in the Calloway Street neighborhood of Galax. The area has only one street, Calloway Street, that allows vehicles to enter, which made it relatively easy for the co-conspirators to be aware of, and control, who came and went.

As a result, U.S. Attorney Day said, often times the co-conspirators simply stood outside in the open and sold crack cocaine to passing cars, using lookouts to warn the sellers when law enforcement agents were entering the neighborhood.

The investigation revealed that on more than one occasion, members of the conspiracy sold crack cocaine from a parking lot of a local church. Other times, the co-conspirators used homes located within the neighborhood to meet with buyers and sell crack cocaine.

The investigation was conducted by Drug Enforcement Administration, Virginia State Police and the Twin County Drug Task Force. The task force is made up of officers from Galax, Carroll and Grayson counties.