For immediate release: January 6, 2023
Massive Lynchburg Narcotics Conspiracy Dismantled, Ringleader Sentenced
LYNCHBURG, Va. – Please see the news release below from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia. A statement from Chief Zuidema on the sentencing is contained within the release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office. You may also access the news release here: https://www.justice.gov/usao-wdva/pr/massive-lynchburg-narcotics-conspiracy-dismantled-ringleader-sentenced
Jermel Storey Supplied Greater-Lynchburg Area with Over 150 Kilograms of Cocaine, Valued at More Than $4.5 Million, Possessed Short-Barreled Rifle
LYNCHBURG, Va. – The North Carolina source of supply, who conspired with dozens of others to distribute narcotics into Lynchburg and the greater Central Virginia region, was sentenced earlier this week to 27.5 years in federal prison.
Jermel Lawrence Storey, 45, a former Lynchburg resident who most recently resided in Charlotte, North Carolina, pled guilty in July 2022 to conspiring to possess with the intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine, possession with the intent to distribute and distributing cocaine, possession with the intent to distribute and distributing 500 grams or more of cocaine, and possession of a firearm (a short-barreled rifle) in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
Storey was held responsible for distributing more than 150 kilograms of cocaine into the Lynchburg area, a quantity valued at more than $4.5 million.
“Dismantling this massive narcotics conspiracy makes a significant impact on the entire Central Virginia area,” said United States Attorney Christopher R. Kavanaugh. “In collaboration with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners, my Office continues its unyielding pursuit of criminals who traffic in drugs and guns and threaten the safety and security of our communities.”
“This sentencing should send a clear message to those who prey on our community that their actions will be aggressively investigated and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” said Lynchburg Police Chief Ryan Zuidema. “We know there is a clear connection between drug activity and violent crime, and this sentencing reinforces our community’s unwillingness to tolerate either. The Lynchburg Police Department recognizes that this outcome would not have been possible without the assistance of our local, state, and federal law enforcement partners.”
ATF Washington Field Division Acting Special Agent in Charge Christopher Amon said, “Combating violent gun crime and narcotics distribution within our communities is something we do every day, and we take this mission very seriously. We will continue to collaborate with our partners as we disrupt the illegal use and possession of firearms, distribution of narcotics and other violent acts within our community ensuring criminals are held accountable.”
“DEA’s top priority is investigating and dismantling drug trafficking organizations and its members like Mr. Storey, who are responsible for distributing dangerous and deadly firearms and drugs such as cocaine, meth, heroin, and fentanyl into our neighborhoods,” said Jarod Forget, Special Agent in Charge for the DEA Washington Division. “While they are turning a profit, people and their families are tormented by violence and the consequences of drug use and addiction. We will continue working with our federal, local and state partners to disrupt and reduce violent, drug-related crime, to effectively hold these violent offenders accountable and give our communities the safety they deserve.”
According to court documents, between January 2016 and January 2021, Storey led and organized a widespread drug trafficking organization that imported large quantities of cocaine into the Lynchburg, Virginia area from Houston, Texas through Charlotte, North Carolina. Even after moving to Charlotte, Storey continued his drug-dealing conspiracy by directing his co-conspirators to meet him in Charlotte to collect the drugs and then to return to Lynchburg for sales throughout Central Virginia. Storey possessed and used multiple firearms for protection and intimidation and made threats of violence to further his criminal enterprise, including using firearms on video calls and when people visited him in person in order to intimidate them. Additionally, when his co-conspirators did not comply with his demands, Storey threatened to harm them as well as their family members.
The Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Lynchburg Police Department, the Virginia State Police’s Central Virginia Drug and Gang Task Force, and the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney for the City of Lynchburg investigated the case.
Assistant United States Attorneys Sean Welsh and Ronald M. Huber prosecuted the case.
This effort is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF .