RALEIGH, NC (WECT) - A man who federal prosecutors said was supplying cocaine to the Bloods street gang in Wilmington is headed to prison.
Rufus Lamar Parker, 28, of Wilmington, will spend 6.5 years in prison followed by 3 years of supervised probation after previously pleading guilty to six counts of distributing powder cocaine.
Parker is the fifth man to be sentenced in connection with Operation Tourniquet, an undercover investigation that led to the dismantling of a drug trafficking ring in Wilmington in 2017.
Eugene Telphia Grady Jr., James Flowers, Sylvester Lorenzo Hooper Jr., and Victor Dorm have previously pleaded guilty and sentenced to prison. Joseph Anthony Vaught has also pleaded guilty and will be sentenced on April 29.
In December 2016, officers with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Wilmington Police Department began investigating gang and drug activity, specifically targeting Dorm, who was the leader of a subset of the Bloods street gang operating in Wilmington.
Investigators determined that Parker, a close associate of Dorm, was supplying the gang with powder cocaine. The gang would then cook the powder cocaine to make crack, which they sold in the Wilmington area.
Law enforcement was able to make approximately three dozen controlled purchases from the six co-defendants mentioned in this case, as well as five other men in separate federal cases. The agents purchased cocaine, crack cocaine, heroin, counterfeit money, and multiple guns.
Parker made seven of the sales from March to July 2017. In each transaction, Parker supplied various quantities of cocaine to a confidential informant, with a reported street value of $1,500 per ounce.
On Aug. 29, 2017, officers executed a search warrant at Parker’s home and recovered 117 grams of powder cocaine and over $31,000 in cash.
The Brunswick County and New Hanover County sheriff’s offices assisted the ATF and the Wilmington Police Department in the investigation.