Passenger in vehicle involved with death of WPD officer sentenced for drug possession
February 16, 2012 at 9:18 PM EST - Updated June 26 at 3:00 PM
WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – Almost three years after a Wilmington Police officer was killed, a man who was in the vehicle involved with the fatal car chase was sentenced to over 11 years in prison for drug possession.
Matthew Gerard Hendy, 28, pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute and possession with the intent to distribute more than 50 kilograms of marijuana, money laundering by concealment, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, according to a news release from U.S. Attorney Thomas G. Walker.
During the investigation, the Wilmington man was found to be a part of a drug trafficking organization that was importing high-quality marijuana in bulk amounts from Canada through New York. He was responsible for distributing more than 150 kilograms of marijuana in hockey bags with a street value of more than $1 million from late 2007 until February 2009, according to Walker's description of Hendy's crimes.
Hendy and a co-conspirator, who were traveling in separate cars in March 2008, took a N.C. Highway Patrol trooper on a high-speed chase in Johnston County before Hendy was stopped with more than $192,000. Two months later, Hendy and three others were intercepted by deputies in Broome County, New York. The deputies reportedly found several empty hockey bags that smelled like marijuana, a vacuum sealer and a money-counting machine.
His crime spree continued in 2009 when Hendy and three others planned to rip off a drug dealer in Charlotte. They indicated that they would pay more than $25,000 for five pounds of marijuana. They exchanged the marijuana for a small quantity of money and newspaper in Wilmington, according to Walker, and then another car chase ensued.
The following morning, Wilmington Police officers recognized a car that matched the description of an unrelated criminal offense. During the chase, one of Hendy's co-conspirators threw a Glock .40 caliber handgun out of the car and came to a stop. Before the officers could approach the car, it accelerated and drove off.
The officers radioed for assistance and WPD Officer Richard Matthews responded. While driving on Shipyard Boulevard, officials say that Matthews lost control of his patrol car and was killed.
Officers noticed pound-sized plastic bags containing marijuana being thrown from the vehicle that Hendy was inside of. After throwing out five bags, the criminals stopped the vehicle and were arrested. The following day the handgun was also recovered.
Hendy was reportedly sentenced to 138 months of imprisonment followed by five years of supervised released. He was not charged with the death of Matthews.