Undercover operation leads to takedown of drug trafficking ring in Wilmington

Undercover operation leads to takedown of drug trafficking ring in Wilmington
Eugene Telphia Grady Jr., left, and Joseph Anthony Vaught (Source: New Hanover County Jail)
Eugene Telphia Grady Jr., left, and Joseph Anthony Vaught (Source: New Hanover County Jail)
Rufus Lamar Parker, left, and Sylvester Lorenzo Hooper Jr. (Source: New Hanover County Jail)
Rufus Lamar Parker, left, and Sylvester Lorenzo Hooper Jr. (Source: New Hanover County Jail)
Prior mugshots of Blandshaw (left) Miller (middle) Tillery (right) (Source: NHCSO)
Prior mugshots of Blandshaw (left) Miller (middle) Tillery (right) (Source: NHCSO)

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Several men, including one who is reportedly a violent, high-ranking member of the Bloods street gang in Wilmington, have been arrested and charged with numerous drug and gun charges.

According to information obtained in federal court documents, Victor Dorm and other members of Dorm's gang set were arrested as part of Operation Tourniquet, which included members of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) and the Wilmington Police Department.

During a news conference Tuesday morning, local and federal officials gathered to discuss the dismantling of the drug trafficking organization that was operating out of Wilmington.

United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina Robert Higdon Jr. said over the past several months, members of the Wilmington office of the ATF and the Wilmington Police Department worked together to take down a key subset of the Bloods gang.

"The investigation culminated in a coordinated takedown carried out by a joint force of approximately 60 law enforcement officers. This included assistance from members of both the New Hanover and Brunswick County Sheriff's offices," said Higdon.

The defendants all face federal charges related to the possession and distribution of heroin, fentanyl, powder cocaine, and cocaine base (crack).

"This is not the first case we've worked here and this will not be the last case we will work on in [the Wilmington area]," said CJ Hyman, Special Agent in Charge for the ATF of the Carolinas. "We are not going away. We are going to continue to combat violent crime. We're going to continue to target the gang members that take advantage of innocent citizens in our community."

Eleven firearms, 2,299 bags of heroin, 9 grams of raw heroin, 66.7 grams of crack cocaine, 842.4 grams of powder cocaine, and $54,000 in cash were seized during the operation, according to Jane Jackson, assistant United States attorney.

On June 4, Dorm and another suspect, James Flowers, were caught cooking crack cocaine in an ATF undercover apartment equipped with video/audio recording devices. Dorm brought powder cocaine and tools to turn it into crack.

Video shows Dorm instructing Flowers how to make crack and weighing out 35 grams of the drug. A confidential informant (CI) convinced Dorm and Flowers to give him 4.5 grams of crack and it later tested positive for cocaine.

During the same visit to the ATF apartment, the CI asked Dorm if he would help rob drug traffickers, who were undercover agents. Dorm said he "was more than willing."

The next day, the CI and Dorm met with an undercover agent, who asked if they would be part of a crew to rob a Mexican cartel supplier of multiple kilograms of powder cocaine.

When asked if he wanted to join the crew, Dorm said "this is what we do" and added that he had all the "tools," including a gun, for a job like that.

Later that month, the agents tried setting up a face-to-face meeting with Dorm and the crew members he had chosen, but Dorm refused. He did, however, mention "Gotti," who is known as Joseph Anthony Vaught.

On July 11, ATF members and the CI performed a controlled purchase of 20 bags (.4 grams) of heroin from Vaught for $120.
 
In August, Dorm agreed to meet with the CI and undercover agents, and brought "Drizz" (Andre Hall, who is not named in the indictment), who agreed to participate in the "robbery."

Later that month, ATF agents initiated arresting Sylvester Hooper and Vaught at a predetermined location. Vaught attempted to drive toward the agents, but they were able to disable the vehicle and place Vaught and Hooper under arrest. Several handguns were found in the vehicle.

Here is a list of the men arrested and the charges they face:

Rufus Lamar Parker, 27  

  • Two counts of distribution and possession with intent to distribute cocaine
  • Three counts of distribution and possession with intent to distribute a quantity of powder cocaine

Sylvester Lorenzo Hooper Jr., 26

  • Possession of a firearm by a convicted felon
  • Four counts of distribution and possession with intent to distribute cocaine base (crack)

James Flowers, 24

  • Manufacture, distribute, and possess with intent to distribute cocaine base (crack) and aiding and abetting
  • Use and carry a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime and possession of firearm in furtherance of such crime and aiding and abetting

Eugene Telphia Grady Jr., 31

  • Six counts of distribution and possession with intent to distribute cocaine base (crack)

Victor Eugene Dorm, 29

  • Six counts of distribution of heroin
  • Conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of powder cocaine
  • Seven counts of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon
  • Distribution of fentanyl
  • Distribution of a quantity of heroin and cocaine base (crack)
  • Three counts of use and carry of a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime
  • Two counts of aiding and abetting

Joseph Anthony Vaught, 28

  • Conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of powder cocaine
  • Use and carry a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime
  • Possession of firearm in furtherance of such crime
  • Attempted interference with commerce by robbery and aiding and abetting
  • Possession of a firearm by a convicted felon

The following suspects were also arrested and charged as part of Operation Tourniquet:

Brent Delquay Blandshaw, 24

  • Distribution of a quantity of heroin

Ricardo Quamaine Tillery, 32

  • Distribution of a quantity of heroin

Christopher David Miller, 28

  • Distribution of a quantity of heroin

Delric Devan Inabinett, 28 (mugshot not available)

  • Distribution of a quantity of heroin

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