Franklin man sentenced to 25 years for heroin, firearm charges

FRANKLIN, Va. (WAVY) – A Franklin man has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for conspiracy to distribute heroin and possessing a firearm during a drug trafficking crime.

Phillip Jerome Murphy, 41, plead guilty to the charges on Sept. 23 last year.

According to court documents, Murphy and a co-conspirator, Collie Sanks, 37, of Emporia, were leaders of a Bloods street gang known as the Red Stone Rydahs. The two men began to distribute huge quantities of heroin in the Franklin, Smithfield and Emporia areas dating back to 2012 where the men would often travel to New York to purchase bulk quantities of heroin and then travel back to southeastern Virginia to distribute them. They had also hired other people to assist them in their distribution activities, including sales close to an elementary school that was in session.

In addition to numerous undercover heroin purchases from both Murphy and Sanks, search warrants executed at residences associated with each man yielded heroin, cocaine, narcotics packaging materials, and firearms.

At one point during the investigation, Murphy sold an assault rifle with a 30-round magazine to an undercover source.

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