Norfolk man pleads guilty to dealing drugs that led to overdoses, deaths

Court documents: Erskine Dawson's source of supply used stuffed animals to transport drugs

Photo: Office of the Attorney General

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A Norfolk man pleaded guilty Tuesday to leading a drug trafficking conspiracy that led to more than a dozen overdoses and multiple deaths.

Court documents say 33-year-old Erskine A. Dawson managed over half a dozen people, who sold between three and 10 kilograms of heroin from a motel off of Military Highway in Virginia Beach.

According to prosecutors, Dawson’s source of supply — a New Jersey man named Kenneth Stuart, also known as “Bones” — used stuffed animals to conceal the drugs as they were transported down the East Coast on commercial buses.

Court paperwork says Dawson’s organization was known for its potent heroin and fentanyl. The drugs were distributed in wax baggies stamped “King of Death,” “Last Call” and “Steph Curry,” among many others. Dawson and his dealers reportedly knew multiple people had overdosed and even died using the product, yet continued to sell it anyway.

Court documents go on to say that after one heroin overdose death, Dawson called Stuart to inform him what had happened — and Stuart advised Dawson to continue selling the heroin, which he did.

In December 2016, officers from Virginia Beach and Chesapeake executed warrants on Dawson and his co-defendants at two motels. Investigators recovered nearly 2,000 wax baggies containing heroin and fentanyl. In Dawson’s rooms, officers found multiple loaded firearms, a digital scale, several thousand dollars in cash and a stuffed animal with the stitching had been pulled apart.

Dawson pleaded guilty to conspiracy to manufacture, distribute, and possess with intent to manufacture and distribute heroin and fentanyl, distribution of fentanyl resulting in death, and possession of firearms during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime.

Dawson is set to be sentenced on Nov. 1. He faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years and a maximum penalty of life in prison.