PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Authorities say several raids conducted in the Portsmouth area Monday were related to a heroin ring that may have been operating in Chesapeake and Portsmouth for a decade.
The raids were conducted by FBI and Homeland Security agents at multiple locations in Portsmouth. One of the locations is on Columbus Avenue, while agents also went to a second location on Highland Avenue.
Neighbors reported seeing a very large scene on Columbus Avenue, with part of the road blocked.
Federal Investigation in Portsmouth
Federal Investigation in Portsmouth x
An indictment filed earlier this month charges 12 people in connection with the drug ring. The 12 are facing charges including manufacturing, distributing, and possess with intent to manufacture and distribute.
Prosecutors say over 100 kilograms of heroin (about 250,000 doses) was distributed over a 10-year period. Leroy Perdue — also known as Dink, Big Cuz and Big Heat — is the alleged kingpin of the group, according to the indictment.
Tywon McKelvy is named as the ring’s supplier in the indictment. Perdue allegedly distributed the heroin to six dealers — and some family members — to sell.
The ring is said to have used rental cars, trucks, and motel rooms to manufacture and sell heroin. Authorities say the gang constantly changed cell phone numbers in an effort to avoid detection.
The heroin this group was selling was trafficked to Hampton Roads from Atlanta and New York City. According to the indictment, Perdue and a family member named Rhadu Schoolfield went to Atlanta to get wholesale amounts of heroin.
Schoolfield was arrested in Norfolk on June 22. According to prosecutors, he had 800 grams of heroin on him and had just returned from a trip to New York.
The indictment describes a web of dealers that supplied others with heroin to sell at a retail level. The heroin was allegedly put into gel capsules.
Authorities allege in the indictment that drugs sold through the ring resulted in at least one fatal overdose. According to prosecutors, law enforcement began investigating the group in early 2016, after a young resident of Chesapeake died from a heroin overdose.
Prosecutors say some of the group members were responsible for supplying a violent gang based in Portsmouth and continued to sell narcotics even after learning that their drugs resulted in death. The government alleges that at least two members have ties to criminal street gangs and that other members possessed firearms and ammunition. Ten of the 12 charged are convicted felons.
The FBI said Monday two men were still wanted in connection to the drug ring: Kevin Rashed Lawrence and Nicholas Godwin, both of Portsmouth.
Lawrence turned himself in to authorities Tuesday morning. The bureau later tweeted that Godwin was in custody.
10 On Your Side is working to learn more about the investigation.
Stay with WAVY for the latest updates.