Heroin and Cocaine Dealer Sentenced for Drug Conspiracy

Heroin and Cocaine Dealer Sentenced to Five Years in Federal Prison for Drug Conspiracy and Distribution Charges

U.S. District Judge Paula Xinis sentenced Darick Knighton, age 44, of Alexandria, Virginia, to five years in federal prison, followed by four years of supervised release, for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance and distribution of a controlled substance. The sentence was imposed on July 7, 2022.

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron; Special Agent in Charge Jarod Forget of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Washington Division; Acting Postal Inspector in Charge Tira Hayward of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service – Washington Division; Chief Malik Aziz of the Prince George’s County Police Department; and Chief Marcus Jones of the Montgomery County Police Department.

According to his guilty plea, from December 2018 to January 2020, Knighton, and others participated in a conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute heroin. From the spring of 2018 to December 2018, Knighton sold more than 100 grams of heroin to a confidential informant in Maryland.

For example, on December 13, 2018, Knighton sold 97.32 grams of heroin with trace amounts of caffeine and fentanyl to a confidential informant in exchange for $7,000. Knighton also sold cocaine. Beginning on April 4, 2019, law enforcement officers intercepted Knighton’s phone calls and were able to identify several of Knighton’s narcotics customers, including a customer to whom Knighton sold between 50 and 100 grams of cocaine.

As detailed in his plea agreement, Knighton had a longstanding relationship with his primary source of supply for heroin. As a result, the source of supply provided Knighton with heroin on consignment, which Knighton then resold in smaller quantities to his own customer base.

Knighton also had other suppliers, including an individual based in Baltimore, Maryland. Knighton admitted that he knew the drug trafficking organization was extensive and that his drug supplier obtained narcotics from at least one source located outside of the Washington, D.C. area.

On May 1, 2019, following a conversation between co-defendant Dwight Andrew Douse and the source of supply, the source of supply called Knighton to let him know that he could obtain 100 grams of heroin from his source of supply and that the drugs could be cut such that Knighton would have 125 grams of product to sell to his customers. Knighton never directly dealt with Douse or with co-defendant Ana Avalos. Knighton was also aware that his source of supply had additional narcotics customers in addition to Knighton.

Four co-defendants have pleaded guilty in this case, including Dwight Andrew Douse, age 45, of Newburgh, New York; and Ana Avalos, age 35, of Phelan, California. Ana Avalos was sentenced to 57 months in federal prison in July 2021. Douse and two other co-defendants who pleaded guilty are scheduled to be sentenced in the coming months. One co-defendant is scheduled for trial in April 2023, and the final co-defendant is a fugitive.

This case is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.

United States Attorney Erek L. Barron commended the DEA, USPIS, the Prince George’s County Police Department, and the Montgomery County Police Department for their work in the investigation and thanked the Metropolitan Police Department, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, the Virginia State Police, and the Fairfax County Police Department for their assistance. Mr. Barron thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Timothy F. Hagan and Joel Crespo, who prosecuted the case.