Greenbelt, Maryland – A federal jury today convicted Valfonso Dewitt, a/k/a “Valentino” and “Val,” age 72, of Bronx, New York, for conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute fentanyl and on two counts for using his cellular telephone to facilitate illegal drug distribution. The jury acquitted Dewitt on three counts of using his cellular telephone to facilitate illegal drug distribution.
The guilty verdict was announced by Erek L. Barron, United States Attorney for the District of Maryland; Special Agent in Charge Jarod Forget of the Drug Enforcement Administration – Washington Division; Special Agent in Charge Wayne Jacobs of the Federal Bureau of Investigation – Washington Field Office Criminal Division; and Chief Marcus Jones of the Montgomery County Police Department.
According to the evidence presented at his four-day trial, from January 2019 through at least September 2019, Dewitt conspired with co-defendant James Isaac Gaston, Gaston’s wife Jacqueline Shelton Gaston, and others to distribute fentanyl. The evidence proved that in September 2019, Dewitt distributed nearly half a kilogram of pure fentanyl—enough to kill almost 250,000 people—to James Gaston just outside Memphis, Tennessee. Approximately 14 hours later, law enforcement seized the fentanyl during a traffic stop on Gaston’s car shortly after Gaston drove over the I-495 bridge from Virginia into Prince George’s County, Maryland.
James Isaac Gaston, age 74, and Jacqueline Shelton Gaston, age 52, both of Lanham, Maryland, previously pleaded guilty to their roles in the drug distribution conspiracy and are scheduled to be sentenced on May 8, 2023 and June 23, 2023, respectively.
Dewitt faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years and a maximum sentence of life in federal prison for the drug conspiracy and a maximum sentence of four years in federal prison for each count of using his cellular phone to facilitate a drug felony. U.S. District Judge Paula Xinis has not yet scheduled a sentencing date for Dewitt.
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.
U.S. Attorney Erek L. Barron commended the DEA, the FBI, and the Montgomery County Police Department for their work in the investigation and thanked the Prince George’s County Police Department and the Maryland State Police for their assistance. Mr. Barron thanked Assistant United States Attorneys Jeffrey J. Izant and Geonard F. Butler II, who are prosecuting the case.
For more information on the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office, its priorities, and resources available to help the community, please visit https://www.justice.gov/usao-md and https://www.justice.gov/usao-md/community-outreach.
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originally published at HUMAN RIGHTS - USA DAILY NEWS 24