Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Operation Fighting Jelly Fish: drug trafficker sentenced to 15 years for meth distribution

A trafficker shipping drugs and money between North Carolina and California was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Louise W. Flanagan to 15 years in prison Wednesday. Jerrell Taylor, 36, of Kinston pled guilty in July 2021 to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribute methamphetamine.

According to court documents and court evidence, on July 24, 2019, the Onslow County Sheriff’s Detectives arranged a controlled purchase of 449 grams of meth for $6,500. A “middleman” arrived on a motorcycle carrying a pizza box containing the drugs. The address listed on the box was Taylor’s Kinston residence.

Following the deal, the middleman met with Taylor, observed by law enforcement, who stopped the individuals. Officers found Taylor in possession of money from the meth purchase.

The investigation also revealed that from December 2018 until his arrest, Taylor was involved in the receipt and distribution of more than 18 kilograms of methamphetamine. He was supplied from people, including the Grape Street Crips, from California. Packages were sent to addresses in Kinston and New Bern.

When Taylor began to believe he was under federal investigation, he fled to Las Vegas and was arrested in April 2020.

“Through our collaboration across federal, state and local law enforcement, we are taking dangerous and illegal drugs off the streets and putting dealers behind bars,” U.S. Attorney Michael Easley said in a press release.

Others were involved. Taylor had people wiring drug funds back to California, including Carlos Green who received several packages of meth from the same West Coast source. Green was also involved in the distribution of heroin and cocaine in new Bern and Beaufort. He was convicted of possession of a firearm by a felon and multiple drug trafficking charges in September 2020. Green was sentenced to 30 years in prison earlier this year.

This was part of operation “Fighting Jelly Fish,” part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launders, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks, the release states.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the Drug Enforcement Administration, Department of Homeland Security, United States Postal Service, the Craven and Onslow County Sheriffs’ Office and the New Bern and Kinston Police Departments investigated the case.

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