NORFOLK, Va. – A Portsmouth man was sentenced to life in prison and ordered to forfeit $5.7 million after being convicted of leading a huge heroin trafficking ring.
46-year-old Leroy Perdue lead, organized and supplied a major heroin trafficking operation that resulted in at least one death.
“Leroy Perdue pumped a massive quantity of heroin into Hampton Roads for nearly a decade,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “This eight-time previously convicted drug felon supplied heroin while armed. He supplied heroin to gang members. He even continued to supply heroin after discovering his drugs resulted in a fatal overdose. This case is a prime example of the power of law enforcement collaboration, and a fitting result for a defendant who choose to destroy families by trafficking opioids. I want to thank our prosecutors and our investigative partners for their extraordinary effort and dedication to this important case.”
Court documents said Perdue, aka “Dink,” “Big Heat,” served as the primary leader and organizer of a Hampton Roads based heroin trafficking organization which distributed in excess of 100 kilograms of heroin (approximately 250,000 doses) over a 10-year period.
In May a federal jury found Perdue guilty of conspiracy to manufacture, distribute, and possess with intent to manufacture and distribute one kilogram or more of heroin; interstate travel in aid of racketeering; and possession with intent to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin.
On August 14, 2017, over 300 law enforcement agents made arrests and executed search warrants in Virginia, Georgia, and New York. The takedown was the result of a multi-year, multi-jurisdictional, and multi-agency Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation designated Operation Hardest Hit, the United States Attorney G. Zachary Terwilliger said.
Court documents said law enforcement began investigating Leroy Perdue and his drug trafficking organization (Perdue DTO) in early 2016 following the heroin overdose death of a young resident of Chesapeake.
With the participation of nearly two dozen Confidential Human Sources, law enforcement infiltrated the Perdue DTO and made 10 undercover controlled purchases of heroin and fentanyl.
On June 22, the investigative team arrested 33-year-old Rhadu Schoolfield with over 800 grams of heroin after he returned from a trip to New York. According to the indictment, the Perdue DTO Members of the Perdue DTO were responsible for supplying a violent gang based in Portsmouth and continued to sell dangerous narcotics even after learning that their drugs resulted in death.
Perdue, who described himself as the “Dogfood King” (“dogfood” is slang for heroin), financed the production of a music video for his co-conspirator and cousin, Rhadu Schoolfield, called, “Dumb Hard,” which contained children singing lyrics along with Schoolfield and other co-conspirators that glamorized the drug trade.
According to one court filing, Perdue had at least eight prior adult felony drug convictions.
Twelve of Perdue’s co-conspirators, including his son, two cousins, and several close childhood friends were sentenced to a combined total of nearly 170 years of imprisonment.