Woman pleads guilty in Emporia drug conspiracy case; could face life sentence
A woman charged in an Emporia-based drug ring pleaded guilty Thursday to a conspiracy to sell cocaine and crack cocaine.
Tracy Michelle Moody, 53, faces a minimum of 10 years in prison and a maximum of life when sentenced Dec. 14 by U.S. District Judge Robert E. Payne. She had been free on electronic monitoring but U.S. Magistrate judge Roderick Young ordered her locked up Thursday in light of her plea.
A second defendant, Brittany Lachelle Owens, 28, is scheduled to plead guilty on Monday.
Moody is one of eight people charged in a June 21 indictment that alleges the conspiracy began in January 2013 and that various defendants played various roles including organizer, manager, distributor, packager, supplier and “facilitator.”
The defendants allegedly distributed more than 5 kilograms (11 pounds) of cocaine; more than 280 grams of crack cocaine; and unspecified amounts of heroin and marijuana. All the remaining defendants, except one who remains a fugitive, have pleaded not guilty.
In pleading guilty, Moody admitted she participated in the conspiracy from December 2014 to this June, among other things allowing her home to be used to store drugs.
On at least one occasion in 2015, law enforcement bought 12 grams of crack cocaine from her. On June 6, she accompanied another defendant to a meeting in which they bought a kilogram of cocaine.
Moody admitted that the next day, June 7, she was stopped by law enforcement in possession of 84 grams of cocaine that she was taking to the Tidewater area for distribution.
Last month Payne certified the case as “complex” under the speedy trial act, granting the government’s request for more time to prepare for trail.
In asking for more time, Peter S. Duffey, an assistant U.S. attorney, said the case involved multiple defendants and jurisdictions including North Carolina. He cited wiretaps on 10 cell phones and more than 130 days of recorded intercepts including more than 4,000 “pertinent intercepted calls.”
“In addition, the evidence will also include video and audio tape from two (surveillance) cameras, of which thousands of still photographs were extracted,” wrote Duffey. He said the government planned to call 20 to 30 witnesses.
The other defendants, like Moody and Owens from the Emporia area, are: Deron Radarius Powell, 32, Crystal Lynette Mangrum , 28, Dexter Oneil Banks, 29, Steven Allen Hicks, 42, Ronnie Rawles, 38, and Vincent Demond Anderson, 41. Banks has not been arrested yet and remains a fugitive.