Final Defendant Sentenced in Fentanyl and Heroin Trafficking Conspiracy

For Immediate Release

U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Kentucky

FRANKFORT, Ky. – A Lexington, Ky., man, Darnell Thomas, Jr. 32, was sentenced on Monday, by U.S. District Judge Gregory Van Tatenhove, to 240 months, for conspiracy to distribute 10 grams or more of fluorofentanyl, 40 grams or more of a mixture containing fentanyl, and heroin, and distribution of 40 grams or more of fentanyl.

According to his plea agreement, between October and December 2022, Thomas conspired with his co-defendants, Melvin Coffey, 31, and Jaden Bradshaw, 23, to distribute fluorofentanyl, fentanyl, and heroin.  Specifically, law enforcement utilized a confidential informant to purchase multiple ounces of the controlled substances, on five different occasions in Fayette and Madison Counties.  For each of the five occasions, Thomas admitted to either personally conducting the drug sales or directing his co-defendants to do so, on his behalf.  As part of his guilty plea, Thomas also acknowledged that he had previously been convicted of trafficking heroin and cocaine in 2016 and 2018, respectively.

Coffey was previously sentenced to 57 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release.  Bradshaw was sentenced to 24 months, followed by 3 years of supervised release.

Under federal law, Thomas and his co-defendants must serve 85 percent of their prison sentences.  Upon Thomas’ release from prison, he will be under the supervision of the U.S. Probation Office for 8 years. 

Carlton S. Shier, IV, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky; Shawn Morrow, Special Agent in Charge, ATF, Louisville Field Division; and Commander Kalan Perdue, Gateway High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force, jointly announced the sentence.

The investigation was conducted by ATF and Gateway HIDTA Task Force.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Paco Villalobos prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States.

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