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Member of drug organization sentenced to 28 years

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — A Virginia man was sentenced to 28 years for his participation in a complex drug trafficking network. The investigation was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Peninsula Narcotics Enforcement Task Force, which includes the Virginia State Police and the Newport News and Hampton police departments.

Robert Edward Sargent Jr., 43, of Newport News, Va., pleaded guilty March 28 to directing a criminal enterprise that was responsible for distributing between 50 to 150 kilograms of cocaine.

Sargent was charged, along with several co-defendants, in a superseding indictment returned Jan. 10. According to court documents, Sargent ran a drug organization, located in the Aqueduct Apartments and Woodlawn Apartments in the Denbigh area of Newport News, responsible for dealing cocaine, cocaine base and marijuana. Sources of supply in New York, California, Georgia, North Carolina and Texas distributed quantities of drugs to Sargent for further distribution on the Virginia Peninsula.

Beginning in 2000 Sargent was bringing in multi-kilogram quantities of cocaine from New York for redistribution. The drug proceeds were then transported back to New York. At some point in 2009 or 2010, Sargent began receiving shipments of drugs from California and then having the proceeds hand delivered back to California. He employed a large network of couriers and distributors to make his organization successful. During the course of the conspiracy Sargent had approximately $250,000 seized by law enforcement or stolen by co-conspirators yet he continued his operation.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Hurt is prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States from the Eastern District of Virginia.