U.S. Attorney's Office
Eastern District of Virginia
(757) 441-6331
September 22, 2015

Two Guilty of Conspiracy to Distribute Heroin in Southeastern Virginia

NORFOLK, VA—Phillip Jerome Murphy, 41, of Franklin, pleaded guilty yesterday to charges of conspiracy to distribute heroin and possessing a firearm during a drug trafficking crime. A fellow Bloods gang member, Collie Sanks, 37, of Emporia, pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute heroin on Sept. 17, 2015.

According to court documents, Murphy and Sanks were leaders of a Bloods street gang known as the Red Stone Rydahs, which operated in the Franklin area. Murphy and Sanks began distributing significant quantities of heroin in Franklin, Smithfield and Emporia in approximately 2012. As frequently as twice per month, Murphy and Sanks would travel to New York to purchase bulk quantities of heroin and then travel back to southeastern Virginia to distribute the drug. Both men sold heroin themselves, and also employed other individuals to assist them in their distribution activities. On several occasions, Murphy completed heroin sales within extremely close proximity to an elementary school that was in session. In addition to numerous undercover heroin purchases from both Murphy and Sanks, search warrants executed at residences associated with each man yielded heroin, cocaine, narcotics packaging materials, and firearms.

Murphy and Sanks were charged by criminal complaint on July 10, 2015, and Murphy was subsequently indicted by a federal grand jury on Aug. 19, 2015. Murphy faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 20 years in prison and a maximum penalty of life in prison when he is sentenced on Jan. 6, 2015. Sanks faces a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison when sentenced on Dec. 9, 2015. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; John S. Adams, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office; and Phillip Hardison, Chief of the Franklin Police Department, made the announcement after Murphy’s plea was accepted by U.S. District Judge Raymond A. Jackson. Assistant U.S. Attorneys William D. Muhr and V. Kathleen Dougherty are prosecuting the case.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case Nos. 2:15cr103 (Murphy) and 2:15cr115 (Sanks).

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