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Eight Las Vegas residents arrested for drug trafficking and firearm related offenses

Deceased 1-month-old Ohio infant had cocaine and methadone in system, coroner said
Posted at 11:08 AM, Aug 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-12 14:08:10-04

Eight defendants, who are all Las Vegas residents indicted on June 30, 2020, have been arrested in connection with firearms and drug trafficking (in addition to other firearms offenses) as part of “Operation Nora,” announced U.S. Attorney Nicholas A. Trutanich for the District of Nevada, Special Agent in Charge Patrick Gorman of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and Sheriff Joseph Lombardo of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD).

“Operation Nora exemplifies the kind of impactful multi-defendant prosecutions that play a critical role in our office’s strategy to reduce violent crime in our communities,” said U.S. Attorney Trutanich. “We appreciate the opportunity to work with ATF and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department to take drugs, ammo, and over two dozen guns off the streets through one investigation.”

“ATF is on the frontline in the fight against violent crime, particularly through the disruption and dismantling of firearms trafficking operations which are a large source and supply of crime guns to offenders,” said Special Agent in Charge Gorman. “Throughout Operation Nora, ATF worked side by side with our partners to fulfill ATF’s mission of protecting the public by investigating the criminal misuse and trafficking of firearms in Las Vegas. The trafficking of firearms to violent criminals, gangs and drug trafficking organizations presents a grave threat to public safety, and ATF remains dedicated to making this city a safer place.”

“This is a major win for law enforcement,” said Sheriff Joe Lombardo. “Metro will continue working hard to stop criminals from bringing drugs and violence into our neighborhoods. Because of multi-agency partnerships like this one, we are making it harder for violent criminals to do business.”

Operation Nora is a joint investigation by the ATF and the LVMPD, focusing on the Sherwood Forest and Naked City areas in Las Vegas. During the operation, ATF seized 30 guns, ammunition, over 50 grams of heroin, 117 grams of methamphetamine, 492 grams of cocaine, and 446 grams of crack cocaine.

According to the allegations in the indictments, the defendants sold a total of nearly 2.5 pounds of heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine, and crack cocaine. They also sold firearms without a license. Further, four of the defendants — Alexander Fitwi, Durrell Melchor, Prentice Moreland, and Antione Thomas — unlawfully possessed firearms, including numerous semi-automatic handguns and rifles, despite prior felony convictions that prohibited them from owning or possessing guns.

Below is a list of the arrested defendants and the criminal charges they face:

Alexander Fitwi, 32, of Las Vegas, is charged with two counts of felon in possession of a firearm. As a result, Fitwi faces an aggregate statutory maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment and a fine of not more than $500,000.

· Durrell Melchor, 33, of Nevada, is charged with one count of dealing in firearms without a license, two counts of felon in possession of a firearm, one count of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance, and one count of distribution of a controlled substance. As a result, Melchor faces an aggregate statutory maximum penalty of 45 years imprisonment and a fine of not more than $1,750,000.

· Prentice Moreland, 55, of Las Vegas, is charged with two counts of distribution of a controlled substance-cocaine, four counts of distribution of a controlled substance-cocaine base, and one count of felon in possession of a firearm. As a result, Moreland faces an aggregate statutory maximum penalty of 210 years imprisonment and a fine of not more than $22,250,000.

· Ozzie Morrison, 33, of Las Vegas, is charged with one count of dealing in firearms without a license and two counts of distribution of a controlled substance-cocaine. As a result, Morrison faces a statutory maximum penalty of 45 years imprisonment and a fine of not more than $2,250,000.

· Antione Thomas, 47, of Las Vegas, is charged with one count of dealing in firearms without a license, four counts of felon in possession of a firearm, and one count of distribution of a controlled substance-crack cocaine. As a result, Thomas faces an aggregate statutory maximum penalty of 85 years imprisonment and a fine of not more than $6,250,000, with an aggregate statutory minimum penalty of five years imprisonment.

· Jose Wade, 37, of North Las Vegas, is charged with three counts of distribution of a controlled substance-cocaine. As a result, Wade faces an aggregate statutory maximum penalty of 60 years imprisonment and a fine of not more than $3,000,000.

· Brenton Williams, 38, of Nevada, is charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance and one count of distribution of a controlled substance-cocaine. As a result, Williams faces an aggregate statutory maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment and a fine of not more than $1,000,000.

· Jessica Williams 28, of Las Vegas, is charged with one count of distribution of a controlled substance-methamphetamine and three counts of distribution of a controlled substance-crack cocaine. As a result, Williams faces an aggregate statutory maximum penalty of life imprisonment and a fine of not more than $17,000,000, with an aggregate statutory minimum penalty of 15 years imprisonment.

The minimum and maximum statutory sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only. The sentencing of a defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed. Every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

This case is the product of an investigation by the ATF and LVMPD. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Allison Reese, Brett Ruff, and Melanee Smith are prosecuting the cases.