ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — Officials announced Wednesday that Monta Jordan, a convicted “drug kingpin” who was arrested in 2017 after one of the largest fentanyl seizures in Virginia at the time, was sentenced at the U.S. District Court in Roanoke Tuesday to 240 months in federal prison.
According to a statement released by the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Wednesday, March 10, a jury convicted 45-year-old Jordan — also known as “Ghost” and “Tae” — of Roanoke in February 2020 for one count of conspiring to distribute heroin, fentanyl, methamphetamine, and cocaine; one count of possession with the intent to distribute fentanyl; one count of attempting to possess with the intent to distribute cocaine; one count of attempting to possess with the intent to distribute heroin; and possession of one or more firearms in furtherance of the overall drug conspiracy.
“Monta Jordan oversaw a significant drug distribution network that pumped various deadly narcotics into the Roanoke Valley, including fentanyl,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Daniel Bubar. “This significant sentence is the product of a lengthy investigation and trial, that could not have been accomplished without the collaboration between our many federal, state and local law enforcement partners, whose hard work brought Jordan to justice.”
“Fentanyl is responsible for killing thousands of people across our area,” Jarod Forget, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Washington Division, said on Wednesday. “With the help of federal, state, and local partners we are working hard on impactful cases such as this, to halt the distribution of these deadly drugs in our communities and throughout the country.”
The DOJ says the evidence at trial indicated Jordan was responsible for trafficking more than 54 kilograms of narcotics into the region as part of an extensive drug operation that started in summer 2016 at the latest and continued even after his arrest on federal charges in August 2017.
Jordan reportedly received deliveries of these narcotics around the Roanoke Valley, making cash payments up to $320,000 toward his purchases during scheduled meetings.
According to officials, during the February 2020 trial, witnesses explained Jordan trafficked large quantities of narcotics into the Roanoke-area by mail and through couriers, who were compensated in various ways for transporting narcotics by car from New York, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Ohio.
Meanwhile, the DOJ says additional evidence established Jordan received narcotics by mail at his associates’ residential addresses and mailed large quantities of cash to designated recipients in those states.
“For example, during the course of the investigation, the United States Postal Inspection Service intercepted two packages mailed by Jordan within the span of one week, containing collectively just under $100,000 in cash,” the department said in Wednesday’s statement. “In one instance, agents found a basketball in one of the contraband packages, wrapped in carbon paper and surrounded by miscellaneous chair cushions. The basketball itself had been cut and contained $49,950 in rubber-banded currency.”
Jurors also heard evidence about Jordan using at least one vehicle outfitted with concealed traps to transport narcotics into the Roanoke Valley.
On Aug. 5, 2017, officials say surveillance officers conducted a traffic stop near Harrisonburg for a burgundy Ford Fusion — dubbed the “Batmobile” by Jordan — that was heading from New York to Roanoke. During a search of that vehicle, specially trained interdiction officers with Virginia State Police found a secret compartment underneath the factory-installed carpet in the trunk, which contained approximately 4.5 pounds of fentanyl wrapped in smell-proof bags and covered in an oily masking agent meant to throw off K-9 drug dogs, according to the DOJ.
“This fentanyl seizure was the largest in Virginia at the time, recovered by investigators at a time when the region was plagued with an increase in drug overdoses attributable in part to the increasing use of fentanyl as a cutting agent in heroin transactions,” the department stated.
On Aug. 10, 2017, authorities recovered a package meant for Jordan — which contained approximately one pound each of packaged cocaine and heroin — and replaced the replaced the narcotics with fake drugs meant to match the appearance and weight of the seized contraband.
During the subsequent arrest operation later that day, officials say agents made a controlled delivery of the package, observed Jordan as he retrieved and emptied the box along Route 122 in Bedford County, and intercepted him near the intersection of Route 122 and Morgans Church Road.
In video footage of the ensuing police pursuit, Jordan could reportedly be seen throwing the sham drugs out the window of his vehicle and over a bridge, trying to dispose of what he believed were real narcotics. Shortly after the packages dropped into the creek below, the DOJ says he was taken into custody shortly and has remained incarcerated since that time.
Notwithstanding his arrest, witnesses indicated Jordan successfully smuggled at least one phone into his jail cell and used them to coordinate the delivery and distribution of narcotics from this local jail while his trial was pending, according to the DOJ.
The department says Amany Mohamed Raya, a known girlfriend and associate of Jordan’s, was convicted in January 2020 for trying to smuggle one of these phones to Jordan in the spine of a fake binder designed to look like confidential legal mail.
In a coordinated effort by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), the Roanoke City Sheriff’s Office, the United States Marshals Service (USMS), and the DEA, authorities say they caught Jordan with one of the contraband phones in his possession and intercepted Raya’s fake legal mail before it could be delivered to Jordan.
According to officials, the DEA, Virginia State Police, the Roanoke City and Roanoke County Police Departments, the Salem Police Department, the USPIS, and members of the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force (HIDTA) led the investigation into the case, receiving assistance and support from the ATF, the Air National Guard, the Department of Homeland Security, the USMS, the Roanoke Sheriff’s Office, and the Criminal Investigations Division of the DMV.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kari Munro and Anthony Giorno reportedly prosecuted the case.