10/09/11 — Greene County dealer gets time for drugs

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Greene County dealer gets time for drugs

By Staff Reports
Published in News on October 9, 2011 1:50 AM

WILMINGTON -- Donnell Coppedge, the third of three brothers who had been charged with selling crack cocaine since the late 1990s in the Snow Hill area, was sentenced in federal court Wednesday to 198 months in prison followed by five years of probation.

According to the U.S. Attorney's office, Coppedge and his brothers, Donald Junior Coppedge and Aaron Coppedge, had sold drugs from at least five different locations, including their mother's trailer, while using at least three "runners" to help distribute the cocaine.

Two of the controlled buys made by undercover agents during the investigation occurred across the street from an elementary school in Snow Hill.

The brothers were found guilty following two separate trials.

On July 9, 2009, a federal grand jury returned a criminal indictment charging Donnell Coppedge and Donald Coppedge. On Feb. 18, 2010, a federal jury found Donnell Coppedge, 32, guilty of aiding and abetting the possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of cocaine base (crack).

That same day Donald Junior Coppedge, 33, was found guilty of distribution of a quantity of cocaine base (crack) and possession with the intent to distribute a quantity of cocaine base (crack).

Evidence during the trial showed that the brothers had been selling crack cocaine on a regular basis since the late 1990s in the Snow Hill area.

One witness testified that Donnell Coppedge sold him 2.5 ounces of crack and powder cocaine every week for 10 months in 2007.

A second witness testified Donnell Coppedge supplied him with about nine ounces of cocaine a week for eight months during 2006.

This witness also testified that he began supplying Donnell Coppedge with cocaine in December 2007, and that from that time until February 2008, he sold Donnell Coppedge 7.25 kilograms of cocaine.

A third witness testified that he sold Donald Coppedge two ounces of crack every two weeks from 2003 to 2005 and that from 2004 to 2006 he and Donnell Coppedge would supply each other with cocaine when their regular suppliers were out.

During the course of the investigation, numerous controlled buys were executed in which Aaron Coppedge and Donald Coppedge sold the drug.

On April 25, 2008, lawmen witnessed the passenger in a car being driven by Donnell Coppedge throw a paper towel out the window upon realizing a police check point was ahead. The deputies recovered the paper towel and found 73 grams of crack in it.

Donnell Coppedge and the car's passenger were arrested. It was determined that Donnell Coppedge asked the passenger to ride with him and when they saw the check point, Donnell Coppedge gave the passenger the crack and told him to toss it.

On Feb. 5, 2010, a federal jury found Aaron Coppedge guilty of all six counts charged in the indictment. He was sentenced on May 13, 2010, to life imprisonment.

Donald Coppedge was sentenced on July 8, 2010, to 20 years in prison followed by six years of supervised release.