Only Channel 2 Action News was in court Friday when the prime suspect in a record heroin bust pleaded not guilty.
An assistant U.S. attorney told Channel 2 investigative reporter Mark Winne that he expects another indictment in this case with more suspects and more charges.
“We’re not done. He was the biggest target, we took off a couple of targets, he was the biggest one. We have some other people that we’re going to be rounding up,” DEA agent Robert Murphy said.
“We entered a not guilty plea today and we will assess the case as we go forward,” attorney Dwight Thomas said.
Thomas and attorney Bianca Calloway said their client, Antonio Deshawn Daniels, is a high-end used car dealer, and that a government document says Daniels’ listed annual income is $120,000 a year.
The DEA-Atlanta Agent in Charge said Daniels is a drug dealer of epic proportions, behind a Georgia record seizure of roughly 170 kilos of heroin from two locations, and he was arrested near a stash of cash totaling almost $2.2 million.
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“Was he the biggest heroin supplier in The Bluff, the most notorious heroin trap in the south?” Winne asked Murphy.
“Absolutely. He was the largest supplier of heroin in The Bluff. He ran it, he completely controlled it,” Murphy said. “He had the connection to the Mexican cartels. There’s nothing circumstantial about this.”
Thomas told Winne that everything he’s heard from the government against Daniels so far is highly circumstantial.
“Is he connected to a cartel based in Mexico?” Winne asked Thomas.
“He stands by his not guilty plea. Not guilty means not guilty,” Thomas said.
“You argued that he should get a $100,000 bail?” Winne asked Thomas.
“I argued that in good faith that he should get $100,000 bail and I still believe that he should get a $100,000 bail. He was not granted a $100,000 bail, but we’re considering an appeal to the district court,” Thomas said.
“The judge rightfully decided that this individual is a danger to the community and that he should be detained until he has his day in court,” Murphy said. “the addiction of heroin is a disgusting addiction. It’s a terrible addiction. It destroys people.”
“You brought up the relationship between law enforcement and people of color today?” Winne asked Thomas.
“Because it is something that we’ve got to face in this country how law enforcement, how the criminal justice system impacts people of color,” Thomas said.
“Did his ethnicity have a connection?” Winne asked Murphy.
“Never came into play in this investigation,” Murphy said,
Murphy said the investigation started with a $7 million cash seizure in Mexico that led to a phone number that led to Daniels. The DEA told Winne they initially didn’t know what Daniels looked like.
The Assistant U.S. Attorney told Winne that authorities are waiting on lab reports to find out what some of the seized heroin was cut with, and whether that includes the deadly chemical fentanyl.
Cox Media Group