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Head of drug trafficking operation in Nelson County found guilty, faces 14 years

Head of drug trafficking operation in Nelson County found guilty, faces 14 years

A Roanoke man at the head of a drug trafficking operation in Nelson County that involved 11 other individuals pleading guilty was convicted of drug charges in Nelson Circuit Court on June 30.

Peter Jelf Porter, 53, who also is known as Christopher Gause Delroy and Semour Maxwell, pleaded guilty to two felony counts of racketeering and one count of distributing more than 100 grams of methamphetamine in Nelson County from July 2017 until he was indicted in February 2019. A fourth charge was dropped because of the terms of the plea agreement.

Porter faces a minimum active sentence of 14 years’ incarceration.

The 11 other pleas include Porter’s son, Jafori Porter; Shawn Baker; D. Camm Ragland IV; Katina Wood; Jennifer Pearce; Michael Shawn Craig; William Sturm; Sandra Shifflett; Donny Sprouse Jr.; Josh Painter and William Wood, according to a news release from Nelson County Commonwealth’s Attorney Daniel Rutherford.

According to Rutherford, Porter trafficked more than 10 kilograms of meth into Nelson County from Roanoke. From there, he would sell the drug to three people: Painter, Ragland and Baker, who would then sell to those in the lower levels of the network.

Porter’s defense attorney, Chuck Felmlee, said in court the defense did not necessarily agree with the 10-kilogram figure presented by the commonwealth.

At the height of Porter’s operation, which Rutherford said began to take off around winter of 2018, Porter would traffic as much as one pound of meth into Nelson County every week.

Jafori Porter also assisted in meth distribution and collection of money at times. Jafori Porter is one of the 11 others involved in the distribution network who pleaded guilty before Peter Porter.

Peter Porter was arrested on outstanding indictments upon his arrival to Miami, Florida, from Jamaica, where he is originally from, in February 2019 with assistance from the U.S. Marshals, the release states.

The charges, the release states, stem from a lengthy investigation by the Jefferson Area Drug Enforcement Task Force and the office of the commonwealth’s attorney with assistance from the Nelson County Sheriff’s Office and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Felmlee expressed gratitude the commonwealth agreed to adjust Porter’s charges, but he said the minimum 14-year sentence still was harsh given Porter’s cooperation and the fact he has no previous criminal record.

Peter Porter’s guilty plea marks the third drug trafficking organization dismantled in Nelson County since Rutherford took office in November of 2016, the release states.

“I am grateful for the JADE [Task Force’s] outstanding work. They were able to break down an operation that trafficked a deadly drug into Nelson and surrounding counties,” Rutherford said in the release. “My office will continue to aggressively prosecute those who traffic and distribute drugs that come into Nelson County.”

Rutherford added he will continue to work with local agencies to provide resources to those facing drug addiction. Peter Porter currently is being held in the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail and is awaiting a pre-sentencing report. His sentencing will be in the fall of 2020, the release states.

Nick Cropper covers Nelson County. Reach him at (434) 385-5522.

Nick Cropper covers Nelson County. Reach him at (434) 385-5522.

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