Norfolk man gets 15 years in prison for trafficking heroin while armed

Vernon Lewis Petway

NORFOLK, Va., (WAVY) —  A Norfolk man was sentenced in district court on Thursday to 15 years in prison for trafficking heroin while armed.

According to court documents, Vernon Lewis Petway, 39, was caught in possession of approximately 97 grams of heroin and a gun after transporting the heroin by bus from New York City to Norfolk.

At the time of his arrest, Petway was on supervision for a previous federal drug and gun conviction.  Federal law  prohibits a convicted felon from carrying firearms.

This case is part of Operation Sand Dragon, a joint operation run by the Norfolk Police Department with assistance from the DEA, ATF, Homeland Security Investigations and the Chesapeake Police Department. 

After an 8 month long investigation, law enforcement arrested 44 suspects for distributing drugs. Twelve of the suspects were involved in gang activity, which was a major focus of the investigation.

During the investigation, law enforcement recovered roughly 11 ounces of heroin, 3 pounds of cocaine, 3 pounds of marijuana, 24 ecstasy pills, and 9 grams of methamphetamine.  The total street value of the drugs was over $190,000. Law enforcement also recovered 12 firearms and over $85,000 in cash.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make neighborhoods safer for everyone. 

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