A Roanoke man convicted on federal “drug kingpin” charges has been sentenced to 20 years in prison. Federal prosecutors say Monta Jordan was convicted last year of trafficking close to 120 pounds of heroin, fentanyl, methamphetamine and cocaine into the Roanoke region — and continuing to do so even after he was first arrested and jailed.

NEWS RELEASE: ROANOKE, Va. -Monta Jordan, a convicted drug kingpin who was subject to one of the largest fentanyl seizures in Virginia at the time, was sentenced yesterday in U.S. District Court in Roanoke to 240 months in federal prison, Acting United States Attorney Daniel P. Bubar; Jared Forgot, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Washington Division, and Col. Gary T. Settle, Superintendent of the Virginia State Police announced today.

In February 2020, a jury convicted Jordan, 45, a.k.a. “Ghost” and “Tae” of Roanoke, of 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 Bubar today.  “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,” Special Agent in Charge Forget said today. “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.”

Evidence at trial indicated that Jordan was responsible for trafficking more than 54 kilograms of narcotics into this region as part of an extensive drug operation that began no later than the summer of 2016 and extended even beyond his arrest on federal charges in August 2017.   Jordan received deliveries of these narcotics at various locations in the Roanoke Valley and made cash payments toward his purchases of as much as $320,000 during scheduled meetings.

During trial in February 2020, witnesses explained that Jordan trafficked large quantities of narcotics into the Roanoke-area through by mail and through couriers, who were compensated in various ways for their willingness to transport narcotics by car from places such as New York, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Ohio.  Further evidence established that Jordan received narcotics by mail at the residential addresses of his associates and, in turn, mailed large quantities of United States currency 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.  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 regarding Jordan’s methods of transporting narcotics into the Roanoke-area by one or more vehicles outfitted with concealed traps.  Among other vehicles, Jordan owned a burgundy Ford Fusion, which he identified in his own text messages as the “Batmobile.”  On August 5, 2017, surveillance officers conducted a traffic stop of a burgundy Ford Fusion dubbed by Jordan himself as the “Batmobile.” The car was in route from New York to Roanoke and stopped by law enforcement agents near Harrisonburg.  During a subsequent search of that vehicle, specially trained interdiction officers with the Virginia State Police discovered a secret compartment, or trap, underneath the factory-installed carpet in the trunk of the car.  They found approximately 4.5 pounds of fentanyl inside the trap, wrapped in smell-proof bags, and covered in an oily masking agent designed to defeat the scenting capabilities of K-9 drug dogs.  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 case against Jordan culminated in his arrest on August 10, 2017.  On that date, authorities recovered a package containing approximately one pound each of packaged cocaine and heroin, destined for Jordan.  They replaced the replaced the narcotics with sham, or fake, drugs designed to match the appearance and weight of the seized contraband.  During the subsequent arrest operation, agents made a controlled delivery of the package and observed Jordan as he retrieved and emptied the box along Highway 122 in Bedford County.

Jordan was intercepted near the intersection of Highway 122 and Morgans Church Road in Bedford County.  In video footage of the ensuing police pursuit, Jordan could be seen throwing the sham drugs out the window of his vehicle and over a bridge, attempting to dispose of what he believed were genuine narcotics in his possession.  He was taken into custody shortly after the sham packages entered the creek below and has remained incarcerated since that time.

Notwithstanding his arrest, witnesses indicated that Jordan successfully smuggled on or more phones into his cell at a local jail and used the phones to coordinate the delivery and distribution of narcotics from jail, while his case was pending trial. A known girlfriend and associate of Jordan’s, Amany Mohamed Raya, was convicted in January 2020 of attempting 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 United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), the Roanoke City Sheriff’s Department, the United States Marshals Service (USMS), and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), authorities caught Jordan in possession of one of the contraband phones and successfully intercepted Raya’s fake legal mail before it could be delivered to Jordan.

The investigation of this case  was led by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Virginia State Police, the Roanoke City and Roanoke County Police Departments, the Salem Police Department,  the United States Postal Inspection Service, and members of the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force (HIDTA), with invaluable assistance and support from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the Air National Guard, the Department of Homeland Security, the United States Marshals Service, the Salem Police Department, the Roanoke Sheriff’s Office, and the Criminal Investigations Division of the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Assistant United States Attorneys Kari Munro and Anthony Giorno prosecuted the case for the United States.