BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA — A federal judge sentenced the leader of one of Birmingham’s largest heroin and cocaine trafficking rings to nearly 22 years in federal prison, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance, FBI agent Richard D. Schwein Jr., IRS Criminal Investigation agent Veronica Hyman-Pillot, and Jefferson County Sheriff Mike Hale.
U.S. District Judge Sharon L. Blackburn sentenced BILLY WILLIAMS JR., 41, to 262 months in prison for his role in leading one of Birmingham’s largest heroin and cocaine trafficking rings. Williams pleaded guilty in December 2013 to participating in the drug-trafficking conspiracy and to various other drug charges, including using a telephone to traffic drugs, and money laundering.
Williams and nine others were originally charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distributing heroin, cocaine, and other drugs in a 41-count May 2013 federal grand jury indictment. A superseding indictment in October 2013 removed one defendant and added two. In addition to being charged in the conspiracy, various defendants were also charged with distributing drugs and laundering money.
“The drug trafficking organization Billy Williams Jr., led was a significant contributor to our heroin epidemic,” Vance said. “This conviction of these 11 heroin traffickers is a great example of how cooperation between federal and local law enforcement can lead to dismantling significant drug-trafficking organizations that are killing our children.”
“Heroin is a highly dangerous and addictive drug being sold on our streets,” Vance said. “Law enforcement efforts must and will continue to focus heavily on suppressing the supply of this extremely dangerous drug and supporting the development of a community wide plan that tackles prevention and addiction treatment along with law enforcement.”
“The role of IRS Criminal Investigation in narcotics investigations is to follow the money and financially disrupt major drug trafficking organizations. This has been illustrated in the financial investigation and subsequent prosecution of Billy Williams Jr.,” stated IRS-CI agent Hyman-Pillot. “We will continue to work alongside our law enforcement partners to aggressively investigate individuals that engage in organized drug activity and money laundering offenses.”
The investigation focused on Williams, a large-scale heroin and cocaine distributor in west-end Birmingham, and his network of operators. For over a year, using a variety of sophisticated law enforcement techniques, the FBI gathered intelligence exposing Williams’ extensive drug trafficking operation.
The prosecution led to the forfeiture of large amounts of cash, three vehicles valued at over $200,000, and eight money judgments of $5 million were levied against the defendants.