By WECT Staff | April 23, 2021 at 2:36 PM EDT – Updated April 23 at 2:36 PM
NEW BERN, N.C. (WECT) – A New Hanover County gang member is headed to prison after pleading guilty to federal heroin trafficking charges.
Qwanelle Ruffin, also known as “El Patron,” 28, was sentenced on Friday to 11 years in prison for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin; three counts of distribution of a quantity of heroin and aiding and abetting; seven counts of distribution of a quantity of Heroin; and possession with intent to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin and aiding and abetting.
According to court documents and evidence resented in court, Wilmington police served a search warrant at an apartment at River Front Place on June 28, 2019. Ruffin, Darion Graham, and a third, unidentified person, lived at the apartment.
During the search, Graham arrived at the apartment and took off after seeing police. He was eventually taken into custody.
The search revealed approximately 761 grams of heroin/fentanyl mixture, a quantity of bagged heroin and $16,281 in U.S. currency. Ruffin was arrested at a nearby bank.
The investigation uncovered that Ruffin had also been packaging and storing heroin for distribution at residences on Spring Street and 13th Street in Wilmington.
Between November 2018 and June 2019, the Wilmington Police Department assisted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation Gang Unit conducted numerous controlled purchases of heroin from Ruffin and people that he had deliver for him.
According to law enforcement, Ruffin was a validated gang member.
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