Six Alexandria residents were convicted as a result of Operation Tin Panda, the U.S. Attorney of the Eastern District of Virginia announced Friday in a news release.
Operation Tin Panda, which began in spring 2017 and led to the takedown of 36 individuals on federal firearm and drug charges in December, led to the convictions of Mark Ketter, 39, Deion Wright, 25, Ezana Demisse, 25, Orean Anthony Hayden, 29, Bryan Matthews, 19, and Luthgardo Roque Arao, 47 have either been sentenced or face sentencing next month for multiple charges.
Ketter, charged with conspiracy to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin, faces a mandatory maximum of 40 years upon his sentencing on June 22. Wright, charged with possession of a firearm in the furtherance of a drug and trafficking crime, faces a mandatory minimum of five years and a maximum of life upon sentencing on June 22.
Demisse, charged with use and carry of a firearm during and in relation to drug trafficking, faces a mandatory minimum of five years and a maximum of life upon sentencing on June 15. Hayden and Matthews were both charged with use and carry of a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime and sentenced to 60 months in jail.
Arao, charged with conspiracy to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, was sentenced to 120 months in jail.
The operation, conducted by the FBI’s Washington Field Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms & Explosives, investigated Blood gangs and drug distributors involved in violent crimes and criminal activity in Northern Virginia. The operation uncovered criminal acts that were affiliated with gang and firearms distribution, including homicide, malicious wounding, robbery, shootings and drug and firearm distribution.
The investigation resulted in the apprehension of more than 40 people from Virginia, Maryland, D.C. and California. It also yielded the seizure of 95 firearms, $150,000 in cash, nine vehicles with a total value of $300,000, as well as three pounds of cocaine base, 10 pounds of cocaine, seven pounds of crystal methamphetamine, five pounds of heroin, four pounds of ecstasy, 227 pounds of marijuana and 79 pounds of THC.