NORFOLK, Va. – Over 150 law enforcement agents and officers executed a takedown on March 1, arresting dozens of individuals for their respective roles in selling drugs and guns in Norfolk. Today, the final federal Operation Riptide defendant pleaded guilty to firearm and drug charges, bringing the total number of convictions to 16 within four months of their arrest.
“Operation Riptide was a significant and expertly coordinated takedown of dangerous criminals here in Hampton Roads,” said Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “Public safety is our top priority, and through the combined efforts of our prosecutors and law enforcement partners we will continue to pursue and bring to justice those who seek to bring harm to this community. I want to thank our investigative partners for their extraordinary efforts on this case.”
“My top priority as Attorney General is to keep Virginians and their families safe, and Operation Riptide has been an important step in getting dangerous weapons and drugs out of Hampton Roads,” said Mark R. Herring, Attorney General of Virginia. “The cooperation and collaboration between our local, state, and federal partners shows that we all share the commitment to keeping our Commonwealth safe, and I am proud to be a part of the team that took these criminals off our streets.”
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) began Operation Riptide in the Fall of 2016, and in collaboration with the Norfolk Police Department, Virginia State Police, and prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Virginia Attorney General’s Office, identified more than 30 individuals throughout Hampton Roads who were illegally selling firearms, heroin, and/or other narcotics. Operation Riptide resulted in the recovery of over 50 firearms (including at least 3 assault rifles, 2 sawed off shotguns, and 47 hand guns, 18 of which had obliterated serial numbers or were stolen), over 170 grams of heroin, 65 grams of powder cocaine, 290 grams of crack cocaine, and a bullet proof vest.
Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Mark R. Herring, Attorney General of Virginia; Michael B. Boxler, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) Washington Field Division; and Larry D. Boone, Chief of Norfolk Police, made the announcement after U.S. Magistrate Judge Lawrence Leonard accepted the guilty plea of Michael Ovall Jackson, 34, of Norfolk, who is the 16th federal defendant.
This case was investigated by the ATF’s Norfolk Field Office, the Norfolk Police Department, and the Virginia State Police with the assistance of the Virginia Beach and Chesapeake Police Departments, the Norfolk and Chesapeake Sheriff’s Offices, and the Virginia National Guard. Attorneys from the Virginia Attorney General’s Major Crimes and Emerging Threats Unit, John F. Butler and James F. Entas, are prosecuting these cases with the assistance of Norfolk Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Catherine Paxson, and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Andrew C. Bosse, Kevin M. Comstock, Joseph E. DePadilla, Kevin Hudson, William B. Jackson, William D. Muhr, and Daniel T. Young.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case Nos. 2:17-cr-21, 22, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 31, 32, 34, 35, 36, 37, 54, 64.
Find more information regarding guilty pleas at oag.state.va.us.