Wiretaps, surveillance led to alleged drug ring indictment

On Jan. 9, 2019, Anthony "Jak Mac" Whyte called his girlfriend from Florida and told her that his suitcase had gone missing.

"They losing my bag and all the bread is in the bag," said Whyte, 44, of New London, referencing the airline and, police believe, the cash he'd hidden in the suitcase to purchase narcotics in Florida.

Whyte, accused in a recent grand jury indictment of playing a central role in a southeastern Connecticut drug trafficking ring, spoke to his girlfriend the next day, expressing hope the cash remained inside the suitcase and saying "that (expletive) been around the world right now. All over the place." He sent her a text message the following day: "got my bag with everything in it god is god."

The exchanges were just a small sampling of what police captured through court-authorized wiretaps in a wide-ranging narcotics and money laundering investigation that led to indictments against 24 people, including two local restaurant owners.

Hundreds of wiretapped phone conversations, text messages and descriptions of surveillance by law enforcement are laid out in an affidavit in support of criminal complaints and arrest warrants, obtained by The Day on Thursday evening. The affidavit was filed by Justin Lawrie, a Drug Enforcement Administration task force officer assigned to the New London Police Department's Vice and Intelligence Section.

Lawrie painted a picture of probable cause that also included controlled purchases of narcotics and law enforcement's tracking of Whyte to New York and Florida either to obtain drugs or facilitate shipments.

The indictment accuses Whyte of obtaining heroin, fentanyl and cocaine from Connecticut and beyond and distributing them to others charged in connection with the trafficking ring, who then allegedly sold the drugs to customers and street-level drug dealers.

Police said they intercepted numerous communications providing evidence of "Whyte's distribution of redistribution quantities of narcotics to multiple individuals in the drug trafficking organization," Lawrie wrote.

Lawrie said many intercepted communications showed alleged ring members "referenced coded terminology" commonly used in the heroin, cocaine and crack cocaine trades, "as well as corresponding prices consistent with the quantities of these drugs referenced."

Many of the exchanges referenced "hard" and "soft" to indicate crack cocaine or powdered cocaine, "food," a common coded term for narcotics, "bread" to reference cash or "the F," meaning fentanyl.

The conspiracy to distribute narcotics allegedly occurred between March 2018 and February 2019.

Lawrie said law enforcement had already been investigating Royshawn "Boy Roy" Allgood, 29, of Norwich and New London, also charged in the indictments, since early 2018, as part of an investigation into a Bloods Street Gang affiliate based in New London.

Investigators started tapping multiple phones used by Allgood in November, and later started intercepting communications from multiple phones used by Whyte. The wiretaps — and their continued use as part of the investigation — were authorized multiple times between November 2018 and January 2019 by U.S. District Court Judge Michael P. Shea.

Police then developed cases for search warrants at almost a dozen residences and businesses in New London, Uncasville, Groton, Norwich and Ledyard.

The affidavit alleged that Amy Sarcia, owner of 2Wives Brick Oven Pizza on Huntington Street, and of No Anchor Fine Food & Provisions in Noank, used the pizza place to launder narcotics proceeds to Whyte and to distribute marijuana cartridges. The affidavit alleged Whyte lives, distributes and stashes narcotics in an apartment complex managed by Sarcia, 49, of Pawcatuck.

Multiple intercepted communications show Sarcia discussing paychecks she allegedly gave to Whyte, even though investigators had "no evidence that Whyte is legitimately employed by Sarcia or her business holdings," Lawrie wrote.

The indictment charged Sarcia and Whyte with money laundering; Sarcia is accused of accepting narcotics proceeds from Whyte, in return providing him with quarterly paychecks from 2Wives. She allegedly issued the paychecks from April 2017 to at least April 2018, and issued Whyte a W-2 tax form from her corporation EED LLC to disguise the money as employment wages.

Officials said last week they are not releasing the names of two defendants who are charged but still being sought by law enforcement.

U.S. Attorney John H. Durham stressed that an indictment is not evidence of guilt, and each defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

The investigation was led by the DEA, Connecticut Statewide Narcotics Task Force and Connecticut Department of Correction, along with the police departments of New London, Waterford, Stonington and Groton City. The prosecutors are Assistant U.S. Attorneys Natasha M. Freismuth and S. Dave Vatti.

b.kail@theday.com

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