Three sentenced for heroin dealing in Warren County

HARRISONBURG – Three men were sentenced to prison on Tuesday in U.S. District Court for their roles in a long running conspiracy involving the distribution of heroin in Warren County and elsewhere.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Donald Wolthuis said the defendants – William S. Bonds Jr., 31, of Newark, New Jersey; Andre Donnell Keyes, 31, of Martinsburg, West Virginia; and John Earl Morant Jr., of Pennsylvania – sold an estimated 834 grams of heroin, the equivalent of almost two pounds, from August 2013 until December 2014.

Wolthuis said in a sentencing memorandum that the 834 grams “represents an estimated 27,522 doses of heroin.”

Wolthuis said the majority of the heroin was sold in Warren County. The investigation began with the Front Royal and Warren County team of the Northwest Virginia Regional Drug Task Force making undercover purchases of small amounts of heroin that were later found to have been received from an out of state source.

“The government’s view is that there was a clear pecking order with Mr. Bonds at the top,” Wolthuis told Judge Michael F. Urbanski. Wolthuis added that Keyes was the “middleman” in the conspiracy and Morant played the smallest role.

Urbanski sentenced Bonds to five years and four months in prison. Keyes was sentenced to four years and Morant to 2 ½ years, although Wolthuis estimated that time already served for the current offenses and earlier offenses in Pennsylavania would leave Morant with a balance of about 1 ½ years to serve.

Urbanski said he was especially troubled that law enforcement officials connected guns with Morant and Keyes.

Authorities say Keyes was the subject of a separate marijuana investigation when law enforcement officials visited his home in Winchester in late 2013.

Wolthuis wrote in his sentencing memorandum: “The event on Oct. 9, 2013, when Keyes came to the door when the investigators knocked, is also when Keyes came to the door with a loaded revolver with the hammer cocked. Certainly, Keyes’s willingness to actively employ firearms heightens the danger and increases the risk that Keyes poses to public safety.”

Keyes’s attorney, Andrea Harris, said her client did not realize the three individuals who came to his residence were law enforcement officials until he opened the door.

Morant was arrested in November 2013 while traveling down a highway in Pennsylvania with $8,000 and a gun in his vehicle, Wolthuis said.

Urbanski warned Morant and Keyes that their prior records of drug offenses made both of them subject to automatic life imprisonment if they were convicted of committing additional drug offenses after their releases from prison.

“This is what you, Andre Donnell Keyes, are looking straight in the eyes unless you change your ways,” Urbanski said.

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com