HOLLIDAYSBURG - The organization accused of transporting large amounts of cocaine from Baltimore to Altoona was formed by one of the group's suspects so his drug business could continue while he was serving a prison term, the prosecutor in the Operation Last Call drug cases said.
Damion "Benny" Floyd, 33, of Baltimore was sentenced in 2011 to four to eight years in state prison after troopers making a Bedford County traffic stop found a large amount of cocaine in Floyd's vehicle.
In an unusual move, Senior Deputy Attorney General Dave Gorman has asked for court approval to tell a Blair County jury in Floyd's upcoming trial about the 2011 incident.
Judges typically bar the use of a defendant's past criminal history so that it won't prejudice the jury. Gorman is arguing that the jury should be told about the Bedford case because it provides a motive and understanding as to why a drug organization was created by Floyd.
No hearing date had been scheduled on Gorman's request.
It was just more than a year ago the Blair County Drug Task Force, Altoona and state police arrested 14 alleged members of the drug organization.
Gorman's filing this week for the first time clarifies the roles that each person in the organization played and names Floyd as the person behind the group.
The organization was put in place so that Floyd's girlfriend, Natasha Qiana Miller, 31, of Altoona would be financially secure and Floyd would have money when he eventually was paroled, Gorman contends.
Miller was sentenced a month ago to 16 to 32 years behind bars after she entered guilty pleas to assisting Floyd in his efforts to bring at least 18 kilograms of cocaine into the Altoona area.
Some members of the drug ring were designated to contact the source of the cocaine in Baltimore and pay for it, while others went to Baltimore to transport the drugs back to Altoona, Gorman said. The drugs were then processed for street sales at the Corner Bar & Grill in Altoona and distributed through many dealers.
Attempts to get comment from Blair County attorney Thomas Hooper, who represents Floyd, were unsuccessful. A gag order, issued by Blair County Judge Elizabeth Doyle, continues in the case.
Floyd's case is scheduled for a review Dec. 20, according to the Blair County Court Administrator's Office.
Mirror Staff Writer Phil Ray is at 946-7468.