An alleged gang leader in the Twin Counties has been indicted by a federal grand jury for involvement in a narcotics distribution ring and for fraud related to federal unemployment benefits.
A federal grand jury in Greenville returned an indictment Tuesday charging Tyrone Foreman, also known as “Ty Nitty,” and two other Rocky Mount residents with several drug distribution and fraud charges. A Wendell woman also was indicted for her part in the fraud activities.
Foreman, 33, is alleged to be the leader of a set of the United Blood Nation that operates a heroin and fentanyl distribution ring in Nash and Edgecombe counties, according to a news release issued Wednesday by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina.
Over the past three years, local, state and federal authorities have conducted an extensive investigation into Foreman’s organization, including the importation and distribution of various narcotics and several gang-related shootings in Rocky Mount, the statement said.
“The level of law enforcement cooperation to investigate the crimes committed by this violent organization was incredible,” Nash County Sheriff Keith Stone said. “This case is yet another example of law enforcement partners working together to effectively dismantle criminal organizations which threaten the citizens of Nash and Edgecombe counties.”
According to the complaint, which was filed in June, investigators identified a New York City man supplying Foreman with heroin and fentanyl mixtures for distribution in Rocky Mount. After investigators discovered the man bringing large quantities of heroin and fentanyl mixtures to Foreman, they tracked Foreman traveling to New York City to pick up another heroin and fentanyl mixture supply, the news release said.
On December 11, 2020, during Foreman’s return trip to Rocky Mount, Maryland authorities stopped Foreman while he was driving for failure to wear a seat belt. Authorities found more than 3,500 bags of a heroin and fentanyl mixture inside the car.
The indictment charges Foreman and Vernisha Marie Suggs, 34, of Rocky Mount, with narcotics-related violations.
The indictment also alleges that Foreman and two others conspired to commit wire and mail fraud related to federal unemployment benefits created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the indictment, Foreman, Undia Fenne Sharpe, 39, of Rocky Mount, and Minnie Marie Edwards, 36, of Wendell, fraudulently filed claims for unemployment benefits using the information of inmates in federal and state prisons. After filing the fraudulent claims, the co-conspirators distributed the unemployment benefits among themselves and other co-conspirators, the statement said.
Foreman is charged with one count of conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 1,000 grams or more of heroin, 400 grams or more of fentanyl and a quantity of marijuana; one count of possessing with intent to distribute heroin and fentanyl; one count of possessing with intent to distribute heroin and marijuana; and one count of conspiring to commit mail and wire fraud.
If convicted, Foreman faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison and a maximum of life in prison.
Suggs is charged with one count of conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute heroin and one count of possessing with intent to distribute a quantity of heroin. If convicted, Suggs faces a maximum of 40 years in prison.
Edwards is charged with one count of possessing with intent to distribute a quantity of cocaine base (crack) and one count of conspiring to commit mail and wire fraud. If convicted, Edwards faces a maximum of 40 years in prison.
Sharpe is charged with one count of conspiring to commit mail and wire fraud. If convicted, Sharpe faces a maximum of 20 years in prison.
The investigation and indictment announced Wednesday by G. Norman Acker III, acting U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, are the result of a coordinated effort by the Nash County Sheriff’s Office, Rocky Mount Police Department, Edgecombe County Sheriff’s Office, Nashville Police Department, Halifax County Sheriff’s Office, federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, federal Drug Enforcement Administration, state Department of Commerce’s Division of Employment Security and the Office of the 8th Prosecutorial District of North Carolina.
Foreman has long been known to law enforcement agencies in the Twin Counties. He has been convicted of several misdemeanor counts as far back as 2007 and is listed as an absconder from probation on the state Department of Corrections website.
In October 2019, Foreman was arrested and charged by the Nash County Sheriff’s Office after a traffic stop in rural Nash County resulted in the discovery of 40 bricks of narcotics aboard the vehicle in which he was traveling.
Foreman, who was 31 at the time of that arrest, was charged with an accomplice with one count each of trafficking in heroin and one count each of maintaining a vehicle, dwelling or place for the purposes of a controlled substance.
The Nash County Sheriff’s Office said that arrest was a collaboration between Nash County deputies, the Edgecombe County Sheriff’s Office and the regional task force that was established in 2016.
The disposition of that case is unknown.