Arrest made in heroin, weapons trafficking investigation

Published 11:17 am Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Authorities from the Federal Bureau of Investigation last Thursday arrested Collie “Sonny Black” Rashad Sanks, 37, of Freeman in Brunswick County, on charges of distribution of 100 grams or more of heroin and distribution of heroin. Sanks’ was apprehended in Emporia the same day that another known member of the Red Stone Rydahs, Phillip “Philly” Murphy, was arrested in Southampton County on similar charges.



Since 2012, the FBI’s Safe Streets Peninsula Task Force has been investigating the street gang known as the Red Stone Rydahs, which reportedly distributes drugs and weapons in Franklin, Emporia, Smithfield and Southampton County. An unsealed criminal complaint and arrest warrant claims that Sanks is the head of the gang, and that he and Murphy control the criminal activity.

“While members of this organization are involved in multiple crimes, two of the key criminal activities of the RSR are narcotics trafficking/distribution and firearms trafficking,” the warrant reads.

The documents show that during the investigation, undercover agents and various cooperating individuals recorded conversations with and purchased drugs from Sanks and Murphy.

During the initial stages of the investigation, from July through October 2013, a confidential source made a series of small purchases of heroin from Murphy or his associates. This is outlined in the article “Fugitive arraigned on drug and weapons charges.”

In December of that year, a convicted felon turn confidential source met with Sanks in Chesapeake and purchased two firearms and a ballistic vest for $4,200. Later that month, the source met with Sanks and an associate at Murphy’s residence on Morton Street in Franklin to discuss business.

The warrant said that “they discussed the fact that Sanks’ uncle, who lived in New York, was being supplied illegal narcotics by Dominican suppliers. They wanted to ask Sanks’ uncle to obtain large quantities of heroin from the Dominican supplier, and then Sanks could deal directly with his uncle instead of having to go through the uncle to deal with the Dominican supplier.”

The confidential source met again with Sanks in January 2014 at the source’s home in Emporia to discuss business and criminal activity in which Sanks was involved. The confidential source recorded Sanks’ stating that he shot a rival narcotics distributor in Franklin and disposed of the firearm by giving it to another gang member.

More recently, in early April 2015, an undercover Virginia State Police Officer met with Sanks at Dorchester Square Apartments in Franklin and purchased a plastic baggie containing seven grams of heroin for the agreed upon price of $1,050.

Later than month, the same undercover officer made arrangements to purchase one ounce of heroin for the agreed upon price of $3,360. The two met again at Dorchester Square Apartments and the exchanged occurred.

Sanks and the undercover officer met again on May 8 in the Franklin Walmart parking lot, where Sanks said that he would travel to New York to purchase two ounces of heroin in exchange for $4,270. The two met just three days later to complete the transaction.

Once again, at the direction of investigators from the Safe Streets Peninsula Task Force, the undercover officer met with Sanks in late May to purchase four ounces of heroin. Sanks, with $8,340 in-hand, said he would travel to New York to purchase the heroin for the undercover officer. The pair met two days later at the Solar Car Wash in Franklin and drove to Love’s Truck Stop, where Sanks gave the undercover officer a baggie of heroin.

All four transactions occurring in 2015 were recorded via multiple concealed audio and video devices.

Sanks will be in Norfolk Federal Court for a detention hearing today, July 21, at 3:30 p.m.