A Cumberland County man who prosecutors said ran a drug operation from a home daycare and other locations has been sentenced to 40 years in federal prison, the U.S attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina said during a news conference Friday in Fayetteville.
Authorities said Reshod Everett, 36, led a heavily armed drug trafficking operation out of a daycare center on Ronald Reagan Drive in Fayetteville along with other locations, including an Addison Ridge apartment and a storage facility.
Drugs, multiple firearms and cash were seized from the state-licensed daycare center, Tori’s Playhouse, where children were present during the day.
“There was a deadly and potentially dangerous mix of drugs, guns and cash in the same house where children were cared for,’’ U.S. Attorney Mike Easley said. “This drug trafficker put countless lives at risk with his operation.”
Easley said the investigation began in 2018 when a gang unit of the Fayetteville Police Department was tipped to a network that was allegedly trafficking hundreds of pounds of marijuana.
“As the investigation would reveal, this case went far beyond marijuana,’’ Easley said. “Everett was a serious supplier of drugs in the Fayetteville area.”
Everett, his partner Alvin Davis and his wife, Victoria Everett, were arrested in 2018 after police found more than 100 pounds of marijuana, 346 grams of cocaine, nine firearms, drug packaging items and over $70,000 in their personal vehicles, the apartment, the storage facility and the in-home daycare, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. Victoria Everett was the owner and operator of Tori’s Playhouse.
Guns found at the daycare included handguns and loaded high-powered rifles. One of the guns had its safety set to the fire position, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
“Just a small amount of pressure on that trigger would have caused that gun to fire in the same house that parents trusted as a daycare to look after their children,” Easley said.
Easley said that as the investigation continued, the U.S. Attorney’s Office — in partnership with the Fayetteville Police Department, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the IRS — gathered evidence and built cases against other defendants whom Everett supplied with drugs in order to obtain cooperation.
Witness testimony established that large quantities of drugs were being trafficked, including more than 56 kilos of cocaine and more than 17 kilos of marijuana dating back to 2016. Law enforcement searched cell phone records to determine locations and drug trafficking activities.
Easley said they also conducted a tax and financial investigation showing that Everett lied about his income.
“Everett lived a lavish lifestyle,’’ said Easley, who added that Everett did not report income for 2018. “He had a 3,000-square-foot house, three late-model vehicles, he took his family on vacations in California and the Caribbean. But his reported income for 2017 was negative $29,544.”
“His lavish lifestyle was not earned, it was bought and paid for by the young men he roped into his drug trafficking conspiracy and by the ill he forced upon the Fayetteville community.”
Easley said that while state charges were pending, Everett used social media and the news media to attack the Fayetteville Police Department and the Cumberland County District Attorney’s Office claiming that he was framed by police and that evidence was planted. These claims were internally investigated and proved to be false, Easley said.
He also said Everett tried to bribe and threaten witnesses and took to social media to present a deceitful campaign against law enforcement.
“I want to commend the Fayetteville Police Department and Chief Gina Hawkins and her leadership and their work to disrupt and dismantle drug traffickers in Cumberland County,’’ Easley said. “Those who bring poison and violence to our communities. Even in the face of false accusations and character attacks, your officers remained committed.”
Hawkins said perseverance is the word of the day.
“It has been a long time for our officers, our agency and our community to find out the truth,’’ Hawkins said. “We are ecstatic to get these guns off the street. Those drugs out of our community. And to show you we are in it for the long game.’’
ATF Special Agent in Charge Brian Mims said his agency worked closely with the Police Department and the U.S. Attorney’s Office to bring the case to a close.
“The threat that this subject posed to the community cannot be understated,’’ Mims said. “Large quantities of drugs and firearms, which were loaded and ready to be fired, were found inside a business that served parents and children. This was a tragedy waiting to happen.”
Mims said the partnership between agencies was instrumental in the criminal convictions.
In May, a jury found Everett guilty of six felony drug trafficking and firearm-related offenses. Along with the 40-year prison sentence, Everett was also ordered to pay $4 million of proceeds from his illegal operation.
His partner, Davis, was previously sentenced to 11 years in federal prison. Victoria Everett was not charged in federal court, authorities said.
Jami McLaughlin covers Spring Lake for CityView TODAY. She can be reached at email@example.com. Have a news tip? Email news@CityViewTODAY.com.