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Employee of D.C. regulatory agency accused of selling heroin and fentanyl outside his office

An employee with the District government’s regulatory agency is accused of selling heroin and fentanyl just outside his office.

Prosecutors say Darrell Pope, a staffer at the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) in the District, would meet drug customers outside the building, according to prosecutors in federal court in Alexandria.

While Pope, 51, lives in Clinton, Md., and works in the District, he was involved with drug dealers based in Woodbridge, Va., according to the government. Federal agents executed a search warrant Tuesday at the DCRA headquarters. They detained Pope outside the office and searched him, finding 30 grams of what appeared to be fentanyl. In a search of his home, they say, they found an ounce of fentanyl, three firearms and a scale.

Pope was a plans review coordinator at DCRA with a $72,907 salary and was hired in October 2016, according to city payroll records. His job involved being the initial reviewer for permits on development or construction projects, verifying whether applications were complete and guiding people through the application process.

Pope has been placed on administrative leave, D.C. officials said. His wife also works for the DCRA and has also been put on leave. She is named in a criminal complaint but is not accused of a crime.

D.C. resident Ronald Gorham, 61, is accused of supplying Pope with drugs, including once outside DCRA in Pope’s parked car. According to the FBI, Pope admitted Gorham was his regular supplier but denied Gorham gave him drugs outside the DCRA.

Both Pope and Gorham made their first appearances in court Wednesday afternoon and were detained until a hearing Friday. They have yet to be appointed attorneys. Family members of both defendants declined to comment on the case.

Police in Prince William County were tipped off by a confidential informant who was driving customers from Virginia to the District to buy heroin from Pope, according to the complaint. Police and the FBI then engaged in nine controlled buys of fentanyl or fentanyl and heroin from Pope, who would come out of his office to meet them.

The amount the undercover officers or informants bought from Pope totaled 87 grams, according to the court records; he was paid $8,700.

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