DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Eastern District of Virginia

For Immediate Release

Friday, October 19, 2018
G. Zachary Terwilliger
, United States Attorney
Contact: Joshua Stueve

Leader of Local Bloods Gang Sentenced to Prison for Drug and Gun Crimes

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A Triangle man was sentenced today to 20 years in prison for conspiring to distribute cocaine, heroin, and using and carrying a firearm while drug trafficking.

According to court documents, Tarvell Vandiver, 29, has been a member of the Imperial Gangsta Blood (IGB) gang for years. IGB is a “hood” of the national gang, United Blood Nation. During the course of the conspiracy, Vandiver served as the IGB superior in this region. In his role as the regional leader of IGB, Vandiver coordinated with leadership in multiple states, oversaw the IGB in the region, called for regional and local meetings, and acted as the disciplinary officer. He also provided guidance to other gang members on how to distribute controlled substances and arranged for gang members to illegally purchase firearms.

During his time as the regional leader for IGB, Vandiver regularly distributed cocaine base and cocaine to gang members, other drug distributors, and users while armed or while having access to firearms. These firearms were used and carried in furtherance of his drug trafficking activities. Vandiver was recently convicted in D.C. Superior Court for his role in conspiring to commit murder in Washington, DC.

Vandiver was arrested in December 2017, when over 300 law enforcement agents and officers executed a coordinated takedown as part of Operation Tin Panda. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) Washington Field Division and the FBI’s Washington Field Office Safe Streets Task Force began Operation Tin Panda in the spring of 2017. In collaboration with federal and local law enforcement, investigators and prosecutors began jointly investigating Blood gangs and other drug distributors involved in violent crime and other criminal activity in northern Virginia. Multiple criminal acts were tied to gang and drug activity, including homicide, malicious wounding, robbery, shootings, and drug and firearms distribution. During the course of this investigation, more than 40 individuals throughout Virginia, Maryland, the District of Columbia, and California, who were illegally selling firearms and controlled substances or were involved in other criminal acts, were arrested on federal firearms and drug charges.

Operation Tin Panda also resulted in the seizure of over 95 firearms, $150,000 in cash, nine vehicles with an estimated value of over $300,000, and approximately 3 pounds of cocaine base, 10 pounds of cocaine, 7 pounds of crystal methamphetamine, 5 pounds of heroin, 4 pounds of ecstasy, 227 pounds of marijuana, and 79 pounds of THC.

Operation Tin Panda was led by the ATF’s Washington Field Division and the FBI’s Washington Field Office Safe Streets Task Force. The DEA, U.S. Marshals Service, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Prince William County Police Department, Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office, Fairfax County Police Department, Alexandria Police Department, Stafford County Sherriff’s Office, Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s Office, King George County Sheriff’s Office, Caroline County Sheriff’s Office, Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office, Prince George’s County, Maryland Police Department, and the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department, provided significant assistance during the operation.

Operation Tin Panda was investigated as part of the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF). The OCDETF program is a federal multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional task force that supplies supplemental federal funding to federal and state agencies involved in the identification, investigation, and prosecution of major drug trafficking organizations. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking, and money laundering organizations, and those primarily responsible for the nation’s illegal drug supply.

G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Thomas L. Chittum, III, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) Washington Field Division, and Nancy McNamara, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Liam O’Grady. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Carina A. Cuellar and Colleen E. García prosecuted the case.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information is located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:18-cr-16.

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Field Division: Washington Field Division