President Barack Obama has commuted the 30-year federal prison sentence of a New York man who arranged shipments of cocaine that was converted to crack cocaine and sold on the streets of Moss Point, Pascagoula and Jackson County as part of a major drug-trafficking organization dubbed "King Tola."
Exdonovan "X" Peak, 48, will be released July 28 under the order the president issued Wednesday. Peak has served 19 years and is being held at the medium-security federal prison in Butner, N.C.
Peak arranged the cocaine shipments from New York to Mississippi between April 1994 and January 1995.
He arranged for more than 4.5 kilos of cocaine to end up in the hands of Aston "King Tola" McGregor, the leader of the drug-trafficking organization in Moss Point, and others there. McGregor ran his drug operation primarily out of his business, New York Style Burger and Beef Patty, and King Tola's Men and Women Fashion Wear store on Main Street in Moss Point. According to federal agents at the time, McGregor and the others sold crack cocaine in Moss Point, Jackson County and the surrounding cities.
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An FBI Task Force in Pascagoula investigated the case at the time.
The Sun Herald was unable to reach Peak's family for comment Thursday.
In addition to getting out of prison, Obama vacated Peak's $12,000 fine in the case.
Peak was one of the few drug dealers connected to the "King Tola" drug-trafficking organization who did not accept a plea deal in the case. A federal jury convicted him on a charge of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute crack cocaine in federal court in Biloxi at the time. Former U.S. District Judge sentenced Peak on Feb. 13, 1997.
The U.S. Attorney's Office declined to comment on the president's decision Thursday.
Peak is one of 61 drug offenders who will be released early because of the president's order.
Obama has pushed for years for the reduction in stiff sentences for drug offenses some experts say result in harsh punishment and high incarceration rates.
Obama wrote letters to each of the offenders set for release, saying "people deserve a second chance after having made a mistake in their lives that led to the conviction under our law."