South Alabama kingpin’s $24 million drug empire crumbles following plea deal

Crime

MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — The leader of a $24 million drug operation is off the streets of Mobile in a plea deal that could land him in prison for decades.

This week, Darrin Southall pleaded guilty to continuing a criminal enterprise, possession with intent to distribute cocaine, and conspiracy to launder drug proceeds. With this plea, Southall admitted to taking in $24 million in his drug operation, which prosecutors say spanned from Mobile to Mississippi and Texas. The operation included up to 4,000 kilograms of cocaine and 24 kilograms of heroin being sold on the street.

Southall, 43, has a long criminal history dating back to the 1990s. Federal prosecutors labeled him a ringleader in a multi-state, multi-million-dollar drug organization since at least 2016.

Police say putting someone like Southall away is big news for the city.

“It’s a great day in the city of Mobile to be able to have someone of this magnitude taken off the streets and taken out of the drug trade,” said Lawrence Battiste, public safety director for Mobile.

Mobile police believe Southall’s arrest will make an impact.

“Sometimes when you take out a major head of any organization, there are people that are vying for positions to maybe take over the area or role that particular person served in. But I do think it will have a short-term impact on the disruption. In particular, his criminal organization that he had in place,” Battiste said. “Our hope and desire is that not only do we cripple him and what he’s been able to do, but maybe cripple others who may be looking to come up and fill the void that has been created by him.”

Southall was also named as a person of interest in a double homicide earlier this year. The grandparents of local rapper HoneyKomb Brazy were found dead in their home after it caught fire in February. No one has been arrested in connection with those deaths.

Southall faces anywhere from 30-35 years behind bars for his crimes. His sentencing is set for Feb. 18.

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