More than five years after he was mistakenly released from the Forsyth County Jail, a Winston-Salem man was convicted for his role in the drug-trafficking organization known as the Detroit Boys.

Terrance Douglas Poindexter, 33, of the 500 block of Hemingway Street, pleaded guilty to one count of attempted trafficking of heroin in Forsyth Superior Court on June 14.

Judge Stanley Allen of Forsyth Superior Court sentenced Poindexter to a minimum of two years and one month to a maximum of three years and six months in prison. Assistant District Attorney Elisabeth Dresel voluntarily dismissed three charges — conspiracy to traffick in heroin and two counts of trafficking in heroin — as part of a plea arrangement.

Winston-Salem police arrested Poindexter as part of an investigation into the Detroit Boys, the name coming from police alleging that the drug-trafficking organization transported heroin between Detroit and Winston-Salem.

Poindexter was one of five men who were arrested in October 2013. The investigation began in 2012 and involved wiretapping, surveillance and putting a GPS tracking device on a rental car.

Dresel said Rudolph Coles Jr., drove to Detroit in a rental car. Dresel said Poindexter was in the passenger side, and Winston-Salem police seized more 300 grams of heroin from the car.

Arrest warrants alleged that Poindexter conspired with Rudolph Coles Jr., Terrance Douglas Coles Sr. and Dante Coles in an effort to traffick at least 28 grams of heroin. During Rudolph Coles’ trial in April 2017, Sgt. Jason Collins of the Winston-Salem Police Department testified that the Detroit Boys had been in operation since the 1990s. The organization began in Detroit and moved to Winston-Salem, and authorities alleged that the organization was involved in transporting large amounts of heroin.

As part of the investigation, federal drug-enforcement agents in Detroit seized nearly 3 pounds of heroin and about $33,000 in Southfield, Mich., a suburb of Detroit. At least 14 people in Winston-Salem and Detroit were charged with a total of 136 felonies. Agents searched 12 homes, police said at the time.

Terrance Douglas Coles, Rudolph Coles’ brother, was considered to be the leader of the Detroit Boys.

Poindexter walked out of Forsyth County Jail after a hearing in January 2014. He was facing an unrelated larceny charge. Judge Victoria Roemer gave him supervised probation, but one of the clerks mistakenly wrote on the paperwork that the probation was for the drug charges and not the larceny. Poindexter had been in the Forsyth County Jail with a $750,000 secured bond on the drug charges.

Poindexter was released because of the mistake. An arrest warrant was immediately issued once court officials realized the mistake, but authorities didn’t catch up to Poindexter until November 2018, when he was taken into custody in Dunbar, W. Va.

Dan Anthony, Poindexter’s attorney, said Poindexter had remained out of trouble during the time he was out of custody.

“He was very interested in making sure his family was cared for and to resolve this and get this behind him,” Anthony said.

Charges are pending against Terrance Coles. Rudolph Coles was convicted and sentenced to about 18 to 23 years in prison, but the N.C. Court of Appeals overturned that conviction. Prosecutors with the N.C. Attorney General’s Office have appealed that decision to the N.C. Supreme Court.

Dante Coles pleaded guilty to drug charges and testified in Rudolph Coles’ trial. He is awaiting sentencing.

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mhewlett@wsjournal.com 336-727-7326 @mhewlettWSJ

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