Feds: Kickboxing gym used in drug trafficking operation

Top Row (Left to Right): Alex Burnett and Shirley Burnett. Bottom Row (Left to Right): Charles Bailey, Jr., Charles McMillan and Mario Barrett.

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — Members of a family and several associates are facing indictments for a drug trafficking conspiracy that authorities say included the use of a gym.

The Department of Justice Eastern District of Virginia says 37-year-old Alex Burnett is charged with being the leader of a criminal organization that operated on the Peninsula. This organization included several people, including Burnett’s father and mother, Robert and Shirley Burnett.

FBI agents and local police arrested several people involved in late October. The FBI used tactics that included criminal informants, GPS trackers, and surveillance before making the arrests.

Court paperwork showed Alex Burnett was a member of the Bloods Gang and claimed to have inherited the “family business” after his brother, Rico Burnett, was incarcerated for attempted capital murder of a police officer.

Burnett allegedly conspired with four others to distribute heroin, cocaine, cocaine base and marijuana: Charles McMillan, Charles Bailey, Jr., Mario Barrett and Jordan Davis.

The 9Round gym at Peninsula Town Center — which was owned by Alex and Shirley Burnett — was used for drug deals, authorities say. 9Round Fitness owns hundreds gyms nationwide and is mainly focused on kickboxing.

There is a Facebook page for the Hampton 9Round gym. However, the location is no longer listed on official 9Round website.

The Burnetts, along with Eleanora Paronuzzi and Ada Rodriguez, are charged with laundering money made from this drug trafficking.

Authorities say all nine people alleged to have been involved in the operation were indicted this week by a grand jury.

NAME AGE, HOMETOWN CHARGES (AND MAXIMUM PENALTY)
Alex Burnett 37, Hampton Continuing Criminal Enterprise (Life)
Conspiracy to Distribute Drugs (Life)
Conspiracy to Launder Money (20 years)
Distribution of Heroin (20 years)
Felon in Possession of Firearm (10 Years)
Shirley Burnett 62, Carrollton Conspiracy to Launder Money (20 years)
Robert Burnett 64, Carrollton Conspiracy to Launder Money (20 years)
Jordan Davis 24, Williamsburg Conspiracy to Distribute Drugs (Life)
Distribution of Cocaine Base (20 years)
Felon in Possession of Firearm (10 years)
Charles McMillan 30, Newport News Conspiracy to Distribute Drugs (Life)
Distribution of Cocaine Base (20 years)
Charles Bailey, Jr. 54, Newport News Conspiracy to Distribute Drugs (Life)
Distribution of Cocaine Base (20 years)
Eleanora Paronuzzi 36, Newport News Conspiracy to Launder Money (20 years)
Ada Rodriguez 36, Jacksonvillle, Florida Conspiracy to Launder Money (20 years)
Mario Barrett 41, Hampton Conspiracy to Distribute Drugs (Life)
Distribution of Heroin (20 years)
Possess with Intent to Distribute Marijuana (5 years)
Felon in Possession of Firearm (10 years)
Firearm in Furtherance of Drug Trafficking (Life)