Atlantic City Gang Busted In Heroin Ring [AUDIO]
Over 30 members of an alleged Atlantic City street gang are under arrest Tuesday after federal, state, and local officials conducted a series of investigations targeting one of the city's largest heroin distribution networks.
More than 20 alleged members of the Dirty Block Crime Fam were arrested Tuesday morning in a series of raids conducted by three hundred law enforcement officials from various levels. Officials say six alleged members were already in custody before the predawn operations, and three remain at-large.
All members of the alleged criminal syndicate were charged with a 225-page federal complaint, including one count each of attempting to distribute over a kilo a heroine. A charge, which U.S Attorney Paul Fishman says carries a minimum 10-year prison sentence.
According to Fishman, Dirty Block operated primarily in the Stanley Holmes Village housing project, the Schoolhouse Apartments, and the Carver Apartments; controlling the drug trade through "intimidation and violence."
Of the 34 persons charged, Fishman says two are suppliers from Paterson. Additionally, two of the gang's leaders, Mykal Derry, 32, and Tyrone Ellis, 31, were also listed in the complaint.
The early morning raids arrested additional suspects, who Fishman claims acted as couriers, enforcers, sellers, and drug testers within the gang.
"Including a number of female members who were used by the male members of the gang to set up stash houses, get pre-paid cell phones, and other activities to avoid detection by law enforcement."
Fishman says the operation was very sophisticated, and at times, was ran like a legitimate business.
"In fact, the leaders of the operation tried to teach business principles to younger members of the gang in order to make sure they made more money and avoid police detection."
"They used bail bondsmen to get folks out of jail using false employment records."
Atlantic City Police, State Law Enforcement, and federal officers began meeting in 2010 regarding Dirty Block. Fishman says it culminated with six months of federal wiretap surveillance on members. FBI agents conducted the raids in a joint operation with State Police and Atlantic City police.
While Fishman is optimistic the elimination of the gang will result in a higher quality of life for the city's residents, he reminds criminal gangs are not just a concern for inner cities.
"The last report that I saw from the State Police reports there is gang activity in almost half of towns, regardless of whether they are suburban, urban, or rural."