MIAMI (CBSMiami) – More than a dozen suspected drug dealers and runners were taken off the street as part of a two-year joint federal and local investigation.
And U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer says there are facing some serious consequences if they are convicted of federal charges including conspiracy to possess controlled substances with the intent to distribute. Twelve of the defendants could face up to 40 years behind bars.
“The message is that these individuals who are terrorizing these poor residents in these particular neighborhoods better watch out because we are working together,” said Ferrer.
Ferrer told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench that seven different law enforcement agencies including the D.E.A., Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the F.B.I. and Miami-Dade and Miami Police took part in the probe.
“The message here is plain and simple,” Ferrer said. “We are going to put all our resources into this effort. That includes local, state and federal resources to go after the most violent members of our community that are wreaking havoc and take them off the street by using our federal statutes and by putting them away for a long time.”
Ferrer announced Tuesday a 42 count indictment against 16 suspected members of a drug distribution network which operated in Overtown and Liberty City.
Those named in the indictment are Chuck Wayne Boyd, Anthony Delancey, Johnny Roy Tarver, Andre Antonio Jackson, Kalin Demetrius Marseus, Keyon Jamor Williams, Kerry Bernard Williams, Eddie Lonso Foster Jr., Donnie Earl Mathes, Vashawn Chanell Thurston, Richard Eugene Young Jr., Estmane Lucdor, Julius Waco Wade, Teshon Renee Yarbough, Miguel Angel Ortiz and Anthony Donnell Rose.
Ferrer told D’Oench that Boyd, who is known on the street as “Dread,” “Jamaican” and “Bumble Bee” is a “prolific drug leader who any law enforcement person would tell you is a wanted man, with stash houses in Overtown and Liberty City.”
Thirteen of those indicted have been arrested; three are still on the loose.
The drug distribution network dealt in heroin, cocaine, crack cocaine and marijuana.
Ferrer said cash, drugs and guns were seized, including four semi-automatic pistols and a shotgun.
“The investigation we are disclosing today led to a successful community impact prosecution,” said Ferrer. “Together this incredible team of agents, police officers and detectives has made our community today just a bit safer by removing dangerous drug traffickers who had established their drug distribution rings in our community which were harming not only the adults there but also the children.”
“I am pleased with our united efforts to stop the illegal drug activity in our neighborhoods. These defendants preyed on the residents of Liberty City and Overtown, and must now face justice for their crimes,” said Miami Police Department Chief Manuel Orosa.
“It’s a message for our residents that we haven’t forgotten about you. Sooner or later, we are going to clean up your neighborhood and get these drug dealers out.”
The operation was conducted in connection with the Overtown and Liberty City Violence Reduction Partnerships. The violence reduction partnerships were launched in October 2011 in Overtown and then expanded in July 2012 to Liberty City.
“The reality is drug trafficking has become synonymous with violence,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Mark R. Trouville. “The DEA is proud to be a part of the Overtown and Liberty City Violence Reduction Partnership and will stand in alliance with our law enforcement partners to combat these violent criminals in our neighborhoods.”
Michael Nussbaum,. Acting Deputy Special Agent in Charge for DEA Miami said, “This ongoing investigation reminds us that some things never change. Drugs and gun violence go hand in hand. It is a vicious cycle.”
The goal of the partnerships, according to Ferrer, is for federal and local law enforcement agencies to dismantle the most violent criminal networks in particular neighborhoods while working with community leaders and residents on how to identify and deal with issues in their neighborhoods.
“We view those Prosecutors as Problem Solvers,” Ferrer said.
Ferrer said those arrested will make their initial appearances in front of U.S. Magistrate Judge Alicia Otazo-Reyes at 2 p.m. on Thursday.