Raids executed in Memphis heroin case
Posted: Thursday, August 26, 2010 8:02 pm
MEMPHIS (AP) — Twenty-two people have been charged with being part of a heroin trafficking ring targeted by early morning raids across the Memphis area Wednesday, the U.S. Attorney’s office announced.
Officers and detectives from the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Memphis Police Department and a handful of suburban police agencies executed 16 search warrants and said they confiscated heroin, crack cocaine and marijuana.
Authorities also said firearms, cash and vehicles were seized but declined to elaborate on the value of the items or the amount of drugs seized.
Law enforcement agents say they acted on an indictment returned Aug. 11 by a federal grand jury on charges including possession of heroin, distributing heroin and conspiracy.
The drug ring was in operation from June 2008 until this month and also reached into states that don’t border Tennessee, prosecutors said. They declined to name the other states.
Eighteen of those charged have been arrested, said Brian Chambers, the DEA’s resident agent in charge for Memphis.
Stanton, in his first news conference since being confirmed as the new U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee earlier this month, said the investigation is ongoing.
Stanton acknowledged an “uptick” in heroin trafficking in Memphis and said some of those charged were “substantial players” in the area’s heroin trade.
He declined to release more details of the suspected operation when pressed by journalists for more details and whether more arrests were expected.
“We were able to dismantle a heroin organization today,” Chambers said. “Our community is better today.”
Those convicted face up to 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $1 million. If the defendant has a prior drug felony, the potential penalty becomes no more than 30 years in prison and a maximum fine of $2 million, upon conviction.
It was not immediately known if those arrested have lawyers.
The arrests came two days after federal officials named Memphis’ Shelby County one of the country’s 28 High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas.
Published in The Messenger 8.26.10