Heroin Busts Rising Across the Country
Covid 19 may dominate the headlines, but the recent number of heroin busts shows that America is still also battling the opioid pandemic.
We’re not talkin’ about mom and pop heroin busts either. We’re talkin’ about large scale, expertly organized crime rings involving some of the most notorious players in the drug world. As you probably suspect, we’re also talkin’ about drug rings that stretch all across the country.
So who’s to blame? Is it Big Pharma and their prescription pill pushing? China and its irresistible (and lethal) fentanyl? The Mexican Cartels and their ingenious ability to provide? The existential threat brought about by Covid 19?
Most likely it’s all of the above — and then some. Americans wouldn’t be craving an escape if we were in a happy place. And it’s hard to be happy while you’re sitting at home alone and watching the whole world crumble around you.
There’s hope of course. There always is. And always will be. After all, we’re Americans. And Americans were built to fight for their lives. But we’ve gotta remember: the fight’s not between each other. The fight’s not really even against anything. It’s for. It’s a fight for our right to live clean, sober and productive lives. No matter what.
Perhaps if we had more of that, there wouldn’t be such an onslaught of heroin busts.
FBI Organized Crime Sentencing Stats
The latest FBO sentencing stats show many of the largest heroin busts were tied to organized crime.
Twenty-one year-old Keevan Jackson, formerly of Pittsburgh, was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment followed by four years of supervised release on his conviction of conspiracy to distribute or possess with intent to distribute 40 grams or more of heroin and fentanyl. Jackson’s conviction is the result of the Greater Pittsburgh Safe Streets Task Force 2017 investigation targeting the Darccide/Smash 44, or DS44 gang, which operated in and around Pittsburgh’s South Side. He’s just one of at least 37 members of the gang who’ve been arrested.
Twenty-nine year-old Wilson Peguero, a/k/a “King Dubb,” the former leader of the Boston-based Devon Street Kings Chapter of the Massachusetts Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation, pleaded guilty to racketeering (or RICO) charges. The Latin Kings kingpin (or “Inca”) faces up to 20 years in federal prison, as well as a $250,000 fine.
Thirty-year-old Juan Caceres, of Elkins Park, PA and six accomplices were arrested and charged with possession with intent to distribute heroin as part of the Caceres drug ring. Four Atlantic County, NJ residents were also arrested and charged in a related investigation into a heroin pipeline stretching from Philadelphia to Atlantic City. Atlantic County is a federally-recognized High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, and as such receives cooperation from a plethora of local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, including the FBI and the DEA. Authorities say tens of thousands of packets of heroin were seized in this raid.
Heroin Busts: From Sheriff’s Deputies to Navajo Nation Members
Other heroin busts (and sentencings) recently touted by the FBI include former Harrison County (West Virginia) Sheriff’s Deputy Timothy Rock. Rock was sentenced to 58 months, 7 days after being found guilty on four counts of “Distribution of Heroin.” Much of the heroin Block was known to have distributed came from the Harrison County Sheriff’s own evidence locker.
Also sentenced was Navajo Nation member Savannah Secatero, of Alamo, New Mexico. Secatero received 33 months imprisonment, plus 3 years supervised release, after being convicted for running a heroin distribution center from her home on the Navajo Nation Alamo Reservation.
Heroin addiction doesn’t just impact the addict and the dealer of course. And its network goes well beyond the typical grower-distributor-seller-user. For the heroin market needs to be protected, from source to street. And that protection requires muscle. Much of the time flexing that muscle means murder.
Take Brooklyn’s Elite Assassin Millas (EAM). Seven members and associates of this Bloods subset were recently indicted in federal court. And the indictments read like a textbook example of muscle run amok.
The charges include racketeering conspiracy, murder in-aid-of racketeering, attempted murder in-aid-of racketeering, conspiracy to commit murder in-aid-of racketeering and assault in-aid-of racketeering. They also included interstate stalking, accessory after-the-fact to attempted murder and assault, as well as related firearms offenses. There’s no official tally on how much time the defendants were facing. Authorities did however mention the indictments were tied to five shootings, which resulted in one death and two paralyzations. They also mentioned that EAM “Godfather” Quandel “Chucky” Smothers shot a fellow member over a drug dispute and that member’s leg had to be amputated.
In addition to Smothers, the indictments cited Tyshawn “Reck” Corbett, Qawon “Phorty Wap” Allen, Desmonn “Des” Beckett, Devon “D” Bristol, Marlon “Marlo” Bristol, and Andrew “Phaze” Campbell.
“Gang-related violence begets more violence, and we will not tolerate the violent crimes allegedly committed by these defendants in our communities,” stated United States Attorney Richard P. Donoghue. “The Eastern District will continue working tirelessly to dismantle and eradicate violent street gangs like EAM that have turned the neighborhoods of East New York into lethal shooting galleries.”