Eight alleged gang members and four non-gang members were arrested after a takedown in South Dallas on Thursday, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Erin Nealy Cox announced.
Dwight Alexander Frank, Paul Adron Freeman, Vernon Ray Stiff, Calvin James Thomas, Tyrel Demond Washington, Bernice Lee Woodson, Jr., Bryson Busby, and Michael McCoy, all alleged members of the "357 Crips" gang, were arrested and charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine.
Four non-gang members - Alonzo Perez, Jr., Alonzo Perez, Sr., Beatriz Perez, and Max Davis - were also arrested and charged with drug crimes.
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The takedown was led by the Drug Enforcement Administration's Dallas Field Division. It began in the early morning hours Thursday and lasted into the afternoon.
The majority of the defendants were arrested at trap houses across the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, where agents seized roughly 2.5 kilograms of cocaine, 24 guns, and more than $300,000 in cash.
"There should never be any doubt that drug trafficking is a victimless crime. These gang members sought to profit and expand their influence by peddling drugs throughout South Dallas. With the dismantlement of this organization, guns are no longer in the hands of these drug dealers and the drugs they sold are now off the streets. It was only through a tremendous partnership with the Dallas PD, the ATF, and many other area law enforcement agencies that Dallas is safer today than it was yesterday," DEA Special Agent in Charge Eduardo A. Chavez said.
"We are grateful to the many law enforcement partners who collaborated to disrupt a drug trafficking ring," U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox said. "Cocaine continues to wreaked havoc on our community and we will vigorously prosecute those that distribute this deadly drug."
In addition to the conspiracy count, Bernice Woodson was charged with one count of possession with intent to distribute and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
Vernon Stiff, Alonzo Perez, Jr., Alonzo Perez, Sr., Bernice Woodson, and Tyrel Washington were charged with maintaining drug-involved premises.
Alonzo Perez, Jr., Tyrel Washington, and Bernice Woodson were also being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.
If convicted, the defendants face 10 years to life in prison on the conspiracy charge. Those charged with maintaining a drug involved premises face an additional 20 years. Those charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm face an additional 10 years, and those charged with possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime face an additional five years.