DOJ: Drug Trafficking Operation From Memphis to L.A. Busted

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) - 22 wanted gang members and drug dealers from Los Angeles to Memphis are charged after a cross-country drug trafficking sting.

The three-year-long Department of Justice operation seized of variety of drugs, cash, and guns. 16 of those 22 charged are now in custody following raids Wednesday morning across the country, taking accused gang leaders and drug suppliers, and their product, off the streets and off the local market.


While many of us were sleeping, law enforcement in California and across the Mid-South went in homes, made arrests, and took in a major illegal drug haul.

"There was heroin, there was cocaine, there was meth, there was marijuana and there were pills,” says Acting US Attorney from the Western District of Tennessee, Larry Laurenzi.

Local state and federal authorities said the drugs seized were part of a major drug trafficking operation involving the Grape Street Crips and one its branch gangs, the Memphis Peda Roll Mafia.

"If you can't stop it then we are going to search for you,” says Laurenzi,

Authorities with the Department of Justice said the drugs were sent, by mail or in person, from L.A. to Memphis, and money flowed back from the bluff city to the city of angels.

"I think that it's significant in that we stopped a pipeline,” says says Laurenzi.

Authorities said they first identified the gang operating at Bella Vista apartment complex in Memphis. As the investigation grew, so did the scope of the operation, and the amount of drugs taken off the streets in Shelby County.

"If you are in a gang, and think that we aren't we aren't paying attention, that's far from the truth,” says Steve Gerido with the ATF.

 

Six of the 22 charged in two separate indictments remain at large as of Wednesday afternoon. Authorities said additional charges are expected. 23 weapons, including two stolen guns, were also seized.


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