JAN 18 (CHARLOTTE, N.C.) –Nine Charlotte men were arrested today on federal drug charges during an early morning roundup conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department, announced Anne M. Tompkins, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.
U.S. Attorney Tompkins is joined in making today’s announcement by Harry S. Sommers, Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the Atlanta Field Division of the DEA, which oversees the Charlotte District Office and Chief Rodney D. Monroe, of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD).
Today’s arrests and indictment are the result of “Operation Enderly Park,” a six-month investigation conducted jointly by the DEA and CMPD to target and reduce violent crime in Mecklenburg County, with special emphasis placed on Enderly Park neighborhood in northwest Charlotte.
The defendants were apprehended early morning on Friday and were charged with multiple counts of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute crack cocaine, marijuana and cocaine. The federal indictment was filed on Wednesday, January 16, 2013, and was unsealed today in U.S. District Court in Charlotte following the arrests.
Those arrested and charged today are Theodore Falls, 38, Maurice Crawford, 32, Derrick Lowery, 31, Derrick Owens, 35, Aaron Ligon, 48, Mario Wilson, 23, Cadaryl Drayton, 25, Curtis Smith, 36, and Lavar Rodgers, 31, all of Charlotte. Mary Falls, 70, also of Charlotte, was arrested and charged today with one count of maintaining drug-involved premises. Another defendant named in the indictment, Nathaniel Washington, 30, of Charlotte, has not been arrested yet.
In making today’s announcement U.S. Attorney Tompkins thanked the DEA and CMPD for today’s successful operation. U.S. Attorney Tompkins noted, “Today’s arrests are the result of a coordinated effort of law enforcement partners to focus our resources on a hot spot for drug trafficking. I want to assure the public that we remain steadfast in our commitment to making our streets safer and to prosecuting those who spread drugs in our communities.”
“Those involved in drug trafficking are simply delivering deadly doses of poison to the community. The perpetrators who distribute these dangerous and deadly chemicals deserve to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and that is what happened with this case today. I would like to thank our law enforcement partners who helped make this investigation a success,” said SAC Sommers, of DEA’s Atlanta Field Division.
“The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department and our partner agencies will continue to be diligent in letting criminals know that these neighborhoods are not a safe haven for their illegal activities,” said Chief Rodney Monroe, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department. “We are committed to utilizing all our resources to impact crime in the community.”
All defendants, except Ligon and Smith, had their initial appearances today in U.S. District Court before U.S. Magistrate Judge David S. Cayer and were detained pending their detention hearings. The defendants charged with drug conspiracy face a statutory minimum prison term of five years and a maximum of 40 years, and a $5 million fine. Mary Falls faces a maximum prison term of 20 years and a $500,000.
The charges contained in the indictment are allegations. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The investigation is being handled by the DEA and CMPD. The prosecution for the government is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Dana Washington of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte.
SAC Sommers of the DEA Atlanta Field Division encourages parents, along with their children, to educate themselves about the dangers of legal and illegal drugs by visiting DEA’s interactive websites at www.justthinktwice.com, www.GetSmartAboutDrugs.com and www.dea.gov.