LOS ANGELES, CA – A federal wiretap investigation into two Compton-based drug trafficking organizations resulted this week in the arrest of eight people charged with distributing marijuana and illicit prescription drugs locally and across the nation.
Two criminal complaints filed last week in United States District Court charge a total of 15 defendants with distributing narcotics, some of which were sold in Ohio and Louisiana. The cases are linked by two houses on the same block in Compton – one which was used as a meeting location for one drug ring, and one which is described in court papers as a “notorious” location of narcotics sales.
During the course of the investigation, which began early in 2009, authorities seized well over a ton of marijuana and thousands of pills of prescription drugs that had been diverted to the black market.
Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Timothy J. Landrum said: “Criminal street gangs continue to fund their activity through the sale of illegal drugs. This investigation resulted in getting illegal drugs and dangerous drug dealers off the streets of Los Angeles and as far away as Ohio and Louisiana. These arrests demonstrate the commitment of DEA and our law enforcement partners to ensure these violent criminal gangs are not allowed to terrorize our communities.”
One case focuses on a drug trafficking organization allegedly headed by Deverick Mathis, who authorities have linked to the Compton-based Front Hoods Crips. Mathis allegedly oversaw a drug ring with strong ties to Ohio, where some members of his organization allegedly distributed narcotics. The criminal complaint against the Mathis organization details a series of seizures made beginning in 2009, including two packages containing a total of $188,480 in cash, 1,405 pounds of marijuana that was seized at two residences in Phoenix in March 2009, and 423 pounds of marijuana and $124,4058 in cash found in an Anaheim business in March. Out of the eight defendants charged in this case, authorities yesterday arrested four defendants (and a fifth this morning), including Mathis.
In relation to the Mathis-led organization, authorities yesterday seized several automobiles, including a 2007 Land Rover, a Bentley automobile, a 2010 Dodge Challenger, a 2010 Lexus and a lowrider.
The second case charges another seven defendants, including Dion Grim, who is also linked to the Front Hood Crips. Grim allegedly controlled marijuana sales – sometimes involving a pound a more – at a house on West Stockwell Street in Compton. The Grim organization allegedly had operatives in Louisiana, who allegedly sold prescription pills, including Xanax. In an operation this morning, authorities arrested three of the defendants charged in this case, including Grim.
All 15 defendants who are named in the two criminal complaints are charged with conspiring to distribute narcotics, a charge that carries a potential penalty of 20 years in federal prison.
Leslie P. DeMarco, Special Agent in Charge of IRS-Criminal Investigation’s Los Angeles office, stated: “This week’s arrests are a testament to the success of a multi-agency approach in drug investigations. The lack of legitimate sources of income, paired with bank activity and the intercepted telephone calls, was critical in identifying the source of cash deposits as the proceeds of drug trafficking. In this instance, all of the agencies brought their combined expertise to bear to successfully bring these narcotics traffickers to justice.
Those charged in relation to the Grim-led organization are:
The three defendants taken into custody this morning are expected to make their initial court appearances this afternoon in United States District Court in Los Angeles.
Those charged in relation to the Mathis organization are:
In court appearances yesterday afternoon, Mathis, Carr and Jordan were ordered held without bond. An arraignment in this case is scheduled for August 18.
The investigation into the drug trafficking organizations was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and IRS-Criminal Investigation.
The investigation also involved the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, the Los Angeles County Probation Department, the Fontana Police Department, the California Highway Patrol and the Glendale, Arizona Police Department.