DEA Dismantles Major Drug Enterprise in West Alabama
JAN 23 -- BIRMINGHAM, AL - The DEA and other law enforcement officials today announced the culmination of a two-year investigation that has resulted in the charging of 21 individuals in the West Alabama area with numerous federal charges in connection with the operation of a criminal enterprise involving the distribution of cocaine and crack cocaine. The 37-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury has been underseal since December, 2006.
“This was a very complex and long-term investigation into the drug trafficking activities of an organization that has operated with impunity for many years,” states Gregory Borland, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration for the State of Alabama. “The close-knit relationship of those involved in the conspiracy, as well as the rural area in which they operated, rendered the investigation’s security of paramount importance. The ability of such a large number of officers from various agencies to work together without compromising the investigation speaks volumes about the professionalism of Alabama Law Enforcement. The success of this investigation would have been impossible with the outstanding and tireless efforts of the United States Attorney’s Office, for which we are very grateful,” added Borland.
“This drug trafficking organization was a major distributor of cocaine and crack cocaine to high and mid-level dealers throughout West Alabama,” stated U.S. Attorney Alice H. Martin. “Today’s arrests are the result of an outstanding counter drug investigation which targeted the organizational structure and its leadership.”
It is charged that DAVID SMITH, 58, of Boligee, Alabama, was the organizer of this drug enterprise. During the undercover drug investigation, investigators learned that a supply of cocaine and crack cocaine enters West Alabama from California. Upon arrival in West Alabama, the drugs are taken to a central location in Greene County and distributed by the charged defendants listed below. The indictment filed also seeks criminal forfeiture of at least $9,712,500 in U.S. Currency which represents the amount of proceeds from Counts 1 and two of the indictment. Additionally, the indictment seeks the forfeiture of seven parcels of real property located in Greene and Tuscaloosa Counties.
Specifically the indictment charges DAVID SMITH in count one with operating a continuing criminal enterprise, the indictment further charges him with using a communications facility to facilitate a drug trafficking crime, conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute and distribution of cocaine and crack cocaine. Others charged include:
David Pickens, Jr., 49, Boligee
Lester Henley, Jr., also known as “Chump,” 25, Boligee
Robert James Henley, also known as “Buck,” 36, Boligee
William Marlin Woods, also known as “Big Boy,” 53, Moundville
Wallace J. Hall, 45, Gainesville
Andrew Henley, 29, Boligee
Barney Austin McAlpine, 51, Tuscaloosa
Jimmy Lee Elliott, 58, Tuscaloosa
Henry Lee Pole, Jr., also known as “Red,” 65, Boligee
Tremayne Markey Washington, 26, Boligee
Ronald Jerome Flakes, 56, Huntsville
These individuals have been arrested and are currently in the process of initial appearances including bond and detention hearings. The names of other individuals charged are withheld pending service of warrants. In addition to the arrest of these individuals, 7.5 kilograms of cocaine, 32 firearms, $60,000 in U.S. Currency, a Harley Davidson Motorcycle, a Cadillac SUV, a Chevrolet SUV, and a Mercedes G55 SUV were seized.
Each of the individuals named in the indictment face charges of drug conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute cocaine and/or crack cocaine. Additionally some defendants face the charge of using of a communications facility to facilitate a drug trafficking crime. Through the investigation of this case agents learned that the Enterprise uses several drivers to drive the suspected drugs from California to West Alabama by using eighteen wheeler freight trucks. The individuals listed above rank within the Criminal Enterprise as drivers who deliver to lieutenants or rank as distributors who then use “runners” to distribute the drugs to the street level buyers. As the investigation continues more charges including asset forfeiture may be expected.
DAVID SMITH faces not less than 20 years and up to life imprisonment for the charge of operating a continuing criminal enterprise. Penalties faced by SMITH and others include not less than 10 years or not more than life imprisonment for drug conspiracy; Not less than 10 years or more than 20 years for possession with intent to distribute; Use of a communications facility to facilitate a crimes is not more than 4 years in prison. In addition the fines range from $2,000,000 to $250,000. Each charge additionally carries a term of supervised release to be served after completion of a prison term.
Numerous law enforcement agencies participated in this multi-year Organized Crime, Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation which includes Special Agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration, and included the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Internal Revenue Service, and the U.S. Marshal Service. Additionally, officers from the Alabama Bureau of Investigation, Tuscaloosa County Sheriff’s Department, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department, the Calhoun County Drug Task Force, Birmingham Police Department, Alabaster Police Department, Fairfield Police Department and the Montevallo Police Department were assigned to the Task Force who assisted in this investigation.
OCDETF Assistant United States Attorneys John B. Felton, Gregory R. Dimler, and W. Sander Callahan will be prosecuting this case on behalf of the U.S. Government.