21 Members of Delaware County Drug Gang Arrested
JUN 3 -- PHILADELPHIA - United States Attorney Laurie Magid today announced the unsealing of a 60-count superseding indictment against 21 members of a multi-kilogram cocaine and drug trafficking organization known as “The Cut-Off,” operating within the Highland Gardens development of Chester, Pennsylvania. The indictment alleges that Eddie Walker ran the operation, selling cocaine to members of the group and others. Joining Magid in today’s announcement were Delaware County District Attorney G. Michael Green, DEA Special Agent-in-Charge John J. Bryfonski, FBI Special Agent-in-Charge Janice K. Fedarcyk, ATF Special Agent-in-Charge Mark Potter, Pennsylvania State Police Lt. Anthony Sivo, Chester Mayor Wendell Butler, and Chester Police Chief Floyd Lewis.
According to the superseding indictment, The Cut-Off drug organization was distributing cocaine, crack cocaine, and, on some occasions, heroin and marijuana to customers in Highland Gardens and elsewhere. Charged with Walker are: Najee Harper, Reginald Freeman, Earl Fulton, Ronier Kennedy, James Jones, Corey Husbands, Ronnelle McMillian, Shataan Adams, Alaadin Crews, Craig Evans, Javille Gordon, Gary Harris, Jamal Harris-Muhammad, Brent Hull, Clyde Hull, Thomas Jones, Mathis McMickle, Andre Mosley, Kareem Shaheer, and Brandon Townes. The superseding indictment alleges that between 2003 and 2009, the defendants were engaged in a conspiracy to distribute cocaine and cocaine base (“crack”). In addition to the conspiracy, numerous defendants are charged with distribution, possession with intent to distribute, maintaining a drug house, possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, and possession with intent to distribute within 1,000 feet of a playground. Some of the defendants are also charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm.
“The people who live in Highland Gardens deserve a break,” said Magid. “They deserve better. And we will keep going back there until we release the choke hold these drug organizations have on that community.”
“ Today, a drug gang that controlled areas of Chester and terrorized the neighborhood through violence and intimidation has been brought to justice through the cooperative efforts of all the agencies involved who work hard each and every day to make this community and the United States a safe place to live, ” said DEA Special Agent-in-Charge John J. Bryfonski.
“ This case is an excellent example of collaboration among law enforcement designed to do one thing- take down a dangerous crack-dealing drug organization that has been imposing addiction and petty crime on the community destroying the efforts of civic leaders to revitalize a neighborhood, ” said Delaware County District Attorney G. Michael Green.
“ These types of joint Task Force investigations are intended to not only rid our communities of those criminal predators that destroy the very fabric of safety and security that all law-abiding citizens expect and deserve, ” said Special Agent-in-Charge Janice K. Fedarcyk of the Philadelphia Division of the FBI, “ but are also intended to send the clear message that federal, state, county and local law enforcement agencies are working closely together to aggressively address the violent gang problems that communities like Chester have faced. ”
According to the Superseding Indictment, Walker disbursed the supply of cocaine among his organization members for them to sell. Walker also sold the drugs and cooked the cocaine into “crack.” Members of The Cut-Off often hid the drugs in various “stash” locations, near where they were selling, in order to avoid having drugs on them if they were stopped by police. Those stash locations included abandoned houses, trash cans, mailboxes, lawns, and other locations in Highland Gardens. In order to sell drugs for the group, an individual had to be “from” + either born, raised, or residing in + that neighborhood, or had to have permission to sell from another member. To enforce this policy, members of The Cut-Off routinely used physical violence and threats of violence. The group also resorted to threats and violence to discipline and maintain control over The Cut-Off’s members; keep members of The Cut-Off and others from cooperating with law enforcement authorities; and deter and eliminate competition from other drug dealers. Cut-Off members routinely carried loaded firearms, or had firearms available in hidden locations.
In 2001, federal and local law enforcement combined their efforts and resources and successfully prosecuted the violent Boyle Street Boys drug distribution gang, which was operating in the Highland Gardens neighborhood. This same cooperative effort among law enforcement was used to bring an end to The Cut-Off. The Cut-Off operated primarily in and around the 2700 block of Swarts Street, the 1300 block of Culhane Street, the 2700 block of Nolan Street, and the 1300 block of Perkins Street.
INFORMATION REGARDING THE DEFENDANTS
If convicted of all charges, each defendant faces at least a mandatory minimum prison term of 10 years with a possible maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
The government has given notice of intent to forfeit more than a dozen firearms seized during the investigation, along with approximately $2 million in property or proceeds derived from the crimes charged.
The case was investigated by the United States Attorney’s Office, the Delaware County District Attorney’s Office, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Chester Police Department, the Pennsylvania State Police Department, the Delaware County Criminal Investigation Division, and the Philadelphia Police Department. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Faithe Moore Taylor and Ashley K. Lunkenheimer, and Special Assistant United States Attorneys James B. Halligan and Sharon H. McKenna.
An Indictment or Information is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.