More than Two Dozen Arrested in Roundup of Members and Associates of the Black Mafia Family
ST. LOUIS – More than two dozen people were arrested this week in connection with charges including drug trafficking and financial crimes, U.S. Attorney Sayler A. Fleming said Thursday.
The arrests by the U.S. Marshals, federal agents and local police follow a series of grand jury indictments. Thirty-four people have been charged in connection with the investigation, most in the past few weeks. During the arrests and associated court-approved searches, officers and agents recovered a large quantity of fentanyl, pounds of methamphetamine, firearms and cash.
In detention hearings Thursday, prosecutors described the arrestees as members or associates of the Black Mafia Family.
A motion seeking to have one of the defendants jailed until trial says the BMF hold itself out as a drug trafficking and money laundering organization distributing large quantities of narcotics in the St. Louis area and elsewhere. One of the defendants, Chad Brown, calls himself the “Junior Boss” of the BMF, another detention motion says, and has discussed drug trafficking by the BMF in multiple videos posted on various social media platforms.
"Anytime we are able to dismantle an organization involved in selling the big four – fentanyl, methamphetamine, heroin and cocaine – it’s a big deal," said Special Agent in Charge Michael A. Davis, head of the Drug Enforcement Administration division that leads DEA investigations in Missouri, Kansas, and Southern Illinois. "The scale of this Midwest criminal operation is uncommon, so it’s no wonder that it took the combined resources of federal, state and local law enforcement to bring the operation to an end. Protecting our citizens is DEA’s primary goal and the reward is worth the effort.”
Those indicted include:
- Chad E. “JBo” Brown, 51, indicted on one count of bank fraud and one count of using a false writing or document. He is accused of submitting a fraudulent IRS Schedule C form to obtain a PPP loan.
- Robert L. Lewis, 45, was indicted on four counts of fentanyl distribution and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm.
- Robert “Honest” Sims, 40, was indicted on one count of conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of a mixture containing methamphetamine.
- Samir Simpson-Bey, 37, was indicted on one count of distribution of 40 grams or more of fentanyl.
- Jeremy “Welo” Steele, 44, was indicted on one count of conspiracy to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl and 500 grams or more of a mixture containing methamphetamine.
- Carl Von Garrett, 53, was indicted on one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and two counts of money laundering in an indictment which alleges that nearly $1,000,000 of drug proceeds were laundered between March and May 2021.
- Tiffany J. “Tiff BMF” Nelson, 42, was indicted on one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and four counts of money laundering. She is accused of laundering the proceeds of illegal activity.
This case was investigated by the DEA, the FBI, IRS Criminal Investigations, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the St. Louis County Police Department and other members of the St. Louis Gateway Strike Force.
All these organizations are part of the St. Louis Gateway Strike Force, which is an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force and includes members of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. The OCDETF strike forces are permanent, multi-agency, prosecutor-led teams that conduct intelligence-driven, multi-jurisdictional operations against priority targets and their affiliate illicit financial networks. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.