Drug Ring Dismantled
NOV 17 -- Anthony Placido, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration's New York Field Division announced the arrest of ten individuals and the unsealing in federal court today of an indictment of LAWRENCE WILLIAMS and nine others in connection with a crack cocaine operation that operated in the Jefferson Housing Development in Manhattan.
The investigation was conducted by the New York Drug Enforcement Task Force comprised of the Drug Enforcement Administration, New York City Police Department and New York State Police. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms assisted in the investigation.
The Jefferson Development is a New York City public housing project that has a population of more than 3,500, with a median family income, according to the New York City Housing Authority, of approximately $13,600. During the period of the charged conspiracy, Jefferson was the site of five shootings, 47 robberies, 41 felony assaults, 2 burglaries, and 16 grand larceny offenses, according to New York City Police Department records. Jefferson is also a high drug trafficking area, and the DEA and NYPD believe that many of the non-drug crimes occurring at Jefferson are linked to the drug trade there.
Associate Special Agent in Charge John Gilbride, Drug Enforcement Task Force stated; "The Drug Enforcement Administration is committed to working with our federal, state and local counterparts to identify and dismantle drug trafficking organizations at every level. This organization operated on the streets of New York City. As a result of these arrests, the Jefferson Housing Development is a safer place to live, free of the crime and violence created by drug trafficking."
According to the Indictment, WILLIAMS was charged with leading a gang of crack cocaine dealers between First and Third Avenues and between 112th and 115th Streets.
The Indictment charges LAWRENCE WILLIAMS, a/k/a "Rock," a/k/a "City," LAWRENCE RHODES, a/k/a "Al," a/k/a "Link," a/k/a "L," ROLAND LEONARDO, a/k/a "Morano," TAMEEKA COLEMAN, a/k/a "Meeka," LATOYA SUMMERS, a/k/a "Toya,", DAREN ROWE, KNEALAND ANTIONIO STRAIN, a/k/a "Monsta," CAMILLE RHODES, and BASHEEM SMALLS with operating and participating in a retail crack cocaine ring that was based in the Jefferson Development from at least June 2002 to November 2003 (the "Williams Organization").
The indictment also charges members of the Williams Organization with thirteen counts of distribution and possession with intent to distribute various amounts of crack cocaine beginning in April 2003 and continuing into September 2003.
According to the Indictment, WILLIAMS ran the Organization and was responsible for purchasing powdered cocaine, arranging for that cocaine to be manufactured into crack, and supervising the sale of the crack cocaine by others. The Indictment further alleges that LAWRENCE RHODES assisted WILLIAMS in running the Organization by providing street-level drug dealers with pre-packaged quantities of crack cocaine, collecting drug proceeds from these drug dealers and selling crack cocaine to customers.
According to the Indictment, the following other members of the Organization had the following roles:
ROLAND LEONARDO, a/k/a "Morano" manufactured or "cooked" quantities of powdered cocaine into crack;
TAMEEKA COLEMAN, a/k/a "Meeka" and LATOYA SUMMERS, a/k/a "Toya" were managers of the Organization who were responsible, among other things, for supervising other drug dealers;
DARREN ROWE stored quantities of crack, as well as drug proceeds, in an apartment located in Jefferson;
KNEALAND ANTIONIO STRAIN, a/k/a "Monsta" was a Maryland based drug-dealer who obtained distribution quantities of crack and powdered cocaine from LAWRENCE WILLIAMS; and
CAMILLE RHODES and
BASHEEM SMALLS were street-level drug dealers for the Organization.
The thirteen counts of distribution and possession with intent to distribute crack are set forth below:
If convicted of the above counts, the defendants face maximum sentences ranging from 20 to 40 years in prison per count.
The investigation is
LAWRENCE RHODES, a/k/a "Al," a/k/a "Link," a/k/a "L," 23, lives in Bronx, NY.
ROLAND LEONARDO, a/k/a "Morano," 28, lives in Bronx, NY.
TAMEEKA COLEMAN, a/k/a "Meeka," 22, lives in Manhattan.
LATOYA SUMMERS, a/k/a "Toya," 23, lives in Bronx, NY.
DAREN ROWE, 38, lives in Bronx, NY.
KNEALAND ANTIONIO STRAIN, a/k/a "Monsta," 21, lives in Maryland.
CAMILLE RHODES, 21, lives in Bronx, NY.
BASHEEM SMALLS, 21, currently in custody on state charges, lived in the Manhattan.
50, lives in Maryland.
The United States Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York is in charge of the prosecution.