Police Announce Dismantling of Violent Crack Cocaine
On Monday October 24, 2005, John Emerson, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the State of North Carolina for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), along with Steven W. Chalmers, Chief of Police for the City of Durham, Greg Baker Supervisory Special Agent in Charge of the Raleigh Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Anna MillsWagoner, United States Attorney in the Middle District of North Carolina, and Michael Nifong, District Attorney for Durham County announced the culmination of a joint investigation targeting violence and the wholesale distribution of crack cocaine in Durham, NC.
This investigation was initiated in June 2004 to address drug-related violence in the City of Durham, North Carolina. The DEA Atlanta Mobile Enforcement Team (MET) was deployed to assist in the investigation that culminated in the arrest of 16 individuals responsible for the wholesale distribution of crack cocaine in Durham. Investigators focused their efforts on violent criminals and those associated with violent street gangs distributing large quantities of crack cocaine.
“The arrest and conviction of these individuals demonstrates the positive results that can be obtained when federal, state and local law enforcement work together,” said United States Attorney Anna Mills Wagoner. “Today, the streets of Durham are safer because of the cooperative efforts of all of law enforcement. Violent crime has not and will not be tolerated and we will use whatever tools necessary to get these types of people off our streets and out of our neighborhoods.”
John Emerson, Assistant Special Agent in Charge (ASAC) of North Carolina, stated "I commend the hard work and cooperative efforts of the participating law enforcement agencies in this investigation. In the end, these violent drug traffickers were removed from our community. No more will they sell illegal drugs or spread fear and intimidation. The hard work and tireless devotion to making Durham a safer place can be seen in the results announced here today."
Durham Police Chief Steve W. Chalmers stated “I am extremely pleased with the success of this joint investigation and am committed to continuing these same types of operations as long as necessary. I commend all the agencies and individuals involved for their commitment and hard work. Durham is and will continue to be better because of this effort.”
The Mobile Enforcement Team (MET) program was created by the DEA in early 1995 as a response to the overwhelming problem of drug-related violent crime that plagues neighborhoods and communities throughout the United States. The challenges facing law enforcement today are daunting. The increasing sophistication of drug-trafficking organizations and the availability of automatic weapons make drug law enforcement more difficult and dangerous than ever before. Unfortunately, police departments must face these challenges with smaller budgets and fewer police officers. The MET program helps local law enforcement entities attack the violent drug organizations in their neighborhoods and restores a safer environment for the residents of these communities.
MET Agents assist local law enforcement officers in the following ways:
During this investigation, 16 individuals were indicted and arrested on federal charges. One of these, Jermaine Lunsford, died prior to being sentenced. Three other defendants—Aaron Jacobs, Bryant Hardy, and Derrick Mitchell--are awaiting judicial proceedings.
The other 12 defendants have been sentenced and received Federal prison terms ranging from 42 months to 262 months:
Of the defendants who have been sentenced, 11 had previous felony convictions and six had gang affiliations. One defendant, Derrick Brown had been previously arrested and convicted for the near fatal shooting of a Durham Police Officer in 1991. Brown received a six-year sentence for the shooting of the officer, prior to being arrested in this investigation.
In addition to the arrests, agents and officers seized approximately 2,368 grams of crack cocaine, 537 grams of powder cocaine, and five weapons.
The public is cautioned that an indictment is the formal method of issuing charges and does not in and of itself create an inference of guilt. An individual is presumed innocent until such time, if ever, as the government establishes his or her guilt by competent evidence beyond a reasonable doubt.
Questions regarding this investigation may be directed to Resident Agent in Charge Donny Hansen at 919-790-2004.