FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Thursday - May 6, 2004
GOLDSBORO - At a news conference in Goldsboro, N. C., on Thursday, May 6, 2004, federal, state, and local law enforcement authorities announced the results of "OPERATION CLEANSWEEP," an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation involving drug trafficking in the Goldsboro/Wayne County area of North Carolina.
"OPERATION CLEANSWEEP," which began in May 2001, was a cooperative effort to prosecute and convict individuals federally who have been a continuing problem for the Goldsboro Police Department and the Wayne County Sheriff's Office. The goals of this two-year investigation were: (1) to dismantle a major drug trafficking organization operating in the area--through the successful arrest and prosecution of the leaders and numerous members; and (2) to seize and forfeit all drug related assets--in an effort to cripple or destroy the organization's distribution capabilities. An additional goal of the operation was to secure the cooperation of arrested members and hopefully further the investigation to the sources of supply and additional associates.
Information developed during the investigation revealed that the organization had been in operation for more than eight years and had been responsible for large-scale distribution of cocaine and methamphetamine throughout the region. Also, it was revealed that all of the high level members of the organization had prior state drug charges and were regarded as menaces to the community. Further, information indicated that they often demonstrated a propensity to violent behavior, as indicated by their criminal history reports. In addition to their violent behavior, they were known to retaliate against those who opposed them.
To date, 20 defendants have been charged in federal cases, and 24 defendants have been prosecuted for drug and firearm offenses in state court--as a result of "OPERATION CLEANSWEEP." The federal cases are detailed on the attached list. (Details regarding the state cases are not available at this time.)
The "OPERATION CLEANSWEEP" investigation was conducted by the Wayne County Sheriff's Office; the Goldsboro Police Department; the Raleigh Office of the Drug Enforcement Administration; the Wilmington Office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Greenville Office of the N. C. State Bureau of Investigation; the District Attorney's Office of Wayne County; and the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina. Assistant U. S. Attorney Ethan A. Ontjes and Special Assistant U. S. Attorney Imelda J. Pate are prosecuting the cases for the government. Ms. Pate also serves as an Assistant District Attorney on the staff of District Attorney C. B. (Branny) Vickory III in Lenoir County.
An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. Each defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government's burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.