Justice Department Transfers West Dallas Properties to Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity for Demolition and Development
Properties Were Forfeited Following Successful Prosecution of the Gator Boyz Drug Trafficking and Criminal Street Gang
DALLAS — U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña and U.S. Marshal Randy Ely, of the Northern District of Texas, hosted an event this morning to transfer ownership, under a Justice Department program entitled, “Operation Goodwill,” of four forfeited properties on Life Avenue in West Dallas to the Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity for demolition and development. The properties were forfeited to the government as a result of the successful investigation, by the Dallas Police Department’s Gang Unit and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), of the violent drug trafficking and criminal street gang, known as the Gator Boyz, who bought and used these properties to traffic their drugs.
U.S. Attorney Saldaña and Marshal Ely were joined by Special Agent in Charge Robert Champion, of the Dallas ATF, and Dallas Police Chief David Brown in presenting a ceremonial deed of transfer to Mr. David W. McKeever, Jr., the Chief Financial Officer of Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity; Mr. Mike Rawlings, Dallas Mayor and Mr. Randy Skinner, Executive Director of Strategic Justice Initiatives.
Marshal Ely advised, “The United States Marshals Service is proud to partner with those in our community seeking to revitalize neighborhoods that have been affected by gang and drug-related crime. Through programs like Operation Goodwill, we are able to take the ill-gotten gains from this criminal activity and redirect them toward legitimate needs in our communities.”
“From the very beginning of this investigation, it was clear that we wanted to not only take these criminals, who were holding this neighborhood hostage, off the street, but take back this neighborhood for its residents so they could once again feel safe and secure,” said U.S. Attorney Saldaña. “I commend the Dallas Police Department’s Gang Unit and ATF for their combined investigative efforts and all of those who worked tirelessly to see the properties transferred to Habitat for redevelopment.”
“At Dallas Habitat, one of our biggest goals is to revitalize, reclaim and reinvent entire neighborhoods, and that’s exactly what we are doing by getting rid of these properties,” said Mr. McKeever. “This neighborhood simply cannot move forward and improve until these out of place, run down drug houses are gone.”
The Gator Boyz, which was made up of members of both the Bloods and Crips, used drug proceeds to purchase houses, including these four properties on Life Avenue. This gang, not only dealt drugs from these properties, but further terrorized the neighborhood by walking an alligator on a leash down the street. Thanks to the tremendous efforts of the Dallas Police Department’s Gang Unit and ATF, approximately 304 grams of crack cocaine, 440 grams of marijuana and dozens of firearms were seized. In addition, approximately 20 gang members were convicted, including the gang’s leaders, brothers Patrick and Tyrone Weatherall, who are now serving 20 and 30-year federal prison sentences.
Dallas Habitat recognizes its longtime partner, Republic Title, for their research and time commitment in making these property transfers possible.
Since 1986, Dallas Habitat has served more than 1,200 low-income families, in more than 25 neighborhoods, using affordable homeownership as an anchor for hope, change and stabilization. Dallas Habitat believes that hard-working individuals and families be provided the opportunity to live in thriving neighborhoods where hopes and dreams are realized. For more information on Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity visit http://www.dallasareahabitat.org.
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