Law Enforcement Rounds Up Members of Birmingham-based Heroin and Cocaine Conspiracy
BIRMINGHAM -- Federal and local law enforcement today arrested 16 of 24 defendants indicted in September as part of a multi-million dollar conspiracy to distribute heroin and cocaine, mainly within Jefferson County. U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance, FBI Special Agent in Charge Roger C. Stanton, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Veronica Hyman-Pillot and Jefferson County Sheriff Mike Hale announced the charges and arrests.
Today's arrests bring to 23 the number of people either arrested or served with notice to appear as a result of the nearly three-year Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force investigation into the Birmingham-based drug-trafficking conspiracy.
The man accused as the leader of the organization, PATRICK DEWAYNE “Pat” HALL, 37, and his first lieutenant, LOVODAS DEANGELO “Bo,”“BoMo,” “Dee Dee” BLAKE, 26, already were in custody on federal charges related to a large seizure of cocaine on Aug. 1. An FBI SWAT team arrested both men in the early morning of Aug. 2 after the duo hid for several hours in the attic of a North Birmingham home, according to arrest records. The pair ran to the house after leading police on a high-speed chase through northeast Birmingham, then ditching their Chevrolet Tahoe in a front yard. FBI agents recovered more than 10 kilograms of cocaine and almost $20,000 from the vehicle.
Two other defendants already were in custody on state drug-trafficking charges. They are ROBERT LYNN “Trap” THOMAS JR., 26, and CANDIDA ARROYO LEIMAKAMAE OCASIO, 35.
Ocasio lives in Beaumont, Texas, but Hall, Blake, Thomas, and more than half of the 24 defendants live in Birmingham. Among those charged are two men who are featured performers in the North Birmingham-based and regionally known rap group, Trap Team Entertainment. They are JESSTIFUR JAHALIA FERRARI “Leer Jet,” “Leer,” “Jahleer,” “Jet” HURST, 29, and DAVID WAYNE “Northside Weezy” MCDANIEL, 24.
"Beginning at 6 a.m. today, a group of federal and local law enforcement officers dismantled a drug-trafficking operation charged with dumping heroin and cocaine onto the streets of our city. The indictment of 24 individuals for either drug trafficking or laundering drug money represents years of dedicated work by the FBI, Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, IRS-CI, and prosecutors in my office," Vance said. "Solving the problems of crime and addiction related to those drugs requires more than enforcement, though. It requires community awareness of the problems of abuse and addiction, which often start with prescription pills, and a commitment to address those problems by talking to our children about the dangers, safely disposing of unused and unneeded medications, and removing the stigma of addiction so that treatment is more readily sought."
"As a direct result of this enforcement action, the supply network for cocaine and heroin in Birmingham and Jefferson County has been severely disrupted," Stanton said. "I applaud the hard work and teamwork exhibited by my agents, along with our partners at IRS-CI and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, who once again demonstrated the importance of combining the strengths, resources and expertise of federal and local agencies to fight these drug-trafficking networks.”
“IRS Criminal Investigation is proud to be an integral part of this multi-agency OCDETF investigation," Hyman-Pillot said. “It is our goal as financial investigators to assist our law enforcement partners in dismantling drug-trafficking organizations at every level. This is a great illustration of the positive impact law enforcement has when local, state and federal agencies work together.”
"As we all are acutely aware, heroin has returned to our area and has taken lives with a vengeance and without regard to who or where," Hale said. "It is the Satan of the drug trade that devastates families in every community. We can't bring those loved-ones back and we can't restore what has been lost. We can, however, ensure that these dealers responsible for trafficking this killer drug are shut down and brought to justice," the sheriff said. "If they believe they can operate unabated, then I hope this sends them the clear message that we are united in this fight and our resolve is unwavering."
Of the 24 people named in the indictment, 21 face the charge of conspiracy to distribute heroin, cocaine and crack cocaine between January 2012 and August 2015. The indictment charges two defendants with money laundering only, and one defendant with money laundering and one count of using a telephone to facilitate a drug-trafficking crime. The indictment contains 62 of the telephone counts, which variously include 21 of the 24 defendants. The indictment also includes four heroin and four cocaine distribution counts involving 10 of the defendants.
The indictment seeks to have the defendants forfeit $10 million as proceeds of the charged drug-trafficking crimes. It also seeks forfeiture of property including a 2013 Mercedes roadster, valued at over $130,000, a 2013 Harley Davidson motorcycle, and five pieces of real estate, including two Birmingham houses that the indictment charges were the subjects of money laundering transactions.
Indicted in connection with the drug conspiracy, along with Patrick Hall, Blake, Thomas, Jesstifur Hurst, David McDaniel and Ocasio are: ERIC DEMOND “E,” “E Sosa,” “Sosa” HALL, 39, ROYCE THERMON “Rossie,” “Scoe” JOHNSON, 30, TEDDY TONELL “Fresh” DAVIS, 33, BRANDON DION LEWIS, 30, JAMES MARION ROBINSON III, 45, RODRIQUS TYRONE “Dreek” STURDIVANT, 25, DEANGELA KAY “Dee Kay” MCDANIEL, 42, ISRAEL BRAVO “Migo” OLASOAGAR, 37, LENA KENYA IRVINE, 30, and GERLINE A. JONES, 70, all of Birmingham; JESSE TYRONE “Bat,” “Batman” HURST, 58, COREY LIONEL “Mac” PITTS, 24, and PATRICIA ANN NELSON, 54, all of Bessemer; DEANDRE JADARIUS “Dre,” “Profit” HALL, 21, of Hoover, ANTHONY DEJUAN WILLIAMS, 45, of Pinson, JUSTICE MARTINIQUE HOLDEN, 20, of Huntsville, SONJA DENISE “Momma” MITCHELL, 55, of McCalla, and a DEFENDANT KNOWN ONLY AS “Tweety.”
Patrick and Eric Hall are brothers and Deandre Hall is their cousin. Jesstifur Hurst is Jesse Hurst's son. Deangela McDaniel and David McDaniel are mother and son.
The FBI, working with the IRS, the sheriff's offices of Jefferson, Shelby and Tuscaloosa counties, and the Birmingham, Hueytown, Hoover, Tuscaloosa and Vestavia Hills police departments, assembled 18 teams that fanned out across the Birmingham metro area early today and arrested the following defendants:
Jesstifur Hurst, David McDaniel, Eric Hall, Johnson, Davis, Lewis, Robinson, Sturdivant, Deangela McDaniel, Olasoagar, Jesse Hurst, Pitts, Deandre Hall, Williams, Holden, and Mitchell.
Authorities still are seeking the defendant known as Tweety. Tweety is a Houston, Texas, supplier.
Charged with conspiracy to distribute heroin, cocaine and crack cocaine are Patrick, Eric and Deandre Hall, Blake, Jesstifur and Jesse Hurst, David and Deangela McDaniel, Thomas, Johnson, Davis, Lewis, Robinson, Pitts, Sturdivant, Williams, Holden, Mitchell, Ocasio, “Tweety” and Olasoagar.
The indictment separates defendants by the amount and type of drug attributable to them through their actions in the drug-trafficking conspiracy. The defendants, type and amount of illegally trafficked drug attributed to them, and the maximum prison sentence for that crime are as follows:
Patrick, Eric and Deandre Hall, Blake, Jesstifur and Jesse Hurst, David McDaniel, Thomas, Johnson, Lewis and Pitts, 1,000 grams or more of heroin, 10 years to life;
Deangela McDaniel, 100 grams or more of heroin, five to 40 years.
Patrick, Eric and Deandre Hall, Blake, Jesstifur Hurst, David McDaniel, Davis, Robinson, Sturdivant, Williams, Mitchell, Ocasio, Tweety and Olasoagar, five kilograms or more of cocaine, 10 years to life;
Lewis, 500 grams or more of cocaine; five to 40 years;
Patrick Hall, Blake and Jesstifur Hurst, 280 grams or more of crack cocaine; 10 years to life.
Patrick Hall, Blake and Olasoagar also are charged with one count of possessing with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine. Blake faces an additional count of distributing cocaine.
Jesstifur Hurst is charged with three separate counts of distributing heroin and one count of distributing cocaine. Johnson faces one count of distributing heroin. Jesse Hurst and Eric Hall face one count of distributing heroin, and Mitchell, Ocasio and Tweety face one count of possessing with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine.
Patrick Hall, Lewis, Irvine, Nelson and Jones are charged with laundering money derived from the drug-trafficking conspiracy. According to the indictment, Patrick Hall conspired with those four co-defendants between January 2012 and August 2015 to buy property titled in their names. The purchases were:
Harley Davidson FLTRX motorcycle, titled to Lewis;
2013 Mercedes SL550 roadster, titled to Nelson;
House at 3909 35th Ave. N, Birmingham, bought in Jones' name;
House at 356 Killough Drive, Birmingham, bought in Irvine's name.
The maximum penalty for the money laundering charge is 20 years and a fine of $500,000 or twice the value of the property involved in the transaction, whichever is greater.
The FBI, the IRS, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, and other agency members of the FBI’s Safe Streets Task Force investigated the case, which Assistant U.S. Attorneys Gregory R. Dimler and E. Wilson Hunter are prosecuting.
An indictment contains only charges. Defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.