Thursday, June 26, 2014 at 6:10 PM
As part of law enforcement officials' effort to combat heroin addiction, a grand jury has indicted 31 people on federal charges for their roles in an alleged drug ring in Northeast Ohio. ideastream’s Nick Castele reports the defendants face 107 charges in all.
Federal agents raided several houses in Cleveland Thursday, while the FBI in Chicago made simultaneous arrests. In all, they rounded up 28 people out of the 31 charged, including several already in custody.
They’re accused of buying heroin, cocaine and crack cocaine from suppliers in Chicago and McAllen, Texas, and selling the drugs out of houses in Cleveland.
The head of the local FBI post, Stephen Anthony, says members of the alleged drug ring committed numerous assaults and other violence.
“The streets are going to be safer because these gang members are behind bars," Anthony said. "They don’t settle their disputes in court. They settle their disputes with gunfire. In fact, during this case, one of our gang members actually set a man on fire and murdered him, and that was to settle a drug debt.”
The indictment doesn’t charge them with assault or murder.
It does say leaders of the ring bought houses in poor neighborhoods to hide the money they were making -- and even rehabbed and sold one at a hefty profit.
Law enforcement said many of the indicted were connected to gangs in Cleveland and Chicago. And police are still on the lookout -- three of the people indicted haven’t yet been found.