Eight of 12 Charlotte men wanted in connection with a crack cocaine ring in the Hidden Valley community were rounded up and jailed by police and federal agents early Wednesday.
“The individuals arrested this morning have engaged in multiple drug transactions in an area of Charlotte that has been plagued by drug trafficking and drug-related criminal activity,” U.S. Attorney Jill Rose said in announcing the arrests.
Two of the people arrested Wednesday were identified members of the Hidden Valley Kings, a homegrown gang that held a violent grip on the drug trade in the north Charlotte community for decades. Charlotte-Mecklenburg police and federal agents rounded up senior members of the Kings in 2007, and in 2013 obtained a court-ordered injunction that allowed officers to arrest Kings’ members who congregated together.
Police say that although some crime problems persist, previous actions have successfully cut the head off the organization.
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“The Hidden Valley Kings, I think they’re long gone,” said Capt. Rob Dance, who heads the police division that includes the Hidden Valley neighborhood. “We went in, we broke them apart. ... Now, new and younger kids are getting involved and associating themselves with what once was.”
Rose said although the arrests involved the third such initiative in Hidden Valley, “it will not be our last. As long as drug traffickers continue to return to this area, bringing drugs and drug-fueled violence, we will be primed to address the criminal activity.”
A federal grand jury returned the criminal indictment in the case March 17. The indictment was unsealed Wednesday morning after the arrests.
Court documents say the ring operated from May 2015 until January.
Each man named in the indictment is charged with conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute crack cocaine and related drug offenses. Each count in the indictment carries a maximum 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine.
Those arrested on multiple counts were Angelo Tyrone Brown, 32; Derandell Lamont Stewart, 32; Larry Reid Jr., 41; Breon Montrez Massey, 33; Thomas Decarlo Perry, 35; Kenneth Lanier Reid, 36; Kenneth Eugene Gray, 33; and Toney Riychaad Robinson, 34.
Yet to be arrested are James David Ratliff, 25; Ronald Dean Coleman Jr., 31; Dale Johnson Mathews, 24; and Darius Kennard Robinson, 35.