Ten of the alleged drug dealers arrested in yesterday’s “Operation 50/50 Love” have been federally charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine and other drug crimes, announced Acting U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Prerak Shah.
The operation – which involved more than 400 agents from the FBI, Dallas Police Department, DEA, and ATF – was announced at a press conference Thursday. Over the course of the investigation, law enforcement seized 36 weapons, more than $58,000 cash, six vehicles, and more than 18 kilograms of drugs, including suspected powder cocaine, crack cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, marijuana, and PCP.
Defendant initial appearances began Friday morning.
According to court documents unsealed today, a number of defendants allegedly used so-called “trap room” on Meyers Street in Park Row, one of the most consistently violent areas in the city of Dallas, to distribute drugs.
The defendants – many of them gang members known for their involvement in various criminal activities, from illegal weapons trafficking to aggravated assault – operated out of an apartment complex made up of parallel two-story buildings.
Each trap room sold a specific type of controlled substance, and was equipped with a counter where sellers cut, packaged, and distributed drugs. Occasionally, when they ran low, sellers would “re-up” with controlled substances stored in vehicles parked on the property. For a small fee, dealers permitted customers to use drugs in a “party” unit onsite.
Competing factions dealt cocaine and other narcotics out of the “left side” and “right side” of the apartments, but were known to do so without retribution against the opposite side. Occasionally, when one side unexpectedly ran out of drugs, the opposing side would “loan” them drugs to sell. At one point, the “right side” permitted the “left side” to operate out of the “right side” due to a shooting at a trap house on the “left side.”
To secure drugs and maintain control, sellers on the “left side” possessed firearms, which they often kept in plain view near the drug counter.
“Like many cities across the country, Dallas is bracing for a surge in violent crime this summer. Violence almost always spikes in the summer months. But the chaos and frustration surrounding the pandemic has only made things more unpredictable and more volatile,” Acting U.S. Attorney Shah said during Thursday afternoon’s press conference (watch here). “The agencies and the people here today analyzed which areas and identified which people and groups were the drivers of violent crime, the types of crime that devastate communities, and then took decisive action against those individuals… The law enforcement action you saw today actually serves two purposes: first, to take some of our city’s most violent criminals off the streets, but also, to signal to the rest of the city that the feds are watching, we’re working with Dallas Police Department, and we’re ready to take action. Our efforts to stop violent crime in this city are only starting.”
“Fighting violent crime is a responsibility that we all share, and the Dallas FBI is proud to work alongside the Dallas Police Department, DEA, ATF and others as we deploy our collective strength to ensure the safety and security of our neighborhoods,” said FBI Dallas Special Agent in Charge Matthew J. DeSarno. “This FBI Dallas Safe Streets Task Force investigation combined traditional law enforcement techniques with intelligence resources which led to Thursday’s successful operation to remove criminal elements from our streets and protect the residents of Dallas.”
“The message today for the residents of Dallas is simple: the Dallas Police Department is not alone in keeping our community safe. The Dallas Police Department is not alone in weeding the criminal element off of our streets and the Dallas Police Department is not alone in seeding our communities with hope,” said Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia.
Some defendants were charged via indictment, others via criminal complaint.
Those charged via indictment include:
- Sataurus Joe Jackson, aka “Slicc,” charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance
- Ardairus DeQuall Vatin, aka “Decc,” charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance and possession with intent to distribute cocaine base (crack cocaine)
- Antuan Fulce, aka “Fatboy” or “Big Homie,” charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance and possession with intent to distribute cocaine base
- Daymion Savannah-Womack, aka “Boulevard,” charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance and possession with intent to distribute marijuana
- Terry Lee Hicks, charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance and possession with intent to distribute cocaine base
- Exie Denise Alexander, charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance and possession with intent to distribute cocaine base
- Aretha Lashun Minter, aka “Shun,” charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance
Those charged via criminal complaint include:
- David Antwon Ricks, aka “Coogi,” charged with possession with intent to distribute cocaine base
- Mark Antony White, charged with possession with intent to distribute cocaine
Additional name(s) will become available as they are unsealed by the court.
Indictments and complaints are merely allegations of criminal conduct, not evidence. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
If convicted, they face up to 20 years per count in federal prison.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Dallas Safe Streets Task Force, along with the Dallas Police Department, headed up the investigation, with assistance from the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Dallas Field Division and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives’ Dallas Field Division. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lindsey Beran and Nicole Dana are prosecuting the case.
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