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Crack cocaine crimes net two time in prison

The man who authorities say was the leader of a drug gang that distributed between 88 and 132 pounds of cocaine and crack cocaine in the Twin Ports area was sentenced Tuesday to more than 10 years in prison.

The man who authorities say was the leader of a drug gang that distributed between 88 and 132 pounds of cocaine and crack cocaine in the Twin Ports area was sentenced Tuesday to more than 10 years in prison.

Bernard "Mooch" Vann, 42, of Duluth was sentenced to 126 months in prison and five years supervised release in federal court in Minneapolis. Co-defendant Angelo M. Castleman, 24, of Duluth was sentenced to 60 months in prison and five years supervised release on one count of distribution of cocaine base.

Vann, Castleman and 25 other members of the ring were indicted in July 2007. Most of the defendants already have been sentenced. Quincy Jonathan Mason, 26, of St. Paul and Roynell Taylor, 24, of Duluth are scheduled to be sentenced Thursday in Minneapolis.

According to federal search warrants filed in the case, law enforcement in the Duluth area had been investigating a cocaine and crack cocaine distribution ring for the past two years. Vann, the owner of Hot Gear Cold Grills & Beauty Supply, located on First Street, was the primary focus of that investigation, and used the store to deliver the drugs.

"We will continue the exceptional partnership that we have with the Lake Superior Drug and Gang Task Force to remove those who threaten the quality of life in the Twin Ports area, which has become a very uncomfortable place to be an armed drug dealer," Bernard Zapor, special agent in charge of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said in a news release.

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