ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Duluth police say drug trafficking ring involved trading food stamps for cocaine

Duluth police today said they have arrested 30 people and are looking for at least seven more as part of "Operation Crackdown," a cocaine trafficking investigation.

Drug arrests
Suspects arrested by Duluth police and other agencies as part of a cocaine trafficking investigation in February 2013. (Duluth Police Department)

Duluth police today said they have arrested 30 people and are looking for at least seven more as part of "Operation Crackdown," a cocaine trafficking investigation.

The Lake Superior Drug and Violent Crime Task Force, the Duluth Police Department and other agencies made the arrests starting Tuesday, the result of an investigation started in May, police said in a statement.

Police said more than 37 suspects have been identified and most of those suspects currently have outstanding warrants for their arrest. Officials said many of the suspects in the investigation have significant criminal histories including offenses related to drug trafficking, weapon violations, assaults and other violent crimes.

Many of these defendants are facing multiple charges for the sale of crack cocaine that occurred in the cities of Duluth and Superior. Several defendants will be prosecuted in Douglas County for charges stemming from the operation.

Arrests were made across Duluth and Superior, and in the Twin Cities.

ADVERTISEMENT

During the investigation, task force investigators identified a trend in the narcotics trafficking -- trading so-called food stamp or EBT/SNAP cards in exchange for crack cocaine.

"These trades were made at rates equal to approximately 50 percent of the face value of the card. Crack cocaine with a street value of approximately $100 was purchased with cards holding benefits equal to $200,'' police said in this morning's release.

Several of the suspects in this case face charges related to trafficking crack cocaine and wrongfully obtaining public assistance.

"The fact that this case involved food stamp benefits being traded for narcotics makes it all the more egregious,'' the release notes.

Those arrested so far, and the charges they face, include:

  • Belinda Marie Walker, 33, aka "Bey-Bey" -- six counts of 3rd degree sale of controlled substance, two counts 2nd degree sale of controlled substance in a school zone, one count wrongfully obtaining public assistance
  • Artist Samuel Sanders, 33, aka "A-Dog" -- one count 3rd degree sale of controlled substance, one count 2nd degree sale of controlled substance in a school zone
  • Latonya Alexander Moss, 25, aka "Tiny" -- one count 3rd degree sale of controlled substance, one count wrongfully obtaining public assistance -- aid and abet
  • Darrius Darrell Guyton, 28, aka "Ave"-- six counts 3rd degree sale of controlled substance, six counts 2nd degree sale of controlled substance in a school zone, three counts wrongfully obtaining public assistance -- aid and abet.
  • Dawson Kenneth Coleman, 22 -- one count 3rd degree sale of controlled substance, one count wrongfully obtaining public assistance -- aid and abet.
  • Russell Eddie Lee Jones, 37, aka "Big C" -- two counts 2nd degree sale of controlled substance, two counts 2nd degree sale of controlled substance in a school zone, one count wrongfully obtaining public assistance.
  • Albert Lewis Johnson Sr., 56, aka "Big Al" -- one count 1st degree sale of controlled substance, six counts 3rd degree sale of controlled substance, six counts 2nd degree sale of controlled substance in a school zone, one count 5th degree sale of marijuana, one count wrongfully obtaining public assistance -- aid and abet.
  • Christopher Forrest Cook, 36 -- violation of probation warrant for 2nd degree burglary and 5th degree controlled substance crime.
  • Matthew Dee Hollingsworth, 27, aka "Black" -- one count 3rd degree sale of controlled substance, two counts sale of a simulated controlled substance
  • Timothy Lee Johnson, 50, aka "Bagman" -- seven counts 3rd degree sale of controlled substance, three counts wrongfully obtaining public assistance -- aid and abet
  • Daryl Brian Pearson, 56 -- one count 3rd degree sale of controlled substance
  • Sylvester Robinson, 58 -- one count 3rd degree sale of controlled substance
  • Juanita Moy, 58, aka "TT" -- three counts 3rd degree sale of controlled substance, one count 5th degree possession of controlled substance.
  • Christopher Edward Soward, 37, aka "CJ" -- four counts 3rd degree sale of controlled substance
  • Belinda Marie Walker Sr., 55 -- four counts 3rd degree sale of a controlled substance
  • Jarvis Michael Cunningham, 24, aka "A-1" -- four counts 3rd degree sale of controlled substance
  • Darius Jared Honeycutt, 26, aka "D" -- two counts 3rd degree sale of controlled substance
  • Ronald Paris Riles, 35, aka "P" -- one count 2nd degree sale of controlled substance in a school zone; additional charges related to drug and firearms violations
  • Shawn Wardell Embry, 36, aka "Detroit" -- one count 3rd degree sale of controlled substance, one count 5th degree possession of a controlled substance
  • Leon Jones, 33, aka "Lee John" -- four counts 3rd degree sale of controlled substance
  • Thomas Ardell Gentry, 24, aka "Streets" -- 1st degree possession and sale of crack cocaine
  • Jeffery Holman, 55 -- 1st degree possession and sale of crack cocaine
  • Laquendrick Lenel As-Sidiq, 23 -- 1st degree possession and sale of crack cocaine
  • Zuriel Antwon Gray, 32, aka "D-Boy, Nephew, Twan, T-Money" -- four counts 3rd degree sale of controlled substance
  • Anthony Alton Holloway, 26, aka "T, Tone, Teeth" -- controlled substance sales charges in Douglas County
  • Loretta Lee McGowen, 61 -- one count 3rd degree sale of controlled substance, one count liability for crimes of another
  • Ronald Edward Profit, 24, aka "P" -- one count 2nd degree sale of controlled, one count 3rd degree possession of controlled substance
  • r Clinton Lee Strother, 54, aka "Uncle" -- one count 2nd degree sale of controlled substance in a school zone
  • Derrick Lamar Tyler, 45, aka "Peace or Cold Peace" -- controlled substance sales charges in Douglas County
  • Kenyon Rashawn Latham, 21, aka "Yannie" -- one count 3rd degree sale of a controlled substance Agencies involved in the investigation include the Superior Police Department, St. Louis County Sheriff's Office, Boundary Waters Drug Task Force, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Marshal Service, U.S. Forest Service, Cloquet Police Department, Carlton County Sheriff's Office, Fond du Lac Police Department, Lake County Sheriff's Office, St. Louis County Attorney's Office and the St. Paul Police Department.

  • Related Topics: CRIMEPOLICE
    John Myers reports on the outdoors, natural resources and the environment for the Duluth News Tribune. You can reach him at jmyers@duluthnews.com.
    What To Read Next
    The system crashed earlier this month, grounding flights across the U.S.