Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Update On Mickey Cobras Arrests -- Warrant Included A Chicago Cop

USA Today follows up on the mass arrests of Mickey Cobras gang members for dealing fentanyl-laced heroin. The add to the tale that among those targeted for arrest was Tashika Sledge, 29, a Chicago police officer. The story states, "Court papers allege that she had a relationship with a gang member and informed the group about law enforcement activities."

The leader of the Mickey Cobras, 29-year-old James Austin, was arrested in Akron, Ohio. A press release from the DEA has more details about both him and his gang's operation:

The drug distribution operation described in the complaint was notable for its scope and marketing tactics. The complaint alleges that the Mickey Cobras sold large quantities of heroin in the Dearborn Homes by marketing different brands, or "lines," of heroin that used distinctive packaging, various recipes for mixing the heroin with other substances, and different brand names --– among them "Reaper," "Penicillin," "Drop Dead," "Lethal Injection" and "Renegade." According to the complaint, anyone seeking to sell a line of heroin in the portion of the Dearborn Homes controlled by the Mickey Cobras had to first obtain permission from defendant Austin and members of the Mickey Cobras "Board of Directors." Everyone who received this permission, with the exception of the highest-ranking gang leaders, also was required to pay a street tax for permission to operate the line. According to the complaint, Austin personally ran two of the most profitable lines of heroin, "Reaper" and "Penicillin," which generated a total of $20,000 to $25,000 per day in revenue.

USA Today had additional details:
The raids occurred at 30 sites in Chicago and its suburbs....

Court papers filed in support of the federal warrants allege that the Mickey Cobra gang controlled at least 10 distribution points in Chicago and at Dearborn Homes.

The gang has been linked to several shootings at the housing complex.

The police had expected hand grenades and assault rifles, but only found a few handguns. They believe the fentanyl was smuggled into Chicago and other cities from Houston, and that the drug had previously been smuggled in from Mexico, where authorities recently shut down an illicit fentanyl lab. [UPDATE: I should add that the DEA believes the Mexican lab to have been the sole supplier of fentanyl to the U.S., but I've seen nothing that reasonably proves that belief to be the truth.]

The DEA was also quite busy in New York and Colombia, where they and Colombian authorities capped a two-year case by seizing $25 million worth of heroin and arresting 56 people, "from its leaders in South America to the drug dealers on New York streets."

My post from this morning about the raids is here.

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