Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said Thursday officers have broken up a
Southwest Baltimore drug ring that could have had a hand in the city’s record May violence.
The Baltimore Sun reports Batts announced the indictment of 11 suspects on conspiracy to distribute drugs. Several will also face gun charges, as police seized five handguns. The police crime lab will test the weapons to see if they match any shootings and homicides, including the 42 homicides in May, the city’s most in 25 years.
“We continue to take criminals to jail,” Batts said, a possible reference to recent accusations of a slowdown in police work.
On Wednesday, a federal grand jury indicted 14 alleged Black Guerilla Family members of conspiracy and other charges related to drug dealing in Baltimore and Howard County.
Police have arrested Damonte Smith, Lamar Jones, Keon Powell, Derrick Powell, Kennard Jackson, Samuel Alston and Harold Johnson. Kevin Pratt was already in custody, having been charged in a Memorial Day double shooting that injured a 9-year-old in the 2900 block of Arunah Avenue. Three suspects remain at large.
The indictments and 10 search warrants served Wednesday mark the culmination of a two-month investigation aided by the Drug Enforcement Administration. Investigators saw suspects dealing drugs during the daytime, and shootings also allowed police to follow the suspects tracks, BPD Special Enforcement Section commander Lt. Col. Sean Miller said, according to the Sun.
“They tipped their hand with the violence they conducted,” Miller said.
Officials withheld other details that are remaining sealed pending a possible federal indictment, WBAL-TV reports.
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