LAWFUEL – Legal Newswire – A high-ranking member of a Pomona gang associated with the Crips, his girlfriend and a dozen other gang members and associates have been arrested on federal narcotics-trafficking charges resulting from a joint federal-state investigation that targeted gang activity in the East Los Angeles County community. The lead defendant in the case was arrested nearly three weeks ago, two are already in state custody and 10 additional defendants were arrested this morning during a joint law enforcement operation.
A 17-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury last week accuses 23 defendants of participating in a drug ring that trafficked in cocaine, crack cocaine and marijuana. The indictment documents a series of transactions involving kilogram-quantities of cocaine.
One of the gang leaders – Jerron Johns, 27, of San Bernardino – was arrested on January 30 following a year-long investigation. Johns allegedly sold nearly one kilogram of crack cocaine to undercover cooperators who were working with investigators. Johns’ girlfriend – Los Angeles County Probation Officer Crystal Dillard – who participated in multiple crack cocaine transactions with Johns, was also arrested last month. Both Johns and Dillard remain in federal custody.
Another alleged gang leader – Raymond King, 37 – is a fugitive who is currently being sought by federal authorities. Law enforcement authorities believe King is the main source of crack cocaine in Pomona. Both King and Johns face potential sentences of life without parole because of their prior drug-related convictions.
“This is the fourth successful operation targeting street gangs in as many months,” said United States Attorney Thomas P. O’Brien. “My office and other federal law enforcement agencies have partnered with local enforcement to take gang members off the streets of our communities. We will continue to work with local authorities to go after the worst street gangs that traffic in narcotics and terrorize neighborhoods with their violence.”
During the investigation, authorities identified seized approximately four kilograms of cocaine, approximately one kilogram of crack cocaine and several firearms. In at least one instance, Dillard and Johns allegedly participated in a crack cocaine transaction while accompanied by a young child.
Salvador Hernandez, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI in Los Angeles, stated: “The FBI is proud of its successful partnership with the Pomona Police Department, the DEA and its other law enforcement partners, which has resulted in the removal of violent gang members from the streets of Pomona. We will continue to use all available resources to fight these criminal enterprises.”
Pomona Police Chief Joe Romero said: “The close relationship between the Pomona Police Department, the FBI and other federal partners has been the key element of this investigation. Such collaboration not only enhances our ability to fight gangs and drug dealers, but it also serves as a model for future crime-fighting operations in Pomona. I am confident that our continued partnership will achieve much more for my community.”
The 10 defendants arrested this morning are:
Jeremiah Johnson, 29;
Matthew Moore, 27;
Carl Ingram, 29;
Karriem Bradford, 34;
Nekea Rojas, 28;
Miracle Wilkerson, 30;
Alicia Bass, 23;
Willie Ward, 35;
Michael Woods, 37; and
Eric Quintin Massengale, 46 ;
The two defendants already in state custody are Lakiea Jones, 27 and Maleek Jenkins, 31.
In addition to King, authorities are still seeking several defendants named in the indictment. They are:
an unidentified man know as G-Whip and Big G;
Arif Habib, 26;
Larry Kirk, 27 ;
Jamie Bailey, 44 ;
April Green, 32 ;
Brandi Hall, 28 ;
Joseph Crawford, 39 ; and
James Dixon, 39.
The investigation into the Pomona gangs was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Drug Enforcement Administration; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and the Pomona Police Department. These agencies received the support and assistance of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, the San Bernardino Police Department, the LA IMPACT Task Force and the Montebello Police Department.
CONTACT: Assistant United States Attorney Fred W. Slaughter
Violent and Organized Crime Section
Release No. 08-017