MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News)-- The Metro Narcotics of Ouachita have been investigating a crack cocaine drug ring in Monroe for the past year. On Thursday, local and federal agents served federal indictments to those involved.
Thirteen unsuspecting people received a wake-up call Thursday morning as local agents, U. S. Marshalls, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and The United State Drug Enforcement Administration swarmed the homes of those connected in a crack cocaine drug ring.
"All the arrest teams are together, and we've all left at the same time this morning and we're trying to make all the arrests as early as we can," says Lt. Doug Tarver with The Monroe Police Department.
The thirteen involved were presented with federal indictments with the following charge: "Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of cocaine base." These are federal charges.
"We know we have a drug problem here," says Capt. Hank Smith with Monroe Police.
Agents say they haven't had a drug bust in Monroe this big since the 90's. This is the largest the Metro Narcotics of Ouachita has dealt with.
The drug ring was allegedly dealing 15 kilos of cocaine per week. 1 kilo of cocaine costs approximately 28,000. The group was allegedly handling a little less than half a million dollars per week.
"That's a lot," says Capt. Smith.
Authorities arrested 7 of the 13 involved Thursday morning. Police say Jimmy Mitchell was the ring leader, and is now in custody. Some of his distributors and dealers remain at large.
"We know that somebody is going to take their place and we've already started focusing on those groups and we'll chip away at them until we are able to indict them just like we indicted these guys," says Capt. Smith.
Police also recovered a few ounces of crack cocaine and a couple thousand dollars worth of cash at one of the homes.
If you have any information about this case, you are urged to call Metro Narcotics at 396-9316 or crime stoppers at 388-2274.