Feds, locals break up major drug ring

Feds, locals break up major drug ring

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Eight Philadelphians and three others are facing federal drug charges in multiple indictments unsealed Wednesday targeting a large-scale, multi-state drug trafficking operation in East Central Mississippi, U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst announced.

Labeled Operation Highlife, the investigation targeted illegal narcotics distribution in East Central Mississippi. The drug network involved the distribution of over 40 kilograms of methamphetamine, over three kilograms of cocaine and more than 100 pounds of marijuana. The distribution network encompassed multiple states, including Texas, California, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi.

The following individuals have been indicted as a result of Operation Highlife:

Shandlette Hudson, 42, of Philadelphia is charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine and possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine. If convicted, Hudson faces a maximum penalty of life in prison and up to a $20 million fine.

• Dijon James Seales, a/k/a "DJ," 28, of Philadelphia is charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, possession with intent to distribute five grams or more of methamphetamine, being a felon in possession of a firearm, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. If convicted, Seales faces a maximum penalty of life in prison and up to a $25.5 million fine.

• Lorenzo Dyrell Hickman, 32, of Philadelphia is charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute five hundred grams or more of cocaine, and possession with intent to distribute more than five hundred grams or more of cocaine. If convicted, Hickman faces a maximum penalty of life in prison and up to a $20 million fine.

• Latrice Cherrrell Boler, 29, of Philadelphia is charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine. If convicted, Boler faces a maximum penalty of life in prison and up to a $10 million fine.

• Chaddis Demond McAfee, 36, of Philadelphia is charged with possession with intent to distribute more than five hundred grams of methamphetamine, being a felon in possession of a firearm, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. If convicted, McAfee faces a maximum penalty of life in prison and up to a $10.5 million fine.

Courtny Orlando Campbell, 27, of Philadelphia is charged with possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine. If convicted, Campbell faces a maximum penalty of life in prison and up to a $10 million fine.

• Danny L. Drake, 43, of Philadelphia is charged with possession with intent to distribute five grams or more of methamphetamine. If convicted, Drake faces a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison and up to a $5 million fine.

• Kevin Ashley Wells, a/k/a "Big 50," 37, of Philadelphia is charged with possession with intent to distribute five grams or more of methamphetamine. If convicted, Wells faces a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison and up to a $5 million fine.

• Jimmie Terrell Harrison, 43, of Forest is charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm. If convicted, Harrison faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and up to a $250,000.00 fine.

• Tray Beamon, 32, of Louisville charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine and possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine. If convicted, Beamon faces a maximum penalty of life in prison and up to a $20 million fine.

• Brandon Deshanta Miller, 32, of Dallas is charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, and being a felon in possession of a firearm. If convicted, Miller faces a maximum penalty of life in prison and up to a $30.25 million fine.

Philadelphia Police Chief Grant Myers said, "I am really pleased with multiple agencies coming together to work an investigation of this size. This criminal organization is responsible for a significant portion of the illegal narcotics coming into not only Philadelphia but East Central Mississippi as well. Almost all of the crimes we deal with, from assaults to thefts, and everything in between, can be traced back to illegal narcotics. Taking down an organization of this size will have a significant impact on crime in our area."

U.S. Attorney Hurst said, "Illegal drugs are killing our youth, destroying families, and fueling violent crime across our state and our country. I commend our federal, state and local law enforcement officers for coming together to take down this criminal element plaguing our communities"

"Yesterday's arrests are a result of the commitment and tenacity that our law enforcement brethren have to dismantling criminal organizations wherever they may be found. Because of this work, our streets, neighborhoods and citizens in East Central Mississippi are safer today," he said.

Special Agent in Charge Jere T. Miles of Homeland Security Investigations in New Orleans said, "Methamphetamine has devastated countless communities due to the dramatic health and public safety consequences that typically accompany its introduction into an area."

The OCDETF operation is a result of a joint investigation by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics. Assisting agencies include the Philadelphia Police Department, Neshoba County Sheriff's Department, Neshoba County District Attorney's Office, Scott County Sheriff's Office, Flowood Police Department, Rankin County Sheriff's Department, Hinds County Sheriff's Department, Carthage Police Department, Union Police Department, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Louisville Police Department, Mississippi Highway Patrol, United States Attorney's Office Southern District of Mississippi and the United States Marshal Service. Assistant U.S. Attorney Erin Chalk is prosecuting the case.

The OCDETF program is a joint federal, state and local cooperative approach to combat drug trafficking and is the nation's primary tool for disrupting and dismantling major drug trafficking organizations, targeting national and regional level drug trafficking organizations, and coordinating the necessary law enforcement entities and resources to disrupt or dismantle the targeted criminal organization and seize their assets.

Arraignments are scheduled for tomorrow before United States Magistrate Judge F. Keith Ball at 9 a.m. and before United States Magistrate Judge Linda R. Anderson at 9:30 a.m.

A criminal indictment is a formal charge against a defendant. Under the law, that charge is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.





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