Federal authorities announce big drug bust

Federal authorities announce big drug bust

By Melissa McCrady. CREATED Jun 28, 2011

Milwaukee – Dozens of suspected gang members are behind bars on federal drug charges. United States Attorney James Santelle hosted a news conference Tuesday afternoon at the Federal Courthouse in downtown announcing the charges of 35 men and women in two separate drug busts.

The first bust involves 18 individuals who were indicted in federal court in an 18-count indictment charging conspiracies to distribute heroin, crack cocaine and marijuana; individual acts of drug distribution and maintaining a drug involved premises between June 2008 until June 2011.

Agents say it started at Ruth’s Beauty Salon, 1200 S. Memorial Drive, in Racine when they started investigating a barber.

“The investigation initially focused on a barber at that salon who’s employed there and believed to be assisting in the sale of heroin and crack cocaine at the salon,” James Santelle, U.S. Attorney, said.

Agents arrested that barber, 76 year old owner Ruth Healey and 13 other people they believe were dealing drugs on the streets of Racine.

Rodney Hogan, Tavares Roberts and Willie Overstreet were charged but not arrested. They remain at large.

“We have been able to identify, disrupt and dismantle major drug operations in the city of Racine,” Deputy Chief Art Howell, Racine Police Department, said.

The second bust involves 17 individuals charged with various drug-trafficking and firearms offenses. Indictments were issued in May 2011. The defendants, whom are alleged to be members of the Gangster Disciples street gang, are charged with conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine.

Agents say the suspects got the drugs from beyond the Wisconsin border in Illinois and Texas then distributed cocaine in areas of Milwaukee, Racine, Kenosha and Green Bay.

18 state and federal search warrants were executed in Illinois, Texas and Wisconsin. In Wisconsin, agents seized 18 pistols and one shotgun; approximately $45,000 in cash, several ounces of cocaine; small amounts of crack cocaine and methamphetamine and two pounds of marijuana.

“Should the community feel better today knowing these individuals are not out there? Absolutely,” Santelle said.