Six arrested in Duluth in crack cocaine bustAuthorities arrested six suspects Wednesday after a three-month investigation of Twin Ports crack cocaine dealers by the Duluth Police Department and the Lake Superior Drug and Gang Task Force.
By: Steve Kuchera, Duluth News Tribune, Pine Journal
Authorities arrested six suspects Wednesday after a three-month investigation of Twin Ports crack cocaine dealers by the Duluth Police Department and the Lake Superior Drug and Gang Task Force.
The six were charged with 15 counts, 13 of them felonies, in St. Louis County District Court in Duluth on Friday.
The five men and one woman were arrested in a sweep involving officers with the Duluth Police Department; Lake Superior Drug and Gang Task Force; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; U.S. Forest Service; U.S. Marshal Service; and the Cloquet Police Department.
According to the Duluth Police Department – which released details of the investigation at a news conference Monday – the investigation targeted several people, some of whom had a history of selling crack cocaine in the Twin Ports area. Some also had convictions for felony drug charges and for illegally possessing firearms.
During Wednesday’s sweep, officers executed search warrants as well as bought drugs from the suspects. In addition to arresting the suspects, officers seized five handguns, crack cocaine and other evidence of drug distribution, a large amount of U.S currency from drug sales and several vehicles used to transport drugs.
“There is a direct nexus between drugs and guns,” said Lt. Steve Stracek of the Duluth Police Department at the news conference. “Taking five guns is significant. I think it sends a message to other drug dealers.”
The six suspects, and the crimes there were charged with Friday, are:
• Demetrius Vershaun Bowen, 19, of Duluth, charged with two felony drug counts, one gross misdemeanor count of possessing a pistol without a permit and one misdemeanor count of obstructing legal process.
• Barbara Nicole “Neh Neh” Gilliam, 31, of Duluth, charged with five felony drug counts.
• Steven Maurice “Kadafi” Green, 33, of Duluth, charged with one felony count of being a fugitive. He was arrested on a felony warrant from Cook County, Ill.
• Edell “E.J.” Jackson, 32, of Duluth, charged with three felony drug counts.
• Tory Djuan “T” Patterson, 31, of Duluth, charged with one felony drug count.
• James Edward Griffin “G-Money” Phillips, 38, of Duluth, charged with one felony drug count.
Police allege Green, Jackson and Patterson were working together to sell cocaine, while Bowen and Gilliam worked together. Phillips reportedly was working alone.
According to criminal complaints, the Lake Superior Drug and Gang Task Force bought cocaine from Phillips on eight occasions and Bowen had a loaded handgun when he was arrested Wednesday.
Phillips is free on $35,000 bail; the other five suspects remain in the St. Louis County Jail. All six are scheduled for court appearances later this month. Green waived extradition to Illinois, and authorities from Cook County are expected to return him to that state by the middle of the month. He faces a felony charge of possession firearms in that state.