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Members of a local drug operation allegedly weren't happy with the quality of the cocaine they'd purchased from a contact in Phoenix — but, federal authorities say, they tried to smuggle the mediocre dope into Detroit anyway.

FBI agents arrested three members of the alleged drug gang Sunday as they tried to smuggle more than 13 kilograms of cocaine into Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport, according to an indictment filed this week in U.S. District Court.

The arrests follow an April 8 seizure in which two other alleged members of the organization were caught with 8.47 kilos of cocaine at the airport, said the indictment, filed Monday.

Agents also raided two homes in West Bloomfield, and another in Oak Park, seizing guns, 492 grams of heroin, drug scales and false Arizona driver's licenses, the indictment said.

Federal prosecutors allege David Matlock (aka Bennie Campbell), Kwana Spears, Anthony Carrencjie (aka Pootie), Carl Hardwick (aka Wick), Carrie Burks and Nikita Brackett were drug dealers and couriers who operated in Las Vegas, Phoenix and Metro Detroit.

Randall Upshaw is the only attorney for the defendants The Detroit News was able to contact Thursday. He said: "I just got this case, and I don't have enough information about it to comment."

Agents tapped the phones of the alleged dealers and their employees, according to the 14-page indictment. On April 5, Spears, who allegedly was a drug courier, phoned Matlock to discuss the quality of the cocaine she'd purchased from a contact in Phoenix, the indictment said.

"It's all shriveled up ... (probably) from the travel, it got pressed down," Spears said, describing one of the bricks of cocaine, according to the indictment.

"Quit making excuses for it," Matlock replied, the indictment said. "Ain't no stamp on it."

Spears went on to tell Matlock that 14 of the 15 packets contained drugs that looked "silky and flaky," which, the indictment explained, describes the appearance of high-quality cocaine.

"Flight records and historical location data revealed that Spears had traveled from Las Vegas to the Phoenix, Arizona area, where she is believed to have met with the suspected source of supply," the indictment said. 

FBI agents learned through the wiretaps that Spears and an unidentified female would be flying into Metro Airport on April 8. 

"After arriving, both Spears' checked luggage and the other female's were seized planeside by law enforcement without either party's knowledge," the indictment said. "A drug detecting K-9 alerted positively to the presence of drugs in both checked bags."

Then, on July 7, FBI agents were again waiting at Metro Airport, after wiretapped conversations revealed a plan to smuggle more cocaine from Phoenix. According to the indictment, agents seized three bricks of cocaine weighing 3.575 kilos from Carrencjie's luggage; four bricks weighing 4.870 kilos from Hardwick's baggage; and four bricks weighing 4.945 kilos from Burks' luggage.

Brackett was arrested at the airport while driving a car registered to Hardwick — "presumably to pick up the couriers," the indictment said.

ghunter@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2134

Twitter: @GeorgeHunter_DN

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