Police, feds smash drug ring with raids at 10 homes

Warren — About 150 law enforcement officers smashed a long-running drug ring that was a major supplier of hard drugs during raids Wednesday at 10 homes in Detroit and Highland Park, authorities said.

DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge Kent Kleinschmidt, left, listens as Warren Police Commissioner William Dwyer answers media questions. The pair announced the dismantling of a drug organization after drug raids in Detroit during a press conference at the Warren Police Department Wednesday afternoon, September 25, 2019.

Warren Police Commissioner Bill Dwyer and Kent Kleinschmidt, an assistant special agent in charge of the Detroit office of the Drug Enforcement Administration, said at a news conference that the raids resulted from an investigation that started in January and netted as-yet untold sums of money, weapons and drugs. Eight people — seven men and one woman — were arrested. 

"This particular organization is a major supplier of heroin, fentanyl and crack in Metro Detroit," Dwyer said.

The U.S. Attorney's Office and DEA requested that much of the details regarding those arrested, including names and locations, be withheld until  federal indictments are unsealed, Dwyer said. Most of the sites raided were on Detroit's east side.

"We are happy with taking a significant amount of drugs off the street and not only disrupting this drug organization but dismantling it," said Dwyer, adding that more arrests are expected.

Dwyer said the ring, a "family" operation whose members have past criminal convictions, has been dealing drugs for "15 to 20 years."

"They were using Mound Road as a corridor for sales from Detroit into Macomb and Oakland County," said Dwyer. "Some have been convicted of drug charges in the past but unfortunately should have received longer sentences. They got out and just went back to work."

"Operation Traffic Jam" was begun by members of Warren's Special Investigations Division who began making undercover drug buys nine months ago in Detroit and in Warren, "moving up the ladder" in the group by making more than two dozen "buys," Dwyer said.

"This was a highly organized, sophisticated operation," he said. "One of the houses were where sales were made; another where drugs were cut, prepared and packaged; and the cash was kept at a third house."

Warren Mayor James Fouts said he was proud of his officers and city's involvement in helping to knock out "dealers of death."

He said it is the second time this year that Warren officers have gone into Detroit to make arrests of suspects he compared to terrorists because of the harm they cause to law-abiding citizens..

"This should act as a warning to drug dealers who think that they are safe — as long as there is a Warren police department or DEA or someone else, you are going to be found, arrested and put away," Fouts said.

Kleinschmidt described the investigation as a "great collaboration" of local, state and federal police agencies. When asked how unusual was it for a suburban police department to conduct raids in Detroit, he replied, "It doesn't happen enough."