[FONT=Arial, Helvetica, San Serif] SELMA -- Twelve suspected drug dealers were arrested and others sought Wednesday after an early morning sweep through a neighborhood said to have been held captive.
Authorities said the arrests were made without incident with some of those indicted picked up while they were walking around the neighborhood.
U.S. Attorney Deborah Rhodes of Mobile said those indicted were part of the "St. Phillips Boys" street gang and operated in houses where they kept weapons and cash as well as drugs that included crack and powder cocaine and marijuana.
Larry Cooper of the U.S. Department of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms said more than 150 officers took part in the neighborhood sweep and confiscated "thousands of dollars" in cash and numerous weapons and drugs from five different houses along St. Phillips Street.
"We will not stand by while victims are held captive in their neighborhoods," Rhodes said. "Those who commit drug and gun crimes can expect to do hard time."
Dallas County District Attorney Michael Jackson said those arrested and being sought had acted with "impunity" in the east Selma neighborhood "where they stopped cars out in the open to sell their drugs."
"The reign of terror on St. Phillips Street has slowed down," Jackson said at a news conference outside Selma's Federal Building. "People on St. Phillips Street are celebrating today. When they learned about the arrests, they were shouting hallelujahs."
Jackson said most of those named in federal indictments have criminal records and at least two were already in custody in the Dallas County Jail after being convicted on robbery charges.
Indicted were Derrick Andre Daniels, 35; Otto Davion Thompson, 25; Anthony Bernard Daniels, 26; Christopher Ford, 24; Frank Jeffery McGill, 29; Kashif Deondre Norwood, 26; Kordell Sharp, 19; Kevin Javon Moore, 25; Terrance Keoki Callen, 27; Darrell O'Neal Thompson, 28; Jakarta Algernon Bonner and Kenneth Taiwon Moore.
Those arrested were taken to Mobile where they were booked before arraignment later this week.
Federal officials said other suspected drug dealers were being sought following their indictments. They were not named.
If convicted on all the charges against them, those indicted could be sentenced to prison terms up to life, Rhodes said.
Selma Mayor James Perkins Jr. thanked authorities involved in the 15-month-long investigation, but said they should not stop with those named in the indictments.
"People want an upward trail of drug trafficking that leads to bankers, brokers and mega-deals," Perkins said, adding there are "legal ways" of making a living in Selma.
Wow, 150 police officers to arrest 12 dealers. I would consider this overkill in any circumstance, but if you look at the crime rate for Selma it seems that priorities are WAY out of line in this case.
Lets see, the National Crime Index per 100,000 people is 3982.6
The Crime Index for Selma per 100,000 people (in 2004) is 14566.2
The violent crime index per 100,000 nationally is 465.5
The violent crime index per 100,000 in Selma is 1761.3
You would think that 150 police officers would have something better to do than spent alot of man hours working on arresting 12 people. Yeah the people had drugs and guns, but looking at the crime chart murder isn't a big problem in Selma. Assault and theft are way bigger problems. Some people were probably mugged while the police were off going overkill on the dealers.
Typical drug war scenario. It seems that the political victory you get from a successful police operation is worth more than actually reducing crime nowadays.