Federal investigators bust North North Boys crack cocaine ring in Grand Rapids
GRAND RAPIDS -- Federal authorities say they've busted a crack cocaine dealing ring that allegedly made "hundreds of thousands of dollars" and then funneled the profits into cars and houses bought by intermediaries.
In a criminal indictment unsealed Wednesday, investigators accuse 10 people of either leading the North North Boys drug gang, making deliveries or serving as part of a money-laundering scheme that began in 2002 and ran through last month.
"(The group) took great measures to avoid detection by law enforcement," according to court records.
Authorities said the ring used unspecified counter-surveillance methods, conducted drug transactions on short notice at varying locations and routinely switched phones used to make the sales.
The indictment alleges the suspects also moved drugs and the proceeds from various houses and apartments. Records do not show how much crack the group dealt, but that it was more than 11 pounds.
"During the course of the conspiracy, the North North Boys organization was extremely profitable, making deliveries almost continuously throughout the day," the indictment states.
Court records show drug-related cash was used to buy six houses, a Chevrolet Avalanche, a BMW and a Mercedes. The group also opened credit cards at home improvement stores, purchasing items to renovate the residences, authorities allege.
The suspects include: Cheyenne Trice Jr., Cheyenne Trice Sr., Tisha Goodman, Jeffrey Johnson, Ariel Clark, Curtis Palmer, Shomari Goodman, James McCuller, Jeffrey Koster and John Zickus.
Nine of the 10 suspects appeared in federal court Wednesday and will remain in custody pending hearings that could allow them to go free on bond. Authorities say McCuller has not been arrested.
The drug charges carry a minimum of 10 years in prison and also carry the potential of a life sentence. Money-laundering charges filed against each of the Trices and Goodman carry a maximum of 20 years in prison.
Investigators say Cheyenne Trice Sr. deposited at least $163,998 into his account tied to the drug sales.
By Nate Reens | The Grand Rapids Press
October 22, 2009, 1:18PM