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Authorities bust violent gun and drug trafficking group in Indiana

March 1, 2018  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Authorities bust violent gun and drug trafficking group in Indiana

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Federal, state and local officials in Indiana revealed that 14 suspects have been taken into custody as they dismantled a violent, large-scale drug trafficking enterprise.

During a press conference on Tuesday, authorities revealed the details of “Operation Little Dipper,” which targeted the drug trafficking ring in IMPD’s North District, Fox59 reported.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and Indiana State Police executed several search warrants on Friday, arresting seven people and seizing firearms, drugs, and cash. Information related to the case was sealed until Monday.

U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler reported that police seized ten firearms, including an AK-47, along with meth, cocaine, marijuana and $20,000 during the Friday bust.

“When they are infesting neighborhoods with the sale of guns and drugs, they are infesting neighborhoods with violence,” Minkler said.

According to the federal indictment, the investigation stems back to 2016. Court documents include numerous black and white surveillance photos that show undercover buys of both guns and drugs.

A total of 45 firearms were either purchased or seized during the investigation.

“Every one of those firearms seized was an opportunity for non-fatal shootings or a homicide,” IMPD North district commander Josh Barker stated.

In total, 14 people now face federal charges and harsh penalties, while 56 others face state charges.

The bust occurred after a record-setting year for homicides in Indianapolis. Authorities believe that the 14 suspects share some connection to the violent crimes and their arrests serve to make the city a safer place.

Minkler said the arrests are characteristic of what cooperation among federal, state and local officials can achieve. He hopes the arrests send the message that violent offenses will not be permitted. He’s calling on continued federal prosecutions, which mean harsher penalties and mandatory minimum sentences.

“Violent criminals don’t care if they’re committing state or federal crimes. They hope they don’t get caught with a gun,” Minkler added, noting that Indianapolis has asked for federal assistance in combatting violent crime.

He vowed to wield the “federal hammer” when it comes to drug- and gun-related offenses.

“There’s a lot of help… There are people you can turn to to get out of these organizations,” Minkler continued. “The message is clear: if that file ends up on my desk, it’s too late. There are no alternatives. It’s a mandatory minimum sentence, and off you go to prison. You’re out of this community for 10, 15, 20 years–maybe life. That’s how we do things in the system.”

Several members of the drug operation are suspects in violent crimes in the North District. They called themselves “Stupid Star Entertainment,” which they allege was a rap group based in northeast Indianapolis. Some of their behaviors caught the attention of investigators through videos posted on the internet.

If found guilty, the suspects will face up to a decade or more behind bars.

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