Report of possible human trafficking leads to 42 indictments in Alabama drug ring
Published 4:45 pm Monday, October 26, 2020
A report of possible prostitution and human trafficking from a private citizen has led to the indictment of 42 people in a Mobile County drug ring.
The indictments are part of a two-year effort to crack what officials have called the Crossley Hill Drug Trafficking Organization. Richard Moore, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Alabama, made the announcement in a press conference Monday morning that detailed the multi-agency effort.
Twenty-two of those indicted had been arrested by midday Monday, in addition to others who were already were in custody.
Moore’s office reported to Al.com that opioids, including prescription drugs and street narcotics, were being distributed by the drug ring.
According to the summary from Moore’s office, “the Crossley Hill DTO operated in Mobile County, Alabama, and elsewhere, distributing various controlled substances, including heroin, fentanyl, methamphetamine, Xanax, Oxycodone, Opana, and Roxicodone to customers in Southern Alabama and elsewhere. Relying on regional and local sources of supply to acquire substances for its distribution, the indictment alleges that the Crossley Hills DTO, beginning in 2016, has distributed a substantial amount of the heroin in Mobile County, Alabama. These heroin sales have led to numerous overdoses resulting in hospitalizations and deaths.”
The indictment says that the drug ring was active in west Mobile County and that it was “primarily a neighborhood-based street level operation.” Drugs that were distributed by the drug ring included a type of fentanyl-laced heroin. Members of the drug ring reportedly traveled to Pensacola, New Orleans and Biloxi to obtain heroin. The indictment also alleges that one member withheld drugs from addicted customers, who were going through severe withdrawals until they performed “sexual acts on his person and/or other individuals.”
The case was reportedly initiated from a report of a possible prostitution/human trafficking matter by a private citizen, Kellie A. Holland, supervisory special agent of the FBI’s violent crimes squad in Mobile, told Al.com.
A hotel owner in Mobile County reportedly allowed drug activity on its premises. Several overdoses happened on the hotel property.
“As a result, the three owners of what had been known, and named, formerly the Regency Inn have been federally charged and arrested for operating a drug-involved premises,” Holland said.
Other agencies that participated with the effort included the DEA, the Mobile Police Department, ATF, the Mobile County Sheriff’s Office, Homeland Security Investigations and the FBI. The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency the Baldwin County Drug Task Force and the Saraland Police Department also participated.