Heroin ring busted in Michigan City

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Federal drug charges have been leveled against seven men after a months-long investigation by the Michigan City Police Department.
Gregory Brown, 25 and Eric Smith of Chicago; Donnie Allison, 41, Jalen Wilson, 20, Jimmy Thomas, 23, Daniel Mallett, 31 of Michigan City; and Terry Byrd, 33, of Chicago Heights are each charged with aiding and abetting and conspiracy to distribute more than 100 grams of heroin.

In the Michigan City drug market, police say one gram of heroin sells for $150, meaning their charges translate to the conspiracy to selling at least $15,000 worth of heroin.

Complaints started rolling into the Michigan City Police Department’s Street Crimes Unit (SCU) in early 2016. Person after person told officers that a man by the nickname “Black” was selling heroin in the city’s Northport neighborhood.

“We started to realize it’s a much larger player not just some user that’s selling to supply their habit,” said Sgt. Ken Drake, Commander of SCU.

For months, SCU infiltrated “Black’s” extensive drug operation with undercover, controlled, buys and interviews with sources. They were able to identify “Black” as a man by the name of Gregory Brown from Chicago, IL.
Six of Brown’s associates were tracked down and arrested over the course of the investigation. Drake says SCU identified the product as coming from the Chicagoland area.

On September 14, 2016, Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) special agent Dave Ritchie presented the results of the police investigation to the U.S. District Court in South Bend to get the men federally indicted.

Two days later, on September 16, police and law enforcement from across agencies worked together to find everyone involved who was not already in custody at the LaPorte County jail pending drug charges.

Jalen Wilson had already been arrested in March and charged with a number of drug dealing counts, resisting law enforcement and intentionally fleeing police. He has a separate trial set for November 14, 2016 on those charges.

Prosecutors charged Jimmy Thomas in June with five counts relating to dealing drugs.

All seven men are now behind bars.

“In our community, as we’re not as large as Chicagoland I would say it has a very big impact,” explained Drake, “What it does, at least for the next four, five months, shuts things down, quiets things down in terms of what we see with the heroin.”

Drake says it will take time for current drug users to determine who else might be selling heroin, and potentially drive them outside LaPorte County to look for other sources.

When asked if this was it, if they got everyone involved in the alleged drug ring, Drake says, not yet: “There’s definitely other associates out there that are connected to Gregory Brown. This investigation is still continuing on. There’s the possibility that other arrests may occur.”

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