Police and federal agents took a stab at making a dent into a street gang’s drug conspiracy Wednesday arrested 15 Rated R members and associates. Comprised of generations of families, it has been labeled by federal authorities as the biggest criminal street gang operating in the area.
Fifteen suspected members or associates of the Rated R street gang were arrested Wednesday when 125 local, state and federal officers raided a dozen homes.
Those targeted were charged with conspiracy to distribute and possession with the intent to distribute cocaine, crack cocaine and heroin.
Authorities are also looking for two more people, said John Dysart, Supervisory Senior Resident Agent of the FBI’s Canton office.
He declined to name them, but said Wednesday’s operation was just the start.
“This operation represents the first overt phase of a long-term investigation addressing violence and other criminal activities associated with the Rated R Street Gang,” Stephen D. Anthony, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Cleveland office, said in a news release.
The gang has “several dozen” members and is comprised of generations of families in the Canton area, Dysart said.
“(Department of Corrections) data on gang members indicates that Rated R is the largest gang operating in this area,” he said.
The following people were arrested and are scheduled to appear in the U.S. Northern District Court in Cleveland, according the FBI:
Demond Hill; Timothy Bertram; Brian Brown; Jerry Gordon Jr.; Ronald D. Hill; Brandon Jones; John L. Hill; Barry Giamourides; Oscar Todd; Edward Turpin IV; Travis Grant; Lavanya Mayle; Virgil Hill; Bennie Woodson; Perez A. Williams. Their ages and addresses were not available.
Bertram, 28, of 2248 Mahoning Rd. NE, also was charged with felony assault and felony resisting arrest, according to Stark County court records. Authorities said he had been hit with a Taser, was taken to a local hospital for treatment and then released into federal custody.
During the arrests, officers and agents seized undisclosed amounts of crack, cocaine and heroin, packaging materials and guns, some of which were loaded, Dysart said.
The operation was conducted by a Safe Streets Task Force, which is operated by the Canton FBI. It is comprised of officers and agents with the Canton and Alliance police departments, Stark County Intensive Supervision Program and the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.
Anthony said the task force addressed “the most violent street gangs.”
In addition to the task force, the Stark County Metropolitan Narcotics Unit, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, the U.S. Marshals Service and the Stark County Prosecutor’s Office had roles in Wednesday’s operation, Anthony said.
Both Dysart and Canton Police Chief Dean McKimm were hoping the effort yields even greater rewards in crime-fighting.
“It’s a great example of interagency cooperation this time between the feds and local agencies, and I really do think that each of us brought a different complementary asset to the investigation which resulted in what I would call a significant body blow to the city’s most pestilent gang, Rated R,” McKimm said.
Page 2 of 2 - “It’s important to also note that this has the potential to not just rid our streets of a number of thugs that we now will prosecute through the federal system, but it also will produce a significant amount of intelligence related to other local crimes.”
Authorities hope the public will be more forthcoming with information and that, in the hope of reduced sentencing, those arrested will also comply.
“Hopefully it’s the gift that keeps on giving,” McKimm said.
Authorities asked that anyone with information about violent acts committed by Rated R, anyone police have arrested in connection with the gang or other individuals associated with other local criminal street gangs in the Canton area to call the Canton police Detective Bureau at 330-489-3144 or the Safe Streets Task Force at 330-456-6200.