Columbia Violent Gangs Task Force Arrests 24 Gang Cocaine Suppliers
COLUMBIA, SC—Twenty four (24) defendants made initial appearances in Federal Court today on Indictments charging them with conspiracy to traffic cocaine/crack cocaine and money laundering offenses based on those defendants supplying local street gangs with illegal drugs. The defendants were arrested over the past two days by members of the Columbia Violent Gangs Task Force. The investigation began in early 2013, and has continued up through the arrests yesterday and today.
U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles said, “The aim of the Violent Gangs Task Force is to take the criminal network out of operation—from the top supplier to the street corner operative—and in so doing hand the streets back over to the law-abiding citizens. These kinds of cases take time to build and FBI Special Agent Dave Thomas and I want to thank the law enforcement agencies that worked to put the case together, particularly the City of Columbia Police Department, Richland County Sheriff’s Department and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, for the time put in.”
Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge David Thomas stated, “Dismantling violent gangs is a continuing priority for the FBI. We share a long commitment with our law enforcement partners to address the dangerous threat facing our communities today. The arrests demonstrate our focus and determination to strike at gang related enterprises and to eliminate the terror these groups inflict on our neighborhoods.”
This case is being investigated by the Columbia Violent Gangs Task Force (CVGTF), led by agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The CVGTF is part of the FBI’s Safe Streets Task Force initiative. The CVGTF is an investigative and enforcement partnership between the FBI, Richland County Sheriff’s Department (RCSD), Columbia Police Department (CPD), and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED).