Federal authorities yesterday announced narcotics and firearms charges against 13 people, mostly from Philadelphia, accused of dealing nearly $2 million in cocaine here and in Maryland.
To protect their enterprise, a federal indictment alleges, drugs were traded in Maryland for firearms, many of which were transported to Philadelphia.
The indictment, returned Nov. 28 by a federal grand jury in Philadelphia, was unsealed yesterday. All but two of the suspects have been arrested and are in custody.
The men are accused of conspiring to sell cocaine and crack, largely in Southwest Philadelphia and in Cecil County, Maryland. More than 100 kilograms of the drugs were distributed between November 2002 and March 2007, the indictment says.
Some of the suspects already were in custody on unrelated charges; others were arrested in the last week.
The accused leader of the drug ring was identified as Kareem Smith, 29, of the 1700 block of Church Lane. According to the indictment, Smith oversaw the purchase of cocaine in Philadelphia, then had it taken in plastic bags and sealed straws to Maryland. There, the indictment said, the cocaine was cooked into crack and either sold or returned to Philadelphia for sale.
Others from Philadelphia facing charges are Jamal Turnquest, 23, of the 5200 block of Greenway Avenue; Darryle Dunbar, 28, of the 1600 block of South Conestoga Street; Daaniyal Muhammad, 26, of the 5300 block of Greenway Avenue; Vernice Garvin, 33, of the 5600 block of Elmwood Avenue; Malik Bland, 23, of the 500 block of High Street; Frederick Lecount, 33, of the 1800 block of Cecil Street; Steven Bernard, 28, of the 1600 block of South Wilton Street; and Kenneth Baldwin, 38, of the 1300 block of South Paxon Street.
Still at large are Bland and David Spratt, 40, a Maryland resident with Philadelphia ties. Spratt is one of four suspects from Maryland.
The investigation was conducted by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, assisted by Philadelphia police and the Cecil County Drug Task Force.
Additional charges are pending in Maryland, federal authorities said.