YOUNGSTOWN - Police and prosecutors say a heroin ring based on the South Side received its drug supplies from Chicago.
A federal grand jury indicted 12 people in connection to the ring, and about 125 law enforcement personnel swarmed across the city Friday looking for them, capturing seven.
At a news conference in City Council Chambers, First Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio Carole Rendon said the indictments came after a three-year investigation and showed what can happen when different agencies work together on the same case.
''Whether it's a day, a month or a year, we will bring you to justice,'' Rendon said.
The indictment charges that John Perdue, no age or address given, was supplying others in the Glenwood and Brentwood avenue area with heroin to be sold throughout the city and Mahoning County.
Two other defendants, Alexis Perez and John Helms, used houses on Glenwood and Brentwood avenues to sell the drug.
Tribune Chronicle / Joe Gorman
First Assistant U.S. Attorney For The Northern District of Ohio Carole Rendon speaks at a press conference Friday in Youngstown City Council chambers about the indictments of members of a South Side-based heroin ring. She is flanked by Youngstown police Chief Rod Foley, left, and Mayor Charles Sammarone.
The indictment also states that the defendants had several firearms that the government is seeking in forfeiture, including four semiautomatic pistols, two revolvers, body armor and about $150,000 in cash.
Rendon said the investigation required the resources of federal agents as well as Youngstown police, state troopers and the Mahoning County Sheriff's Office. She said the federal government's recent success in prosecuting drug related gang cases - she referred to the convictions of four members of the LSP gang from the South Side in federal court Thursday - should show their commitment to helping Youngstown with its crime problem.
On Thursday, a Mahoning County Common Pleas Court grand jury in a separate case indicted 12 members of another South Side gang, H Block, on charges ranging from trafficking in drugs, engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity and possessing criminal tools.
Police Chief Rod Foley said the city cannot battle its drug and gang problems without help from other agencies and he thanked them, saying anyone involved in that lifestyle will be given a chance to turn over a new leaf, but he had a warning for those who will not.
''If they continue to participate in violent activity they will be picked off one at a time like these ones today,'' Foley said.
Mayor Charles Sammarone said one of the most frequent questions he gets at neighborhood meetings is where is the help from the federal government with the city's crime problem. He said drugs fuel a large part of the city's criminal activity.
''The quicker we can get the drugs off the street the quicker we can reduce the murder rate in the City of Youngstown,'' Sammarone said.