NEW ORLEANS -- Nine men suspected of operating a heroin-distribution ring in the Treme neighborhood have been indicted on racketeering charges, District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro's office announced Tuesday (May 15).
An Orleans Parish special grand jury concluded a months-long investigation on May 9, charging one count of conspiracy to engage in racketeering activity against nine members of the so-called "D-Block" network, which took its name from its hub of operations in the 2500 and 2600 blocks of Dumaine Street.
None of the charged individuals reside on Dumaine Street, but instead are suspecting of "taking over the blocks to sell narcotics" since July 2017. The criminal enterprise also was known by the moniker "Money Wave."
The indictment cites 45 overt acts detailing the trafficking of heroin, cocaine, marijuana, ecstasy, prescription pills and methamphetamine, along with incidents of illegal weapons possession. Additional charges are likely, as the investigation is ongoing in relation to other members and conspirators.
The indictment was the product of a cooperative effort involving the District Attorney's office, New Orleans Police Department and federal law enforcement partners.
"We are very pleased to have taken out this network of brazen drug traffickers that operated with impunity on the streets of Treme," Cannizzaro said. "We have seen time and time again how narcotics trafficking spawns gun violence and forces our residents to cower in fear inside their own neighborhoods. This group in particular took advantage of low bonds given for drug arrests to start their own revolving door in and out of the criminal courthouse. They will find the evidence gathered to support their racketeering charges far tougher to beat."
All but one of the indicted defendants (the exception being 17-year-old Derrick Brumfield) are considered career criminals, with multiple drugs and weapons convictions in Orleans Parish. Many already were facing open charges pending in Criminal District Court. The nine indicted defendants include:
- Glynn McCormick, 31, aka "Spot." McCormick has four second-class drugs and weapons charges pending in Orleans Parish. At the time of his indictment, McCormick was out on bond after being caught with 227 grams of powdered heroin, weapons including an assault-style rifle, and $14,100 in cash. At the time of his arrest last weekend, McCormick was bagging up heroin in the 2500 block of Dumaine Street, and had $8,000 in his vehicle. Additional bags of heroin were found hidden on his body during his intake at the Orleans Justice Center jail. Under the habitual offender law, McCormick faces 99 to 198 years in prison if convicted of racketeering.
- Lawrence Conway, 37, aka "Lot" and "Lo." Conway was out on bond at the time of his indictment with three pending second-class drugs and weapons charges. He was found to have 50 bags of heroin in his underwear upon his OJC jail intake and faces 66 1/2 to 100 years if convicted.
- Taron Blackmon, 30, who has a 2008 federal weapons conviction, a 2009 shooting conviction and a 2014 arrest for second-degree murder (found not guilty by a jury in 2017). Blackmon also has two pending drugs and guns cases in Orleans Parish and faces 66 1/2 to 100 years if convicted of racketeering.
- Gabriel Bell, 30, has four pending second-class drugs and guns cases in CDC. He faces 66 1/2 to 100 years if convicted of racketeering.
- Brian Lott, 24, has four pending felony cases -- three in Orleans Parish and one in Jefferson Parish. He also was out on bond until his April 26 arrest.
- Johnny Johnson, 38, aka "J5." As of midday Tuesday, Johnson was the lone defendant still at large.
- Wayman Williams, 30.
- Dwayne Jenkins, 31, aka "Whitey."
- Derrick Brumfield, 17.
Bond for eight of the defendants was set at $500,000. Brumfield's bond was set at $100,000, given his lack of an adult criminal history.
Cannizzaro issued special thanks to NOPD Sgt. Joseph Davis and his 1st District general assignment detectives, who did the majority of the street work to build the case. The DA also commended NOPD Detective Andy Roccaforte and the contributions of federal agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) in the investigation.