DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – Police on Monday arrested dozens of people who allegedly intimidated senior citizens in Detroit so they could take over their apartments and use them for selling illegal drugs.
Authorities executed arrest warrants at two apartment buildings, taking 32 people into custody. A dozen more still were being sought, the Wayne County sheriff’s department said.
Police have identified at least 18 of those suspects as: Antonio Ashford, Lawrence Sanders, Jonnie Wells, Marion Barkdale, Antonio Boyd, Nathan Braswell, Cornel Brown, Kenneth Burris, Lloyd Collins, Chontay Davis, Lawrence DeShazor, Rodney Edwards, Jerome Estelle, Terone Hayes, Timothy Riley, James Lacy, Willie McBride and Sidney Lloyd.
“People took advantage by force and coercion to work their way into these individuals homes and basically told them, ‘We’re going to sell drugs out of your apartment, and there’s nothing you can do [about] it,’” Wayne County Undersheriff Daniel Pfannes said.
The sheriff’s department said it was working with federal authorities, Wayne State University police, the Wayne County prosecutor’s office and others as part of a “Save our Seniors” investigation that includes buildings north of downtown.
Undercover officers moved into the buildings as part of the investigation, Wayne State University police Chief Anthony Holt said, adding that some of those selling drugs were senior citizens.
“Some did not actually live here … but were using the apartments of seniors to do it with,” he said. “Some of them were done by force. Some of them were done by intimidation, just sort of taking over.”
The sheriff’s office said the suspects sold marijuana, cocaine and heroin.
“They’re pushing dope in these buildings, terrorizing our most vulnerable citizens, and that won’t be tolerated,” said Sheriff Benny Napoleon, a candidate for Detroit mayor.
The investigation began last year following a complaint to the Detroit Housing Commission. Some suspects were sought on state charges while others face federal prosecution.
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