Crenshaw cleanup leads to 26 convictionsPublished 8:26am Wednesday, August 13, 2014
United States Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama George Beck Jr., along with representatives from other federal and local law enforcement agencies announced the conviction of 26 people through the Crenshaw Village Clean-Up project.
Crenshaw Village is a neighborhood in Elmore County that has long been plagued with gang activity including robberies, burglaries, drug dealing and more.
The investigation began in January 2011 and investigations are ongoing, according to Elmore County Sheriff Bill Franklin.
Of the 26 convictions, Willie Jerome Davis, 54, of Elmore received a life sentence.
Davis had been operating in Elmore County for many years and had amassed an enormous criminal income, Franklin said.
Davis’ home at 1984 Ingram Road was built “brick by brick from cocaine money,” Franklin said.
Due to the recent busts, Davis’ home and assets have been confiscated by law enforcement and that money will be spent to pursue further convictions in the area.
During the Monday press conference, Franklin recalled one of his first encounters with the criminal element in Crenshaw Village, noting that gang members had rolled gas barrels down the street at his patrol cars and shouted “these are our blankety-blank streets.”
Early intelligence revealed the area was being run by a set of the Blood Street Gang known as “Care Nothin’ ‘Bout It” (CNB).
The Central Alabama Drug Task Force enlisted help from the FBI to launch Operation Park and Ride, which targeted the “trigger-pullers and street level drug dealers” who were operating in the neighborhood.
In conjunction with drug dealing, these CNB members were believed to have been involved with multiple home and convenience store robberies.
As the FBI continued its investigation, they found CNB members were being supplied by local, regional and international large-scale drug dealers.
After forwarding this information to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Operaction Two Face was created to focus on the large-scale drug dealers supplying the local criminals.
In the end, Operation Park and Ride nabbed 14 individuals and Operation Two Face caught another 12.
“We have been able to hopefully eradicate the rats’ nest at Crenshaw Village,” Beck said. “It’s a big step and we’re not going to stop.”
During the investigation, the CADTF, DEA and FBI worked hand-in-hand with several local law enforcement agencies, including the Wetumpka Police Department, the Elmore County Sheriff’s Department and several others.
“In this day and age if you can go 16 months and keep it under wraps, I think that speaks well of law enforcement in our area,” Franklin said. “I can’t speak enough about the cooperation with these agencies. Obviously, it worked.”
Franklin noted that the convictions made during this operation will inevitably lead to more arrests.
“Those guys still talk and point to other individuals,” Franklin said. “The problem Alabama is going to have is where to put them. I’ll tell you, if it was up to me, they’d be behind bars for the rest of their lives.”
FBI officer Jenny Williams and DEA Special Agent in Charge Clay Morris both addressed the success of the operations.
Williams noted that some of “South Central Alabama’s most violent drug dealers” had been thwarted as result of the multi-agency effort.
“The greatest weapon against crime is the cooperation of all law enforcement agencies,” Williams said.
Morris noted that CNB was bringing in roughly 20 kilograms of cocaine into the area every month.
“We kept hundreds of pounds of cocaine out of the hands and bodies of our children,” Morris said. “That’s the way that we take back our streets and keep our children away from violent criminals.”
Franklin said the clean-up of Crenshaw Village will be an ongoing effort and local law enforcement will be checking-in “every day.”