Feds: Memphis hot wing eatery a front for crack dealing - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Feds: Memphis hot wing eatery a front for crack dealing

By Jason Miles - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Federal investigators have shut down a Memphis chicken eatery that was allegedly selling more than wings.

An eight-month operation dubbed "Crack Shack" uncovered ongoing drug deals at Combos Hot Wings Express on Winchester.

"It clearly was a distribution point for crack cocaine - and quite a bit of crack cocaine," said DEA Agent Keith Brown.

A confidential informant purchased 18 ounces of crack cocaine at the restaurant on just one occasion.

Investigators said the drugs were served up in the same styrofoam containers used for to-go orders.

"I've seen drugs delivered in a lot of ways, but it was appropriate at a wing shop to get it in a to-go container," said Brown.
    
Derrick Coble and his sister Rakeisha Richardson, known as "Lil Bra" and "Lil Sis," both face federal charges. 

An accomplice has also been charged. 
    
"It's dangerous - really dangerous for them to be selling drugs at a restaurant," said former customer Jalissa Smith. 
    
Investigators say an active drug distribution created a potentially violent environment for customers and surrounding businesses.
    
Former customer Alicia Hurst says she knew everyone who worked there.

"The mama, daughters...all of them," she said.
    
Hurst said she was surprised to learn they could be involved in drug dealing.
    
"They looked like nice people," she said.
    
Brown says federal authorities hope the bust at Combos Hot Wings will lead them to bigger suppliers. "The people who actually send the drugs here to Memphis from Texas, Mexico or wherever."
    
In addition to Combos, the DEA Task Force served search warrants at a number of homes this week. Drugs, weapons and $75,000 in cash were seized.

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