MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Dozens of suspected criminals are now behind bars thanks to a six-month investigation called Operation Cocaine Cowboy.
Memphis Police Department announced it arrested 26 of 36 drug dealers identified during the six-month investigation.
"I remind the citizens of Memphis, that we are listening, and we are working hard to make Memphis a safer place. We will not tolerate this unlawful behavior," MPD Director Mike Rallings said.
MPD's Organized Crime Unit identified the 36 suspects, including a Memphis Public Works employee, during Operation Cocaine Cowboy--an investigation into cocaine trafficking in Memphis.
"Some people are running around thinking they're getting away with things," Director Rallings said. "We try to warn them, change your wicked ways, put down the gun."
But these suspects allegedly didn't listen. Of these 26 people in custody, MPD said six of them are known gang members with five from Gangster Disciples and one from Vice Lords, all working together.
"We're seeing the gangs working together more and more," said Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich said.
One suspect, 45-year-old Andre Hobson, is allegedly one of the ring leaders. According to police, Hobson was selling drugs to mid-level distributors in the area of Hollywood and Hunter in North Memphis on a daily basis.
One suspect, who still remains at large, is a former Memphis Tiger and Tennessee Volunteer basketball player Scooter McFadgon. McFadgon is from Memphis and graduated from Raleigh-Egypt High school before playing basketball in college.
Another suspect, 42-year-old Tony Cannon, worked for Memphis Public Works.
"I say it's a good thing," Carolyn Pierce said of the arrests.
Pierce is happy to see MPD carry out this bust. She lives down the street on Hunter Ave from where police raided two suspected drug houses the cocaine ring used to push their product.
"They doing better. It's about time they do something, it's about time," Pierce said.
Officers executed eight search warrants in North Memphis. During their searches, officers seized 10 pounds of cocaine, 144 grams of marijuana, numerous pills, seven firearms, and $184,000 in cash from the suspects and their homes.
The law enforcement agents who announced the bust did so behind tables filled with guns and drugs. They said they hoped the display would help show how dangerous the people arrested in the investigation were to Memphis.
"If these pictures don't say it, I'm not sure what words can say that will," District Attorney Amy Weirich said.
MPD said 10 suspects remain at large, but officers are working diligently to find them and bring them to justice.
"Hopefully if there are individuals out there that know the whereabouts of the remaining 10, you will do what every good citizen in this community should do," Weirich said.
By parading the pounds of cocaine, hundreds of grams of marijuana, high powered rifles, and hundreds of thousands of dollars seized for the public to see, police are warning other drug dealers in Memphis that they're coming for you next.
"We will rid our streets of these individuals who choose to violate the law," Director Rallings said.